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Full text of "The seven last plagues; or the vials of the wrath of God: a treatise on the prophecies, in two parts. Consisting of dissertations on various passages of scripture;"

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH 




Darlington Alemorial J_/ibrary 







'^ SEVEN LAST PLAaUESi 



YIAI^S OF TMS \¥IiATM OF €OBt 



A TREATISE ON THE PROPHECIES, 



IN- TV/O PAR-; 



co::si3i'i :g of 
DISSERTATIONS ON VARIOUS PASSAGES OF 3CKIPTURF; 

rAILTiCUI.AKLY ON THE Vil. VIII. IX. AND XII. ClfAPri:ilS 

OF DANIEL, AND ON THK XT. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. A>D 

XVI. CilAPlEilS OF THi': BOOK Or REVELl-lOM. 



BY ROBERT RKID, A. M. 



" For wliaLsoever tilings were rn'iltlen ;iL:etIir;2 were written 
for our ly.-iniini^ that we tfiroTigh patieiice and cotiiibit of tli« 
Senptiir-js.miglit have hope." ^ Rux. iv, 4. 



PiTTSBURGH: 

PRINTED 3Y D. AND 31. MACLEAN 



18^18, 



\ 



♦%5Si ^4^^^? 



WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA, to wit. 

Be it remembered, That ore the twenty-first day of January, in the 
fifty-eecond yenr of the Independence of the United States of America, 
A. D. 1828, ROBERT REID, of the said District, hath deposited in 
this Office, the Title of a Book, the right whereof he ciaims as author and 
proprietor, in the words following, to wit: 

" The Seven last Plagues, or the Vials of the Wrath of God: a Treatise 
*' on the Propiiscies, in two parts: consisting of Dissertations on various 
" passages of Scripture; particularly on the vii. viii. ix. and xii. chapters of 
*' Daniel, and on the xi. xii. xiii. xiv. xv. and xvi. chapters of the book of 
" Revelation. By Robert Reid, A. M., Minister of the Gospel in Erie. — 
"'For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our 
*' learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might 
" have hope.' — Rom. xv, 4," 

En conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled, "An 
Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, 
Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copfes, during 
the times therein mentioned;" — and also the Act, entitled, "An Act supple- 
mentary to an Act, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, 
by aecnring the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and 
propnetora of such copies, during the times therein mentioned," and ex- 
tandingthe benefits thereof to thearts of designing, engraving, and etching, 
lu»torical and other Prints." E. J. ROBERTS, 

CVk West. Dist. of Pcnn'a, 



-^^S/1 



JPHlSrACXS. 



-►♦•#•*»• 



The Author of the following work has been 
for many years in the habit of studying the Pro- 
phecies^ and expounding them to his congrega- 
tion in his morning lectures. He found the 
exercise exceedingly beneficial to his own mind, 
and^ he trusts, not altogether without fruits in the 
minds of those who attended on his ministry. — 
These considerations induced him to continue 
his labors. They were undertaken and perse- 
vered in, from year to year, without any desiga 
of laying them in this manner before the public„ 
He followed the track of Pool, Newton, Hurd, 
and other approved expositors, because hefoiind, 
after mature deliberation, that they had adopted 
the only true method by which the mystery of 
God is to be developed. But he afterwards 
found, that those eminent men did not rise above 
the common error of protestant expositors, who 
all agree in pointing out the church of Rome as 
the great Antichrist, but never seem to suspect 
that their own churches were in the least degree 
tainted with the same principles and practices 
which have produced this monster of iniquity. 
They have all reasoned on the supposition, that 
there is but one Antichrist, and that he has his 
seat exclusively in the city of Rome. So gene- 
rally have protestant commentMors been blinded 



IV PREFACE. 

by this common delusion, that the late Doctor 
Scett observes, tbat " during the period of the 
very low state of Christianity in which the wit- 
nesses shall be ^laiii, there will pro])ably be very 
Hoiuishing churches in America, in Africa, and 
in the East Indies, and other parts of Asia.'^ — 
Tfiey all, iu f;ict, suppose, that the prophecy re- 
lates to no part of the christian world but the 
Western Romnn Empire. 

The AiUhors mind was long kept in bondage 
by the authority of those eminent commentators, 
and it vras even long after he had discovered the 
error, that he dared to give publicity to his 
thoughts. He now believes, that this '^ private 
interpretation,'- (for it can be called by no better 
name,) is the chief cause of tlie general neglect 
with which these important and interesting sub- 
jects have been treated for many years, both by 
ministers of the gospel and private christians. — 
While the prptestants were disseminating the 
principles of the Reformation, and exposing the 
errors of the church of Rome, there was much 
attention paid to the prophecies concerning An- 
tichrist; and ^Hhemotherof harlots^' was exposed 
and pointed out to every protestant congregation: 
bikt ever since the period of universa,l charity 
commenced, \i has been thought a great breach 
of decorum to enter into the investigation of these 
subjects, as they are supposed to relate exclu- 
sively to a falling religious establishment, and 
to a class of people who are altogether beyond 
the reach of conviction by argument. 

In this period of fatal indifference. Antichrist 
has insinuated himself into the protestant church- 
es generally. It is when men are asleep that 



^tlie enemy sows his tares. Iii this case there 
was not only a want of vigilance but of suspicion^ 
We can hardly suppose ourselves to be guilty of 
the same offence which we censure in others: 
but it happens too frequently^ that niany^ who 
declaim against the vices of their neighbors, arc 
afterwards guilty of tire same offences against 
which th«y had so loudly declaimed. There 
has been much said by the protestants against 
the usurpations of the Roman churchy against 
*^ the changing of times and laws/' and ^^ ma- 
king war against the saints:'' but there is every 
reason to believe^ that if any of the sects^ who 
have risen to power and popular influence in the 
christian world, were placed in the circumstances 
of the church of Rome, we should see the very 
counterpart of the great Antichrist. This infer- 
ence is fairly drawn from the innovations they 
have mad^ in the worship of God,-^-in the 
doctrines they preach, and the forms and cere- 
monies which they introduce, evidently for the 
purpose of increasing their number and influence 
among certain classes of mankind. We do not 
mean to cast an indiscriminate censure on the 
protestant churches: we speak only of those who 
have introduced human inventions into the wor- 
ship of God: and Ave think proper here to inform 
our readers, as this phrase will frequently recur 
in the following work, that we mean by it, every 
doctrine, every mode of worship, atnd every 
church regulation, for which there is no authority 
in the word of God. We do not ask them to 
show us an express command for every part of 
worship, as this would be both unfaii- and un- 
reasonable; but we ask them to show a founda- 

1* 



VI i»REFACE. 

tion in the scriptures of truth for every doctrine 
which they believe^ and every ])ractice which 
they adopt; and every thing for which this foun- 
dation cannot be shown, we call a human inven- 
tion, and say that it stands in the will of man, 
and not in the wisdom of God. But we say 
more: Jesus Christ is the king and head of the 
church, and he alone has a right to make laws 
for its government, — to show us what doctrines 
we s.re to teach and believe, and what kind of 
worship we are to offer to our Maker. There- 
fore, every human invention is an infringement 
on his prerogative. It takes his glory, and gives 
it to another. This, we say, is the great anti- 
christian principle, which operates generally 
through the christian churches. 

The Author does not feel disposed to make 
any apology for intruding his production amidst 
the multitude of Avorks with whicli the world is 
at present inundated. He has the same right to 
publish his opinions, which others have to pub- 
lish theirs. Every author indulges the hope 
that his work will find readers, and that the com- 
mon stock of useful knowledge will be increased 
by it. There is no kind of knowledge more 
beneficial than that of the prophecies, — no kind 
of study which has greater power of enlarging 
the christian intellect, and of unfolding to our 
view the wisdom and majesty of God. But the 
author has other motives for this publication, 
which are, if possible, still stronger. Believing, 
as he does, that antichristian principles and prac- 
tices have pervaded the churches, and that the 
kingdom of Antichrist is soon to be destroyed by 
terrible judgments, he could not reconcile it with 



PREFACE. VII 

a sense of duty to keep back from the christian 
world his opinions^ and the foundation on which 
they stand. Whether his sentiments are well 
founded or not^ he trusts they will receive a can- 
did examination: and as there are no doubt 
many of his brethren in the ministry^ and also of 
other christians^ who have made the subject their 
study^ and are well qualified to judge^ he fondly 
hopes that whatever errors may be found in the 
work will be pointed out with candor. He has 
studied the prophecies with all the care and dili- 
gence which his circumstances would admit of, 
and can find no flaw in the train of reasoning, 
which has led to the conclusion he has adopted: 
still, others may be sharper sighted, may have 
deeper penetration, and a clearer and more en- 
larged view of the great mystery of God, and 
may therefore be able to discover errors by which 
he may have been led from the truth. He lays 
no claim to infallibility; but he is conscious that 
he writes for no sectarian purpose. In this sense 
he has taken " no bribe to blind his eyes there- 
with.'' His object is not to build up one section 
of the church with the ruins of another. If he 
knows any thing concerning his own heart, his 
, chief design is to contribute his mite for the 
" cleansing of the sanctuary.'' This is not a 
subject calculated to excite the angry passions. 
Every one must know that the sanctuary of Grod 
is horribly polluted. The pollution may be 
attributed, in some degree, to the errors of our 
fathers; but none of us will dare to say that we 
are not guilty of a part of the sin. We ought, 
therefore, to be deeply humbled, when we con- 
sider the state of the churches, and the evils 



VIII PREFACE. 

which are threatened in the just judgments of an 
offended God. But to assist in removing the 
defilement is a common duty. We know that 
the sanctuary must be cleansed. Grod will 
cleanse it by his judgments. But he requires 
the instrumentality of his servants; and we shall 
all find it our interest to be active and diligent in 
the duty. The time is short, the work is great, 
and we have all great need to be '' up and doing." 
In the ^^ proposals'^ for this publication, the 
author promised to exhibit, in the conclusion, 
the scenes which will probably be realized at the 
introduction of the Millennium. Here the reader 
will find a deficiency; and to account for it, the 
author can only state, that the work swelled 
under his hands, so that he found it impossible 
to comprise such a conclusion within the limits 
he had prescribed. Indeed it became necessary 
for him to contract and abridge the latter part, 
so that he fears the subject will not be brought 
so fully before the mind of the reader, nor make 
such an impression as was intended. To make 
amends for this, he has in contemplation to pub- 
lish another volume, containing dissertations on 
the remaining chapters of the book of Revelation, 
with expositions of other passages of Scripture, 
which may be brought for illustration. Whether 
this contemplated work shall be undertaken or 
not, will, however, depend on the manner in 
which this present publication is received. The 
author is not much under the influence of that 
eacoethes scrihendi, by which some writers are 
governed. He has no longing desire to see his 
thoughts in print. Writing is, to him, a work 
of labor; and if his labors should not be useful 



PREFACE. IX 

in this way, they nicay easily be turned into an- 
other channel: besides he has many other avoca- 
tions which must be neglected while he confines 
himself in his study. This work is intended as 
a kind of trial or test for the public mind, from 
which the author will be able to judge whether 
his labors in this way, may, or may not, be pro- 
secuted with success. 

As this work is written in the form of disser- 
tations on certain parts of the Prophecies whicli 
relate to the same subject, the writer has fre- 
quently found it impossible to vary his phrase- 
ology, and his train of thought, so as to prevent, 
in all cases, the appearance of tautology. The 
descriptions of the same subject, given by Daniel 
and John, bear a striking resemblance to each 
other; and again, the same subjects are frequent- 
ly presented by both these writers in different 
points of view, while the difference is so small 
that a superficial reader, whose mind is not suf- 
ficiently humble, might even accuse the sacred 
writers themselves with tautological representa- 
tions. It is not, therefore, to be expected, that 
illustrations of these subjects, and applications 
of them to the present state of the world, should 
not, in many cases, bear such a resemblance to 
each other, as might appear to some readers to 
be merely a repetition of the same ideas. The 
author can only say, that he has endeavored to 
avoid this as much as was in his power. 

This book is sent into the world with no very 
favorable auspices. It is directly in contradic- 
tion to the prevailing current of religious opin- 
ions; and it will no doubt be opposed by two 
classes of mankind, who are entirely opposed to 



X PREFACE. 

each other. There is a large class of professing 
christians^ who belong to different sects, but all 
unite for the propagation of the gospel, and ap- 
pear to be perfectly satisfied, if they can bring 
the world to believe and profess any kind of 
Christianity. From these the author does not 
expect to receive any encouragement. Again, 
there is another class, of entirely different char- 
acters, who perceive, and endeavor to expose 
the folly and dishonesty of the former class; but 
whose plans, if they were carried into effect, 
would soon destroy Christianity itself from the 
face of the earth. Together with some well 
meaning, but ill informed persons, this class 
embraces the infidel, the sceptic, and in fact, all 
the open enemies of the truth. With them, the 
author has no common feeling — no common in- 
terest. His soul, he trusts, shall not come into 
their secret, nor his honor be united to them. 
But between these two extremes there is a mid- 
dle class, on whom the author hopes his work 
will have some influence. They see and lament 
over the iniquity which has crept into the 
churches, under the semblance of christian zeal: 
— they see and lament over the human inventions 
and various kinds of idolatry, which disgrace 
and degrade the worship of God, in almost all 
the christian churches:— they groan under the 
iron yoke, which religious despotism has put 
round the necks of the christian world, and laid 
them under the necessity of making war with the 
Saints, with Grod, and the Lamb. In a word, 
they are ^^the men that sigh and that cry for all 
the abominations that are done in the midst of 
Jerusalem.'^ With them the author makes a 



PREFACE. XI 

common cause. He hopes to be associated with 
them in life, in death, and in the state beyond 
the grave. He hopes his book will express 
some of their feelings and sentiments, and be the 
means of opening more clearly to their view, 
that glorious light which they have already be- 
gun to perceive. He trusts that the day has be- 
gun to dawn, and the day-star to rise in the 
hearts of many of them; and that all the wit- 
nesses of truth will soon arrive at that honor and 
influence which God has promised in his word, 
and by which they shall be enabled to promote 
more effectually the cause of their common Lord. 

Finally, the author asks a candid and diligent 
perusal of the following pages. There can be 
no benefit obtained by a slight degree of atten- 
tion. The bible must be consulted, the prophe- 
cies must be studied, the heart must be intent on 
the subject, and anxiously desirous to know the 
truth; or else poison may be administered in- 
stead of spiritual food. If this request should 
be attended to, he has hopes, that, under the 
blessing of Grod, some good may result from his 
labors. 

Erie, (Fa.) Jl. B. 1828. 



€ONTSHT^. 



PART I. DISSERTATION I 

ON THE VII. OF DANIEL. 

TThe four beasts represent the four great powers or governments whiff': 
have been most conspicuous in the world since the days of Daniei. 
—The lion is the Chaldean dynasty.— The bear represents the nnJtet?. 
kingdoms of Media and Persia. — The leopard, having lour wings and four 
heads, is a striking emblem of the Grecian power. — The fourth beast is the 
Roman empire, — The little horn is the spiritual power which governs th« 
empire in fact, although not professedly.— Pretended to have authority frorf 
God. — Boasted of its success, and in tliis manner spake great thing? 
against the Most High. — The saints would not be governed by it. — W^j: 
was declared against them. — The same principle still operates. — The 
church of Rome has decreased in power. — Most of the other sects follow 
her example, and raise themselves by similar means. — In this manner the 
saints are worn out, the witnesses slain, &c. — Takes place at the end oi 
1260 years from the commencement of the reign of Antichrist. — After- 
wards the judgment shall sit. — The last general judgment is not the im- 
mediate subject. — Relates to the times we live in. — There are maifiT 
thrones to be cast down. — An accurate observ;;tion of facts, will be the beet 
commentary. — The Father, and not the Son, here sits on the throne of 
judgment. — His garments, his hair, &c. all symbolical. — The fiery stream, 
&c. denote scenes oftremendous judgment on tlie christian world. — They 
will proceed chiefly from the immediate hand of God.— The result will bt- 
Ihe destruction of false religion. — The present plans for propagating the 
Gospel, not such as the Redeemer hns authorized. — Our natural preposses- 
sions frequently mislead our judgment. — Modern charity has little regard for 
tnith. — Pious frauds still practised. — The world would generally prefer a 
false peace to an overturning. — Will be disappointed. — There must be an 
universal moral conflagration. — All false systems must be overturned, — 
The saints must bear testimony against all error. — The beast shall be ta- 
ken, &c. Rev. xix. 20. — ^To be cast alive into the lake of fire, means some 
sudden and unexpected judgments, by which, in the midst of false hopes, 
they shall be precipitated into Hell. — The other beasts shall continue for a 
short period, but shall not reign. — True religion shall prevail and be estab- 
lished. — A more literal translation of the 13th verse. — Sublimity. — The 
views the ancient saints had of the Messiah. — The moral change.— 7'*** 
temporal circumstances will be much better. — Satan will afterwart'^ at- 
tempt to regain hia power. — Shall not succeed. — The awful magnitnite 
of this subject. — It is just coming into view. — Will soon appear inconcoi- 
Tably glorious. 



PART L DISSERTATION n: 

ON THE VIII. OF DANIEL. 

This chapter not only describes the same spiritual power, but shows 
the period of its falL — When Daniel saw this vision, the first beast had 
nearly lost his power.— -The ram, is the emblem of the united kingdoms of 
Media and Persia. — This union commenced under Cyrus the great, and con- 
tinued for somewhat more than 200 years.-^The goat, represents the Gre- 
cian dynasty under Alexander and his successors .—In the vii. viii. and xi, 
chapters, there is a remarkable transition from the first to the last ages of the 
Roman empire. — The little horn is the saiBe power which is described in, 
the xiii. of Revelation. — The sanctuary will be cleansed about the year 
1850. — Not the commencement of the Millennium. ^ — The development of 
iniquity. — The prevalence of truth. — Craft wiU no longer succeed. — This 
change shall be effected chiefly by the judgments of God, but partly by the 
faithful preaching of the gospel. 

PART L DISSERTATION IIL 

ON THE IX. OF DANIEL. 

The importance of this prophecy. — Demonstrates that Jesus of Naza- 
retli is the true Messiah. — Disagreement of the ancient and the modern Jews 
with regard to the standing of Daniel as a prophet. — Proves that this pro- 
phecy is an insuperable difficulty. — If attended to, would silence the cavils 
of infidelity. — The object of Daniel's prayer. — Comparative distance of 
the throne of God, — The amazing swiftness of Angels. — A literal transla- 
tion of the message. — The prominent suhject is the death of Christ. — Came 
to pass sixty-nine weeks of years after a certain decree was issued. — Not 
the decree of Cyrus, nor the decree of Darius Plysdaspes, which was is- 
sued 17 years afterwards; but the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, 73 
years after that of Cyrus. — This is the only decree which answers the des- 
cription. — The reason of the distinction of 7 week and 62 weeks. — The de- 
cree was issued about the beginning of the seventh year of his reign. — 
Christ was crucified on the first year of the seventieth week from the time 
this decree was issued. — Covering iniquity, sealing up sin^ &c. — Seven 
years after the death of Christ, Cornelius was baptised, and the gospel 
first preached to the Gentiles. — The Jews were then given up. — Similarity 
in the judgments of God. — Something of the same kind is to be expected, 
■■ — Necessity for self-examination and the study of the scriptures. 

PART L DISSERTATION IV. 

ON THE SII. OF DANIEL. 

There is a resemblance between the man clothed in linen, who was 
above the waters of the river, and the Angel vv^ho stood with one foot on 
the earth and the other on the sea. — Both are symbols of the Redeemer. — 
Both speak of the period which immediately precedes the Millennium.— 
The lioly people are the same as the witnesses. — The slaying of the one, 
and the scattering of the power of the other, are the same. — The beast has 
accomplished his design of scattering the power of the holy people in the 
present divisions among the churches. — Admits of no remedy, but the Di- 
vine judgments. — ^A seeming discrepancy .—-The way in which the two 
periods, agree. — The Millennium will commence 1335 years after the wit- 
iseases began to prophesy in sack-cloth, or 45 years after the cleansing of the 
saajctuary. — This period will be spent in warfare against the adversary. — 



CONTENTS. XV 

There will then be terrible scenes of destruction. — They will come sud- 
denly. — Parable ofthe ten virgins. — The dormant spirit now operates. — 
Shall be awaked by judgments, &c. &c. 

PART II. DISSERTATION L 

EXPOSITION OF THE SYMBOLS. 

The chief object is to elucidate the prophecies which have a particular 
reference to our own times. — The seven last plagues are always to be kept 
in view. — -The nature and origin of symbolic language. — The emblems are 
taken from the natural, moral, and religious world. — The language of sym- 
bols might be reduced to certain rules; but the better method is to consider 
them in connexion with the whole word of God, and with the particular 
subject. — The book of Revelation treats of the same subjects which are 
found in the other prophecies.- — Prophecies have generally two or three 
accomplishments. — The one casts light on the other. — Two great divisions 
in this book, viz. the things which are, and the things which shall be. — 
The nature of visions and dreams. --~A view of the objects first presented 
to the Apostle. — Tiie things which tliey represented. — The sea of glass. 
— Taken from the molten sea in the temple. — The four living creatures.— 
The great preparations in heavan for opening tlie roll. — The proclamation. 
— The acceptance ofthe work by the Lamb. — All heaven resounds with 
hh praises. 

PART II. DISSERTATION IL 

THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 

The opening ofthe book signifies the discovery of all the mysteries. — 
Historians generally do not think ofthe prophecies. — The first seal relates 
to the period immediately succeeding the times ofthe Apostles.-.-The fie- 
cond to the times of Trajan and Adrian.-— Tlie third to those of Septimius 
and Alexander Severus. — The fourth from Maximin to Diocletian. — The 
fifth shows the certainty ofthe vengeance of God on the persecutors of his 
people, and also the spirit ofthe persecuted.— -The- sixth show the fall of 
Pagan superstition.— -The state of tranquillity in thedays of Constantine. — 
Sealing means the confirmation in the faith. — That age was a type of the 
Millennium. — Silence in heaven, is the emblem ofthe state ofthe empire 
in the prospect of terrible judgments. — The first trumpet indicates the 
incursions of the Goths under Alaric. — The second, the Pluns under 
Attila. — The third, the Vandals and Moors under Genseric. — The fourth 
shows the fall of the Western empire. — Her power was soon regained. — 
The man of sin wasthen prepaiinglo seat himself in the temple of God. — 
Then the wo trumpets were proclaimed. — The fifth trumpet signifies the 
imposture of Mahomet.- -The sixth, the ruin of the Greek empire by the 
Turks.™These terrible judgments have not brought the world to repen- 
tance.— -The Lord Jesus Christ descends from Heaven to announce the 
last period, and the last scenes of wo before his reign. 

PART n. DISSERTATION IIL 

ON THE XI. OF REVELATION. 

A reed like a rod, shows that the extent to be measured is but small. -- 
TheRedeemer required that part to be measured which he determined to 
keep for himself — The outer court and the city were left out of the mea- 
surement.- — Gentiles, mean those who have the form of godliness but not 
-the power, — These characters shall profane the, sanctuary for 12G0 years 



-—The character and qualifications of the witneeses.— -They are hated not 
so mucii by the careless and irreligious as by those Gentiles. — They have 
power to shut Heaven symbolically. — Elijah is the symbol by which they 
are represented. — As Moses and Aaron turned the waters of Egypt into 
blood, so they. — The war is a spiritual contest between truth and error. — 
The witnesses are put down by the multiplicity of religious opinions and 
practices.- ■ -The different sects all circulate their own corruptions along 
with the gospel. — They cannot agree about the interpretation of the bible, 
and therefore send it to the heathen without any explanation.— The charity 
of the present age, the same with the charity of the ancient heathen. — 
The great city means ail Christendom, but especially the ten kingdoms. — 
The claying of the witnesses, means the putting down of their influence. — 
They will not suffer thein to go out of sight. — They rejoice when they have 
found .some excuse to free them from attending on their ministry. — The 
witnesses rise by degrees, as they were put down. — -They are now begin- 
ning to rise. — Tiie earthquake is the late revolution in Spain. — Answers 
exactly to the description. — Answers also to the time.—Explains consist- 
ently ti>e xi. of Daniel. — The fall of the tenth part of the city terminates 
the sixth tiumpet.— -The Redeemer takes his power.— -Begins with ter- 
rible judgments, spiritual arid temporal. 

PART II. DISSERTATION IV. 

ON THE XII. OF REVELATION. . 

This chapter shows the state of the christian church from the times of 
the Apostles until the rise of Antichrist, the triumph of Christianity over 
Pagan Rome, and the retreat of the church into the v/ilderness.- -The 
church appears in an exalted situation. — The ancients had different ideas 
of Astronomy from the moderns. — The symbol agrees with the ancient 
opinions on this subject.-- -The woman is the church. — She rose to honor 
by the labors of the Apostles. — The ruling powers soon took the alarm. — 
Persecution was raised. — The dragon a large kind of serpent. — The seven 
heads were the seven hills on which Rome is built, and the seven forms of 
government. — The Roman empire a mixture of nations.-— They endeavor- 
ed to put down the rising sect by destroying the ministers of the Gospel. 
— Their policy was defeated. — The man child represents the offspring of 
the church in those times. — Not Constantino nor any particular individuaL 
-—The church was admired for her patient endurance of affliction. — They 
conquered by suffering, as Christ had conquered. — The Pagan power fell 
by the means tliey used for its preservation. — The defeat increased the 
wrath of the dragon. — The water means the barbarous nations who over- 
run the empire. 

PART II. DISSERTATION V. 

ON THE XIII. OF REVELATION. 

The beast rose in the unsettled state of the empire. — Could not have 
been later than the latter part of the sixth century.— The ten kingdoms as 
enumerated by different authors. — The names of blasphemy have increased 
from generation to generation. — The beast represents a combination of 
men. — The dragon willingly gave him his power. — The deadly wound 
explained. — Rise of episcopacy. — Was the foundation of supremacy of 
the Roman Church. — One supreme arbiter became neces.sary. — New cer- 
emonies were invented and established. — Meaning of the phrase, "who is 
like uuto the beast." — The war which is carried on against the Saints.^ — Iq 



'C6*'T£;lSrt5, XVII 

;his period, and as long as this enormous power subsists, true Christianity 
cannot be extensively propagated. — They who teach error, lead jnankind 
into captivity, — They shall fail into tlieir own siuire. — Tliis consideration 
has always exercised the patience and faith of the saints. — The second 
beast signifies chiefly the Roman clergy, — The image is the Pope. — The 
number of the beast is expressed by the Vv^ord, Latelnos. 

PART II. DISSERTATION VL 

ON THE XIV. OF REVELATION. 

Relates chiefly to the period between the rising of the witnesses and 
the cleansing of the sanctuary, — There might be something of the same 
kind discerned in tiie time of the Reformation. — It was the dawning of the 
accomplishment. — Soon obscured by clouds. — Those shall be all dispelled 
after the witnesses shall have risen up and ascended to heaven. — There are 
now more true Christians than the witnesses suppose.— Reference to Elijah . 
— Mount Zion signifies all the assemblages of the true church. — The num- 
ber of true Christians will bear such proportion to the number of nomuaal 
Christians as 144,000 to the whi-Js number of the Israelites.— Meaning of 
of the emblem of singing a new song. — Cannot mean human compositions, 
for they soon become old. — The psalms of scripture are no doubt meant, 
—The darkness which obscures them shall be dispelled. — -The reason 
why many cannot learn this song.—Character of the 144,000. — Their 
hearts are cleansed from impurity.-- Follow the Lamb —Redeemed. — 
First fruits. — ^No guile.-— Second vision. — Not yet accomplished. — The 
first Angel, signifies a class of ministers who shall go forth in the spirit and 
power ofElias. — Their message is different from the common preaching. 
~-It supposes that the world has departed from the trae worship of God. 
=— -Sho^vs the kind of worship which must be given to him. — The second 
Angel announces the fall of error and deception. — The sins of men are first 
to be brought to light.— -The discovery will be rapid. — The fall will carry 
down many to destruction. — The beast has now impressed his mark on 
multitudes.-— Protestant and Papist, now merely a nominal distinction.-— 
Ail but true Christians render some homage to the bea^, wherever he 
reigns.- — The punishment is, in the first place, the vials of the wrath of God. 
—Increase of sinful habits. — Temporal and afterwards eternal wrath. — 
The punishment in the future world more horrible and excruciating than 
can be conceived.-— Considerations for Universalists. — The labors of the 
witnesses will increase. — Necessity for patience. — The superior degree 
■3i blessedness.— The encouragement it gives. — The third vision. — Re- 
-"erence to Isai. Ixii. — To Rev. xix. — By Edom, nominal Christians are 
meant. — Reference to Isai. xrvaii. — The standard .has been raised, and 
■Jthe trum.pet sounded.— -Harvest and vintage yetfuture. — The white cloud, 
points out the nature of the last dispensation. — Harvest is the battle of Ar- 
mageddon. — The vintage is tlie cleansing of the sanctuary. 

PART II. DISSERTATION VII. 

ON THE XV, OF REVELATION, 

These are the last plagues before the reign of the gospel. — The sea of 
:glass. — Description of those who stand on it. — Harps of God are the thongs 
^•flof divine inspiration. — Explained more particularly by the song of Mo.ses 
and of the Larrib. — While they sang, they exclaimed, "Great and marvel- 
lous, &c," — The temple of the tabernacle, — Dignified appearance o( the 

2* 



XVHI CONTENTS. 

seven angels— The vials are large cups or bowls. — The smoke whicfe 
filled tbje temple signifies the moral darkness which now covers the chris- 
tian world, 

PART II. DISSERTATION VIIL 

ON THE XVI. OF REVELATION. 

The earthy when used as a symbol, has the same latitude of meaning a'? 
when used literally. — Thesejudgments shall operate first and chiefly on the 
mind.— They will all be in operation at the same time. — The first curse falls 
upon men whose sinful habits are settled — -It is an ulcer of the mind. — The 
world v/ill be thrown into a state of fluctuation. — Afterwards settle down 
in.to apathy and indifference, — The streams of the waters of life are turned 
into blood to such characters. — The Angel of the waters, is the true minis- 
ters of the gospel. — The voice from the altar, is the testimony of those who 
have already been sacrificed. — Men do now shed the blood of saints and 
prophets. — The fourth vial signifies political contentions, — -Moral darkness 
is signified by the fifth, — Will be accotnpanied by great misery. — The 
Euphrates signifies human inventions, in doctrine, in worship, &c. — By 
taese the mystical Babylon has been enriched, — The kings of the East 
comprehend a much larger number than the friends of truth. — A powerful 
struggle may b;i expected. — The spirit of the dragon, of the beast, and of 
the false prophet, have already commenced their operations. — God will ex- 
pose the workers of iniquity by some silent and secret influence, — The bat- 
tie of Armageddon signifies a series of sudden calamities from the imme- 
diate hand of God. — This is only the beginning of tribulation. — The great 
Qarthq[uake. — The dissolatioa of govermnents. — The great hail. 



tNTRODUCTiOM. 



Prophecy is an important and interesting part of Divine 
Revelation. It is the development of facts which, when 
the prophecy was given, were still covered in the darkness 
of futurity. The great God of Heaven, who alone knows 
with certainty every thing which shall come to pass, has 
thought proper to make some communications of these 
things to his servants the Prophets. These communica- 
lions are delivered in such a manner as to enlighten the un- 
derstandings of all who attend to them, and enable them to 
make some preparation to meet the events. Therefore we 
are all exhorted, '-'to take heed to the sure word of prophecy, 
as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day 
dawn, and the day-star arise in our hearts.'^ There i§ 
something in the nature of prophecy, which makes it a fir" 
mer ground of dependence than even miracles, because 
false miracles have so often deluded the unthinking multi- 
tude. There have been so many deceivers, who have pre- 
tended to perform miraculous works, that even true mira- 
cles do not receive the attention which they deserve. But 
the prophecies give a continual demonstration of their truth, 
by their continual accomplishment. Those, therefore, who 
take heed to the sure word of prophecy, will always have 
their hearts fixed, and their faith confirmed. They will 
not frequently be obliged to walk in darkness, for the day 
will dawn, and the day-star will rise in their hearts. The 
light that shines in a dark place, will, to their minds, become 
lighter, and the obscurity will be gradually diminished. 
The objects and events, which they have been taught to ex- 
pect, will come into view; other and more remote objects 
and events, will again appear through the gloom, and bright- 
en into reality; and thus the true church of God will be 
gradually illuminated, until the sun of righteousness shall 
rise, and the whole earth shall be filled with the knov/ledge 
of the Lord. 

The study of the prophecies is therefore not a vain thin^. 
It is full of life and blessedness, fur them who engage in it 



5t5t tKTk01)UdTtOS\ 

with true and honest hearts. There is little force in the 
objection, even allowing it all the weight to which some 
think it entitled, that many have mistaken the meaning of 
the prophecies, and have not only themselves wandered out 
of the way, but have also led others into error. This ob- 
jection strikes deep into the very root of Christianity and 
the study of the bible. How many have adopted the most 
pernicious errors, and have even extracted poison instead of 
life out of the book of God! Does this prove that no bene- 
fit need be expected from our attention to christian duties? 
Is it any reason why we should be discouraged from running 
the christian race, because many others have failed and lost 
the prize. No! we should rather be induced to attend the 
more diligently to the exhortation, "Let us lay aside every 
weight, &c. and let us run with patience the race that is set 
l}efore us." But there is the highest encouragement held 
out to the student of the prophecies. God connects his 
blessing with the study. Blessed is he that readeth, and 
they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those 
things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. If 
this, therefore, is the happy condition of those who attend 
with all theirheartto learn and understand the prophecies, 
contained in the book of Revelation, there will, of course, be 
a degree of the same blessedness connected with the dili- 
gent study of prophecy in the word of God. This promise 
ought, therefore, to exercise the faith of the church, and 
animate every christian heart v/ith a holy ambition. The 
knowledge which is here put within our reach, is certainly 
a treasure, much more valuable than the wealth of this 
World, after which so many are toiling and exercising their 
thoughts, day and night. When we are engaged in this 
exercise, we are laying up "treasures which the moth and 
rust cannot corrupt, and which thieves cannot breakthrough 
and steal." 

By a kind of religious feeling, which many iti this age in- 
dulge, the study of the prophecies appears to be less favor- 
able to advancement in holiness than many other religious 
exercises. It is thought to be too dry and uninteresting, 
and to attbrd more employment for the head than for the 
heart. Those who spend much of their time in these stu- 
dies, are thought to be rather speculative, than practical 
christians. Ministers of the gospel, who preach frequently 
on these subjects, are said to be dull and uninteresting 
preachers, who do not feed their flocks with the heavenly 
food of evangelical doctrines, nor lead them to the green 



INTRODUCTION. XXI 

pastures and the still waters of refined and lively devotion. 
But if these opinions are traced to their source, they will 
be found to originate in the enthusiasm of popular feeling, 
and not at all to spring from that chastened and enlighten- 
ed devotion which is taught in the word of God. One essen- 
tial ingredient in true devotion is admiration of the divine 
excellence. The character and the works of God are to be 
studied and admired. The heart ought to be filled with 
rapture by the discovery of truth. We must learn to trem- 
ble at the judgments of God, while we behold and admire 
the rectitude of all his dealings, both with ourselves and 
with the world. In a word, we must become such charac- 
ters as the 144,000, whom the Apostle saw standing with 
the Lamb, on Mount Zion; or those who stood on the sea of 
glass, having the harps of God, singing his praises, and ad- 
miring his works. But nothing can be imagined nor con- 
conceived, that is better adapted for this purpose than the 
diligent study of the prophecies. We are put on our guard 
against the reigning delusions of the world, we are taught 
to revere the Divine Majesty, and to rejoice with trembling. 
Above all, we learn from the prophecies, the mournful but 
salutary truth, that the christian world is at this moment a 
mass of corruption — that what is called the church of God, 
is no other than the "great city, which is spiritually called 
Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified,"— 
that in the streets of this great city, the witnesses are slain, 
and their bodies trampled under foot, and that they who 
dwell on the earth have rejoiced over them, and made merry, 
andsentgiftsone to another;because these prophets torment- 
ed them by declaring the truth. Finally, we are taught, that 
some terrible judgments are ready to be executed, and 
we are warned to prepare for meeting with our God. 

The practical use which we ought to make of the pro- 
phecies, is to learn the actual condition of the world in the 
times in which we live; and the scenes and dispensations of 
Providence, which are predicted, and to be fulfilled in the 
present and succeeding ages. Li the prophecies, God has 
given the general outlines of his plan. We have clear evi- 
dence in his word, that truth shall finally prevail over error, 
— that Jesus Christ shall establish his kingdom in every 
part of the world — that truth and righteousness shall not 
always be cast down and trampled under foot; but shall 
have the ascendency fora thousand years, — that the Saints 
shall possess the kingdom and inherit the earth. But we 



XXII INTRODUCTION. 

are also plainly informed, that this happy dispensation shall 
be introduced by terrible and tremendous judgments. 
These are the outlines of prophecy, which he that runs 
may read. Still, there is a more particular and accurate un- 
derstanding to be obtained concerning the prophecies that 
are nov/ in actual accomplishmentj-and those that are soon 
to be accomplished. The scenes that are most interesting 
to us, are those which take place in our own times, and iii 
the times of our children or immediate descendants; and 
God has put it in our power to know these things with 
more accuracy, — to get a more intimate acquaintance with 
them, than with those that are more remote. Hence it is a 
fact, which can be clearly proved from history, that the 
church, in the ancient ages of Christianity, was much better 
acquainted with the prophecies that rehited to their times, 
than we are. They saw the accomplishment in their own 
days, and knew the prophecies which related to themselves; 
while they had very confused and erroneous views of many 
prophecies v/hich are well understood by us, because they 
have since been fulfilled. We see this truth in the com- 
mencement of the book of Revelation. It is said that God 
gave this Revelation ''to Jesus Christ, that he might shew 
to his servants things ivhich must slwrUy .come to pass.^^ 
He has, therefore, authority from his father to show his ser- 
vants the things that are immediately before them. Pro- 
phecy is still alight shining in a dark place; but when it i? 
near, and still approaching, it will of course appear less ob- 
scure, than when it was at a great distance, and twinkling 
in the verge of the horizon. We shall also be enabled to 
discover many of the objects around it. This is the way 
in which he shows his servants things which are shortly to 
come to pass. 

The watchmen on the walls of Zion, as, by the nature of 
their situation, they are raised on an eminence, and have 
a wider range for their observation than other members of 
the church, are therefore bound to improve the advantages 
they possess. They are in fact placed on the watchtower 
for this very purpose, that they may see when the sword is 
coming, and give warning to those i3elow them. It is true 
the ministers of the gospel have also many other duties. 
They must preach the doctrines, and exhibit the practical 
duties of Christianity; but they never can fulfd the duty of 
watchmen, unless they are conversant with the prophecies. 
The scriptures present us with the great chain of events 



IXTRODUOTION. XXIII 

which take place in the world, in all ages, and among all 
christian nations, or in all countries wliere there is any 
light of Christianity: Of this chain (if one may be al- 
lowed the expression) every age has its own link, and thus 
the important events which take place in Christendom in 
any given age, may always be known to be the accomplish- 
ments of prophecy. Hence it is a well known fact, that in 
all ages, when any great and interesting event was about to 
come to pass, the world had a general premonition of it. 
This was always given by the prophets, or the watchmen 
placed on the walls of Zion. They foresaw, for instance, 
the coming of the Saviour, and pointed him out to mankind 
when he did come. We find it was the general belief, not 
only through Judea, but the whole Roman empire, that 
some great personage was about that time to rise and to 
have the dominion of the world. All christians now be- 
lieve that the age in which we live is near the period when 
the Saviour shall not only possess, but exercise this domin- 
ion to the very ends of the earth. They have learned, from 
the prophets, and from the watchmen, who have faithfully 
interpreted the words of the prophet, that the coming of 
the Redeemer cannot be far distant. But we must not con- 
sider ourselves as mere spectators of these important scenes. 
We are actors, and shall be actors, either for or against the 
Redeemer. We may be certain that those who are igno- 
rant of the kingdom he is about to establish, will act against 
him. We know that this was the conduct of the Jews at 
his first coming. *' Because they knew not the scriptures, 
nor the voices of the prophets which were read in their 
synagogues every Sabbath day, they fulfilled them in con- 
demning him." We have now every reason to believe that 
the kingdom of the Redeemer, which he is about to establish 
in the world, is as little understood, and will be as much op- 
posed by the mass of the christian world. The great rea- 
son is, that the words of the prophets, which are read in the 
churches every Sabbath, are not understood. Men are not 
generally instructed in the nature of these important things, 
nor are they possessed of that accuracy of observation ne- 
cessary to enable them to see the sword of the Lord, to dis- 
cern its point, or to understand the particular kind of 
judgments that are to be inflicted. 

The great duty of watchmen is to observe and give no- 
tice of the sword, when it comes, that the people may take 
warning: and as this is every watchman's duty, so he has 



3tXIV INTRODUCTIOii. 

abundant facilities for the performance of it. The prophe- 
cies which have a particular relation to any age of the world, 
will show him what kind ofjudgments ought to be expected 
in that age. In the Revelation, the judgments signified by 
the opening of "the seals, are different from those signified 
by the trumpets, and a^ain, the judgments signified by 
the trumpets, are exceedingly diiferentfrom those signified 
by the vials. They are all prepared for particular ages and 
states of society. The vials are the last plagues, and the 
most terrible and astonishing of all. They begin to operate 
very soon after the sounding of the seventh trumpet: for, 
as has been well observed by many respectable commenta- 
tors, as the opening of the last seal exhibited the seven an- 
gels to whom the seven trumpets were given; so the last 
trumpet contains the seven vials *'in which is filled up the 
wrath of God." 

These last plagues are described by the apostle, as mys- 
terious and wonderful, not because such judgments had 
never been executed before, for the truth is, that God has 
poured out the vials of his wrath, in all ages, on wicked 
men, but because the world has never experienced a curse 
of this nature, so- great and so extensive. These judg- 
ments are chiefly spiritual. They operate chiefly on the 
mind. The plagues of Egypt produced similar effects on 
the hearts of the Egyptians. It is that process in the right- 
eousjudgments of God, by which the heart of the sinner is 
hardened, his conscience is seared, his understanding dark- 
ened; iniquity is added to his iniquity, and he becomes more 
stubborn and rebellious by every new dispensation of the 
wrath of God. These plagues were substantially inflicted 
on the Jews before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Ro- 
mans. They commenced with the effects produced on their 
hearts by the preaching of the Redeemer and his apostles. 
Then God said, "Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed, 
but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears 
heavy, and shut their eyes: lest they see with their eyes, and 
hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and 
convert, and be healed." This same terrible and astonish- 
ing process of spiritual judgments will go on in the hearts 
of sinners, in these latter days, and render them utterly 
miserable, even before they shall be cast into the lake that 
burns with fire and brimstone. 

The very symbol denotes something of this nature. 
There is a meaning in vials, as well as in trumpets. The 



INTRODUCTION. 



latter are intended to exhibit some striking and alarming 
dispensations of Providence, and the former, of course, 
point to some silent and secret operation, which, when it 
becomes visible, strikes the mind with horror. They are 
said to be full of the wrath of God; and when they are 
poured out, an effect is immediately produced, which im- 
plies a secret and mysterious influence. They all operate 
during the period denoted by the seventh trumpet, and 
continue until the wicked are utterly destroyed from the 
earth. They are called vials of wrath, in the same sense 
in which Babylon is said to be ** a golden cup in the Loral's 
hand, that made all the earth drunken." That process by 
which the heart is led into idolatry, is frequently represent- 
ed in the scripture by the effects of wine or spirituous li- 
quors. There is a secret influence in this vice, which riot 
only intoxicates, and makes its votaries mad, or leads them 
to act most unreasonably; but they form a strong attachment 
to false worship, or whatever they have set their minds up- 
on, and hence they are said to be mad upon their idols. 
They pursue the course of error, contrary to all reason and 
truth, and even to the secret convictions of their own con- 
science. Admonition and reproof only irritate their minds, 
and render them still more determined to continue in the 
course they have chosen. The vials of the wrath of God, are 
the ultimate effect of this judgment on the spirit, and in this 
latter age may be expected to be the more powerful, as their 
sins have been increasing from one generation to another. 
It is very certain, that men are punished for the sins of their 
youth, and that the sins of parents are frequently visit- 
ed on their children. God leaves them to their own vain 
imaginations, and then they soon fall into errors and cor- 
rupt practices. This is the evident cause of the immense 
flood of corruption, which covers the religious world at the 
present time. Family religion, and family instruction, have 
gradually worn into disuse. Children grow up without re- 
ligious knowledge or discipline. Their minds are of course 
filled with the fashionable follies of the world, and not being 
firmly established in the true principles of the gospel, they 
are easily carried away by every fashionable delusion which 
is set afloat on the sea of religious opinions. This is really 
a judgment of God for the sins of their parents. They 
drink of the wine of Babylon from a golden cup in the hand 
ofthe Lord, and they become intoxicated and mad. But 
the last results of this infatuation, like the last effects of 
drunkenness, will be intolerable anguish, misery, and des- 
3 



XltVI INTRODUCTION. 

pair. There is no repentance to be expected for those who 
have drunk to intoxication of the wine of Babylon, for they 
have become habituated to the practice of a false religion, 
and hostile to the truth. As the Jews, who had rejected and 
crucified the Lord of life, and who persevered in their wick- 
edness and rebellion until the spirit of God forsook them, 
never thought of repentance amidst all their horrible suflfer- 
ings: so those of the present generation, who still peiSevere 
in their errors, and their hatred of the truth, will become 
more and more hardened and infatuated by all the judg- 
ments of God. Hence they are represented as gnarmng 
their tongues for paiUy and not repenting of their deeds. 

The church and the city of Rome, are no doubt intended 
by Babylon, in the same emblematic sense, in which the 
true church of God is called Zion, or Jerusalem, but we are not 
to suppose that the professed members of the Roman churchy 
are the only characters who have drunk of the wine of Ba- 
bylon. The fact is very different. Protestant commenta- 
tors have done great injustice to the prophecies, and a 
great injury to mankind, by limiting the vials of the wrath 
©f God to those nations who acknowledge the sovereignty 
of the Pope. They did not consider their own departure 
from the true worship of God, nor did they foresee the gen- 
eral defection of these latter days; in which almost all the 
Protestant churches have drunk of the wine of Babylon. 
We see the same deceit and dishonesty m their morals, the 
same self-sufficiency in their religious feelings, the same 
disregard of the authority of God in their worship; and their 
preference of human inventions to his institutions. Tru- 
ly, although they do not worship saints and angels, yet in 
respect of human inventions, brought into the church for the 
purpose of pleasing the world, and increasing their num- 
bers, there are many of the Protestant churches that are 
really more corrupt than the church of Rome. The 
kingdom of the beast is in fact much wider, and more ex- 
tensive than is generally supposed; and it ought to be a sub- 
ject of careful and anxious inquiry to all churches, and all 
individual christians, whether they have indeed obeyed the 
command of Gud, "come out of her my people," &c. 

Thespirit of this command, like every other command in 
the word of God, must be the object of our attention. Itis 
all vanity to attempt to comfort ourselves with the name or 
denomination we have adopted. It is of very little conse- 
quince, whether we call ourselves Papists or Protestants. 
The great question to be answered at the bar of God, is, are 



INTRODUCTION. XXVU 

we *• the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and 
have no confidence in the flesh?" Do we belonp; to the 
144,000, who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion? Have 
we learned to sing the new song? Do we follow the Lamb 
wJiithersoever he goeth? Is there no guile in our mouth? 
This book is therefore addressed to all denominations of 
professing christians, and especially to the fathers and 
brethren in the christian ministry. The author is sorry 
that he cannot address them all as watchmen on Zion'g 
walls; for however good may be their intentions, they can- 
not perform the duty of watchmen, without having given a 
portion of their time to the study of the prophecies. But he 
fondly hopes that this Jittle work may be an excitement to 
gome of them, to apply their time and talents to this impor- 
tant subject, and that they may be able to see and to point 
out the sword of the Lord, which is now suspended over the 
churches, and over the world. ** The sword is sharpened 
and also furbished. It is sharpened, to make a sore slaugh- 
ter It is furbished that it may glitter," and be seen, and 
wo to that minister of the gospel who does not see it, and 
point it out to his people. Many of them shall be taken 
away in their iniquity; but their blood will be required at 
his hand. 

In order to give a full and comprehensive view of the sub- 
ject we propose to discuss, it would be necessary to exam- 
ine, particularly, the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and 
Ezekiel; for the subject is copiously treated in each of them. 
But this would require more lab;>r and time than the author 
can well afford. We cannot, however, have any correct and 
proper views of the book of Revelation, without a particular 
acquaintance with the prophecies of Daniel. The latter is 
the foundation, and the former the supei structure. W^ 
therefore anxiously request our readers to accompany us, 
with patient and diligent attention, through a few disser- 
tations, in which we shall endeavor to explain that part of 
DaniePs prophecy, which gives ?^n outline of the judg- 
ments of the latter days, shows the period in which they are 
to be executed, ami the concomitant circumstances by whicb 
tiiey may be known- 



PART L DISSERTATION I. 
ON THE VIL OF DANIEL. 



This vision was revealed to Daniel, in the first year of 
Belshazzar, the son of Evilmerodach, and grandson of Ne- 
buchadnezzar. In his (lays Babylon was taken by the 
Medes and Persians, and the Chaldean dynasty came to its 
termination. Daniel saw the great sea all in agitation, by 
the four winds blowtlig upon it, and four great beasts rose 
out of it, different the one from the other. By a well known 
scriptural emblem, water in agitation, denotes peoples and 
nations, or the multitude, when their minds are thrown into 
perturbation. The savage monsters, which Daniel saw, de- 
note the governments which rose in those scenes of agita- 
tion and tumult. *' The first beast was like a lion, and 
had eagle's wings. " This represents the Chaldean power. 
In the commencement of its dominion, it was bold, magnan- 
imous, rapid in its movements, and terrible to all nationso 
As the lion is the monarch of the forestj and when he wars, 
the other beasts tremble, and silently slink to their dens, 
that they may not provoke his wrath; so this government 
spread its terror among mankind, and by the rapidity of its 
conquests, soon brought the world into subjection. But af- 
ter the death of Nebuchadnezzar, its character was altered. 
It sunk into sloth and effeminacy. Its wings were plucked. 
It became timid in proportion to its loss of power, and at 
length it was limited by the walls of Babylon. Thus this 
beast was effectually tamed. It suffered itself to be lifted 
up from the earth, and made to stand upright like a human 
being, and it had the heart of a frail and feeble man- 

The next beast that rose out of the agitation of the wa- 
ters, was like a bear, an animal inferior in all respects to the 
lion, but possessing all its ferocity. While the prophet be- 
held, it raised up itself on the one side, and he discerned 
three rib^s of some animal, which it had almost devoured, in 
its mouth between its teeth; and he heard the bystanders 
exclaim, *' arise, devour much flesh." This beast evident- 
ly denotes the united kingdoms of Media and Persia. The 
former was an ancient kingdom; but the latter had no emi- 
nence, and was scarcely known as a nation until Cyrus the 

3* 



so DISSERTATIOJI OS 

great came to the throne. He raised it to power and res- 
pectability among the nations of the earth, and when the 
two kingdoms were united, the bear raised itself on the one 
side. The Persian soldiers, having been well trained and 
practised in war under their great commander, soon raised 
the character and glory of the united kingdom. Lydia, 
Egypt, and Babylon fell before the conqueror, and these 
kingdoms are generally supposed to be the three ribs which 
were seen in the mouth of the bear. 

This power continued to bear rule^ from the time that 
Cyrus became king of Media and Persia, about 230 years: 
and during that period more human blood was shed, and 
more devastation and misery carried through the world, 
than in any period of the same length recorded in history. 
It was in those times that Xerxes invaded the Grecian 
states, with an army and a retinue of more than five mil- 
lions, who were generally cut off and destroyed. Many 
similar scenes of destruction took place in those days: so 
it was well said to this monster, arise, devour much flesh. 

The next beast had the appearance of a leopard. There 
seemed to be four wings on its back, and it had also four 
heads. This is a striking emblem of the power that rose in 
Macedonia, under the government of Philip and Alexander. 
It is well represented by a leopard with wings. Beasts of 
this kind are rapid in their movements, and take their prey 
by surprise; but to show the rapidity of Alexander's con- 
quests, wings are added to the leopard. After having 
brought the states of Greece under his government, he ad- 
vanced against the Persian pov/er, defeated it entirely, and 
took possession of Babylon, the metropolis of the world. 
But he soon terminated his career, and then four of his,chief 
commanders took possession of the empire, and each of them 
assumed the title of king. Thus the beast had at length 
four heads, and under this character claimed and exercised 
the dominion of the world. 

Afterwards the Roman empire rose: — a power altogether 
different from any that had risen before it. It is described 
by the prophet as *• dreadful and terrible, and strong exceed- 
ingly: and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in 
pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it 
was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it 
had ten horns." No government that ever existed possess- 
ed so much power, and its power always increased in pro- 
portion to its conquests. The conquered nations were 
completely devoured, so as to become constituent parts 



l^E VII. OF DANIEL. SI 

of the empire of Rome; and those that refused the terms were 
always, in the end, dashed to pieces and destroyed. There 
were some nations that waged implacable war aa:ainst Rome; 
but they were generally crushed at length. Such was the 
fate of Carthage and of Pontus; and such was the fate of the 
Jews. They were broken in pieces, and trampled under 
foot: but in general, all nations received the Romans as 
their masters, and were proud of their chains. To be a 
Roman citizen, was an honor which kings desired, and some- 
times purchased at the price of their own sovereignty. 
Rome thus became the empress of the world, and continued 
to exercise a boundless sway for many ages. 

But as the Grecian government was divided into four 
kingdoms, after the death of Alexander, so Rome was at 
length divided into ten kingdoms, or separate governments, 
all united, when it suited their purpose, but claiming dis- 
tinct sovereignty in their own territories. These kingdoms 
did not rise, so as to assume the sovereignty, until after 
Christianity was established in the empire, and not until af- 
ter the empire was divided, and the West separated from 
the East. In those fluctuating times, it is agreed by all 
historians, that there were ten independent sovereignties, 
within the limits of the western empire. 

But while the prophet was fixing his attention on the ten 
horns, he saw another little horn spring up among them, 
and in order to make room for it there were three of the first 
horns plucked up by the roots. This horn **had eyes like 
the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." 
The same power is described in the xiii. chapter of Revela- 
tion, and includes both the second beast that sprang up out 
of the earth, and the image of the first beast. It is chiefly 
that spiritual power which is now in existence in the Ro- 
man empire, and which, in fact, is the great bond of union 
in the Roman Catholic church. When the image of the 
beast was formed, and the Pope became the visible head of 
the ten kingdoms, three of those sovereignties were rooted 
out to make room for him, namely, the governments of 
Rome, Lombardy, and Ravenna: and in consequence of this, 
he still wears what is called the triple crown. 

This last beast appeared to the prophet to be the most 
important of the four, and the most worthy of observation; 
he therefore desired to know the truth especially concern- 
ing it, or to have the emblems interpreted. He wished to 
be informed what was the meaning " of the ten horns that 
were in his head, and particularly of the horn that came up 



S^ DISSERTATION ON 

last, before which three fell, the horn that had eyes, and 
a mouth that spake great things, whose look was more stout 
than his fellows." While he was intent on this subject, he 
saw that horn making war with the saints, and prevailing 
against them all that period, until the coming of the Ancient 
of days. Then indeed the scene was changed, "and judg- 
ment was given to the saints of the most High, and the time 
came that the saints possessed the kingdom." In further 
information, he was told, ** that the fourth beast should be 
the fourth kingdom on the earth, should be different from 
all kingdoms, and should devour the whole earth, and tread 
it down, and break it in pieces. That the ten horns out of 
this kingdom, were ten kings that should arise, and that 
another should rise after them, and should be different from 
the first, and should subdue three kings. — That he should 
speak great words against the most High, and should wear 
out the saints of the most High, and think Tor meditate, or 
devise) to change times and laws: and tney should be 

fiven into his hand until a time, and times, and the 
ividingofa time." Here it maybe observed, that the 
phrase, ** against the most High," in the first clause of 
the twenty-fifth verse, does not fairly present the sense 
of the original. We are not told that this little horn 
should say one word against the Almighty; but on the 
contrary, that he should speak for himj as if he were 
at his side, and employed by him to speak the words. 
There is something in the word rendered "against," which 
implies insidiousness; but it signifies his boasted power, 
which he pretends to have from God. It is true, that all 
such boasting may be said, ina certain sense, to be against 
the most High: but our translation conveys the idea, that 
this power should openly speak against God; and this is by 
no means intended in the prophecy. It is, literally, ** he 
shall speak words by the side of the most High," or speak 
without his authority, while he pretended to derive all his 
authority from him; setting himself up in the room of God, 
to prescribe laws and ordinances for his church. Now the 
chief and prominent trait in the character of the "saints of 
the most High," is their obedience to him alone. They ac- 
knowledge no authority but God's authority, and no laws 
and ordinances but those contained in his word. Hence, 
it is plain, that from the time in which the man of sin seated 
himself in the temple of God, and began to make changes 
and innovations in his laws and ordinances, there must have 
been a perpetual collision between him and the saints. 



THB til. OF DANIEL. ^ 

They would not submit to his laws, and he was determined 
to enforce them: thus he and thejr were perpetually at war*; 
It is also a truth, that in all countries, and in all ages, where 
men hare dared to depart from the ordinances of divine in- 
stitution, and to make laws and ordinances of their own, 
either for the government or worship of the church, thej 
hare acted on the very same principle with this little horn. 

It is manifest, that whatever power the Roman antichrist 
oftce possessed, his authority at this moment is very small 
wnong many of the nations of Europe, and in the United 
States of America. But do these nations worship God ac- 
cording to the laws and ordinances prescribed in his word? 
Is this the conduct of the professed worshipers of God In this 
part of Christendom? Do they not generally "follow their 
own ways, and choose their own delusions," and is not this 
tiie chief reason why there are so many divisions amon* them, 
and so many different sects and denominations? In fact the 
** little horn" has generally increased its influence by every 
new sect, and we find, that in almost all the Protestant 
ciiurches, as well as in the Roman church, there is a power 
that speaks " by the side of the most High," professing to 
derive its authority from him, while it changes his laws and 
ordinances. By such a multiplied, if not a combined oppo-^ 
gition,it is not wonderful that the saints of the most High 
ghould at length be worn out, or should faint and fail, and 
give up the contest in a kind of despondency: As Zion i8 
Raid to exclaim, "the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord 
h^th forgotten me." It is clearly foretold, that this** wearing 
out of the saints," is to be accomplished in the latter days. — 
The times and laws to be changed. — The inventions of men to 
take the place of the institutions of God. The witnesses 
to be ^lain and their bodies cast into the streets. Thus, 
tlirough the whole of this period, which is designated 
by the words, **a time, and times,*' and the dividing of a 
time," the beast is to prevail in every part of the christian 
world; and in the end of it, he is to be entirely successful, 
to cast down the truth to the ground, and to practise and 
prosper. 

This is the first place where the period of the reign of th« 
beast is mentioned in the scripture. The words are used 
afterwards in the last chapter of Daniel, and they are clear- 
ly explained in the Revelation. The meaning is, that from 
the time of the commencement of the reign of this power, 
until the end of it, will be 1260 years. Then "the judg- 
ment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to 



S4 DISSERTATION ON 

consume and to destroy it unto the end.'' This judgment 
is certainly the same which Daniel saw in the vision, and 
which is recorded from the 9th to the 13th verse of this 
chapter. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the 
Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, 
and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was 
like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A 
fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thou- 
sand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand 
times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, 
and the books were opened. I beheld then, because of the 
voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld, 
even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and 

eiven to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the 
easts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives 
were prolonged for a season and a time." The sublimity of 
the language here u«:ed, and the images which are presented 
to the mind, in order to give a just representation of the 
grandeur and terrible majesty of the scenes, have occasion- 
ed a general mistake among all classes of readers. The 
mind seems to be involuntarily carried away to the contem- 
plation of the last general judgment; while the immediate 
subjects which are intended to be brought particularly into 
view, are not taken into consideration. But still, a mo- 
ment's reflection may teach any one, that this is a descrip- 
tion of the scenes which shall take place about the end of 
the 1260 years, or the termination of the reign of this lit- 
tle horn. 

There are more thrones to be cast down than that of the^ 
great antichrist who sits in the metropolis of the Roman em- 
pire> This spiritual power, which arrogates to itself the 
making of laws and ordinances in the church of God, has his 
throne, at this moment, in all parts of the christian world. 
This is matter of fact, as well as matter of prophecy. But 
in the latter days, the first interposition of the divine power, 
will be to cast down the thrones that are established in dis- 
regard of his authority. The accurate obsener of the works 
of Providence, cannot fail to notice something of this kind 
at this present time. In the political world, the thrones of 
the despots are evidently tottering. Their authority is sup- 
ported only by the strong arm of power, and their subjects 
are every day becoming better and better acquainted with 
the weaicnessof their claims, and the unjust and oppressive 
exercise of their power. The spirit of emancipation, which 
refuses to submit to any kind of bondage, is evidently grow- 



THE VII. OF DANIEL. $5 

ing strongjer through the civilized world; and the power of 
every despot, from the mighty monarch who wields the force 
of a great nation, to the petty oppressor, who sits in the 
lurking places of the villages y and slays the innocent, shall 
finally be overturned. In the religious world, we see that 
the influence of forms and ceremonies on the human mind, 
is gradualljr decreasing. It is indeed true, that the mass 
of the christian world have not discernment enough to dis- 
tinguish between the ordinances which are appointed of 
God, and those which are merely of human contrivance; 
and therefore his institutions must, for a time, undergo 
the same fate with the times and laws which the than of 
sin has established: but God has determined to support 
his authority by his judgments; and, therefore, we see, 
that when the thrones are cast down, the Ancient of days 
takes his seat. 

In this wonderful representation, the person of the Father 
is brought into view as the judge; and this is another proof 
that it is not a representation of the final judgment; for in 
that day, not the Father, but Jesus Christ, shall be the judge. 
We must all stand, at the last day, before the judgment 
seat of Christ; but in this judgment, the world must stand 
before the Father. He comes to accomplish the promise to 
his only begotten Son, " to give him the heathen for his 
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his 
possession; that he may break them with a rod of iron, and 
dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel." His throne 
appears to be fixed in a chariot, to show the rapidity of his 
judgments. " His garment is white as snow," to show the 
purity and rectitude of all his dispensations. "The hair 
of his head is like the pure wool," to give an exhibition of 
his wisdom, and to show that he is entitled to the highest 
reverence and veneration. " His throne was like the fiery 
flame," literally, the flame which proceeds from a furnace. 
The exact rePxdering of the words can scarcely be given in 
a translation; but the meaning is, that flames, like light- 
nings, darted forth from the throne in all directions; while 
the wheels of his chariot, as they rolled rapidly along, seem- 
ed to glow, and to kindle a ne\V flame by every revolution. 
To add to this tremendous appearance, a fiery stream issued 
forth and ran before his chariot. Like the melted lava, 
which rolls with terrible rapidity from the bun ing volcano, 
so a tremendous torrent of liquid fire seemed to roll along 
before the chariot of the Almighty. 

In the midst of this dreadful display of the divine majesty, 
the prophet could perceive an immense number of minis- 



36 DISSERTATIOK OIT 

ters and attendants. The holy angels are his ministers, 
who wait upon him in all his visits to the earth, and to every 
part of his immense dominions. But his attendants were 
but a small number, compared with those who were brought 
before him to be judged. They appeared to be about ten 
thousand times ten thousand, or one hundred millions; some- 
thing like the number of those who are called christians at 
this time on the face of the globe. He will call them before 
him, and examine their pretensions. They are to be exa- 
mined by fire, — by passing through the furnace of affliction. 
This fire will proceed from the throne and chariot of the 
Almighty. In former ages, the course which he pursued 
in cleansing his church from corruption, was to give her 
into the hand of her enemies, and raise against her bitter 
and bloody persecution. Christians have been brought to 
the torture, the gibbet, and the stake, and every severe 
and cruel method has been tried, to induce them to choose 
the pleasures of sin rather than affliction. In this manner 
God has purified his church, and separated the chaff from 
the wheat. But in these latter times, a new course will be 
pursued. The afflictions will spring more immediatelv 
from the hand of God. " It shall come to pass, that in all 
the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off 
and die; but the third part shall be left therein. And I 
will brin^ the third part through the fire, and will refine 
them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: 
they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, 
it is my people; and they shall say, the Lord is my God." — 
This is the purpose for w"hich " the judgment is to be set, 
and the books to be opened." In a few years, the christian 
world will realize the truth of this tremendous representa- 
tion: '• There shall be a time of trouble, such as never 
was since there was a nation unto that same time." '* Be- 
hold," says the prophet Isaiah, speaking of the scenes of 
the latter days, ** behold, the name of the Lord cometh 
from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is 
heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a 
devouring fire: and his breath, as an overflowing stream, 
shall reach e^n to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations 
with the sieve of vanitv; and there shall be a bridle in the 
jaws of the people causing them to err." But it is needless 
to multiply quotations: as the diligent student of the Bible 
Mdll find proofs for the terrible and extensive judgments of 
the latter days, in almost ov.-ry chapter vi the prophets. 

The result of these judgments will not only be the casting 
down of this "little horn," which has for so long a time 



THE YII. OF DANIEL. Sf 

«• made war with the saints," but the entire destruction of 
the beast on whose head he stands. ** I beheld then," say» 
Daniel, *• because of the voice of the great words which the 
horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his 
body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." It is an 
important trait in the character of tl»e Almighty, that he 
debases the proud and exalts the humble: and it is an obvious 
trait in the character of the prevailing religion of the pre- 
sent day, that it gives encouragement to the pride of the 
human heart. It is the very system of self- righteousness 
for which the church of Rome has set the example. Every 
plan and method which the invention of man can suggest, i;* 
carried into eiFect for the propagation of religion, while little 
attention is paid to the plan and method laid down and fol- 
lowed by our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles. He taught 
humility, by insisting upon the sovereignty of God, by giv- 
ing a prominent place, in his preaching, to the doctrines of 
election and grace, and by setting his face against all the 
traditions and inventions of men. The consequence was, 
that he had few converts to his doctrines in that sinful gene- 
ration: but in this generation, which is no less sinful and 
degenerate, the convert-makers are exceedingly successful. 
It has, in fact, become a mere mechanical business, — a work . 
of art: but while they trumpet forth their own praises, and 
exhibit the evidences of their victory over the kingdom of 
Satan, there is too much reason to fear, that like the converts 
of the Pharisees, they are made twofold more the children 
of hell. Instead of learning heavenly principles, and ad- 
vancing in the knowledge of Christ, •• they feed on ashes; a 
deceived heart hath turned them aside, that they cannot de- 
liver their souls, nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand?" 
The numerous proclamations concerning religious revivals, 
the immense success of missionary labors, the great good 
which has been and is doing by tract societies, &c., &c., 
are the great words which the horn speaks in this part of 
the christian world. It speaks always in such a manner i\.h\ 
to gratify the natural pride of the heart, and by this it may 
be always known and distinguished from the still small 
voice of the gospel. But its great words are working its 
own ruin, and the ruin of all the present plans for the pro- 
pagation of Christianity. These are not new inventions. 
The protestant world has followed the footsteps of the cliurch 
of Rome: their plans and their works are of the same nature 
with her corruptions, and when Babylon shall fall, thej 
must all fall together. 
4 



oH DISSERTATION OI^ 

It must be acknowledged, that in all ages since the days 
of the apostles, the spirit of Antichrist has had much influ- 
ence among mankind. The doctrines, the institutions, and 
all the ordinances of religion, have been used in a manner 
contrary to their nature, and the intention for which they 
were given. The history of every age furnishes mournful 
testimonies on this subject; and hence it is difficult for us to 
believe that our age is more corrupt than the ages that are 
past. It is hard for individuals to discover their own faults; 
and there is a similar difficulty in discovering the faults of 
the time, and the society, in which we live. It is indeed a 
subject which few take the trouble to examine. Men are 
generally inclined to pursue the beaten track, without ever 
suspecting any deviation has been made from the path of 
truth. When they look around them, and find so much 
apparent harmony, and so much charity among the different 
religious sects, which were formerly hostile to each other; 
w:hen they see them all uniting, and combining their exer- 
tions for the circulation of the Scriptures, and for many 
other laudable and benevolent objects; and hear them re- 
porting how God has blessed their endeavors beyond their 
most sanguine expectations; — to say that these are the voice 
of tlie great words which the horn spake, and for which the 
beast shall be slain,. &c., seems to argue, not only a total 
want of charity, but a degree of prejudice.and perversenesSj, 
which render a man totally unfit for society. Often has 
the writer of these remarks had his heart tortured by such 
reflections. It gives him pain at the present moment,^ to 
say that these splendid appearances have little reality in 
them, — that the charity of this age is founded on a want of 
regard for truth, — that the present exertions for the promo- 
tion of the gospel, when traced to their source, will gene- 
rally be found to proceed from the selfish desire of promoting 
the influence of their particular sects, — and, in fact, that 
every work they engage in, however laudable and benevo- 
lent it may be in its nature, is soon contaminated and cor^ 
rupted by passing through their hands. 

It will no doubt be objected, that such observations are 
calculated to injure the cause of religion, — to weaken the 
efforts of the charitable and zealous, and to unnerve the 
arms of benevolent exertion. What will become of our 
bible institutions, of our missionary and tract societies, and 
of all the plans which have been formed for the propagation 
of the gospel, if the world should suspect that their charity 
has been abused, and their gifts, which they have so liberally 



THE YII. OF DANIEL. 3y 

bestowed for tlie support of the Redeemer's kingdom, 
transferred to the kingdom of the beast? We answer, it is 
time that tlie trutli slior.hl be generally known; and that the 
attention of mankind should be called to the motives, the 
means, and the objects, of their benevolence. It is long 
since '' pious frauds" were invented. These contrivances 
were practised, and even defended by many of those char- 
acters who are called the fathers of th.e church. They 
timught it no harm, but a duty, to use means for the propa- 
i;ation of the ^osiiei, wiiich they w uld have condemned as 
mean and dishonest, it they had found others using them 
for other purposes. Those who read and study the hi3tory 
of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, whicl^- are generally 
supposed to be the ])iirest ages of the churcli, will be at 
r.o loss to understand hov/ *=' the man of sin" had the way 
opened for him to enter the temple of God; and to ];lace 
his throne hard by the tlirone of the most High. It was 
by means of the same pious frauds, which are now practised 
so extensively in the churclies, that hundreds of petty 
antichrists arose; and when their ambitious claims to pre- 
eminence came into collision, the church was tlirown into 
a flame, and it was thought to be better to have one infallible 
judo-e, than an hundred judges, who all pretended to infalli- 
bility, and whose decisions frequently ran in direct con- 
tradiction the one to the other. Thus the little horn, 
whose looks were more stout than his fellows, became the 
supreme arbiter, and his ^ oice was the law. 

There is something of a similar nature, and which has 
similar practical results, in the charity of the present age. 
Although there are t^n thousand discordant opinions and 
practices, among christians, they have made a kind of truce; 
and seem to admit that al". may be right, or at least that all 
may possibly arrive at the same end; although their means 
may be Jiiferent. H;;n' e it is considered a breach of charitv 
even to speak of what is wrong in ihe modern means used 
for the propagation of tliego.^pel. Mankind appear to have 
a strong desire for pe.ice, and they would rather suHer 
errors to continue and multiply, than say or do any thing 
which would have a tendency to throw the world agiiin into 
collision and tumult. Eut the eyes of this spiritual power, 
called the little horn, are exceedingly w^atchful, and he 
observes and lays hold of every thing, which can be made a 
means to promote his interest. This is the way in which 
he ^ow makes war with the saints, and prevails against 
i^iem. Men do not consider, tliat the peace which is" built 



40 DISSERTATION ON 

on a falsft foundation, is Iik« a house built on the f»and. It 
is in fact no peace. It is the calm that precedes the storm. 
There can be no permanent peace on the earth, until men 
give diligence to learn, receive into their hearts, and reduce 
into practice in their lives and conversation, the truths of 
the word of God. Therefore, true charity will lead us to 
expose error, and to develop and propagate the truth. For 
truth in religion, in morals, and in politics, is the only 
foundation of social happiness. Temporary purposes may 
indeed be promoted -by concealing the truth; and the designs 
of the crafty may succeed for a time: but nothing can be 
permanent except what is built on this foundation; nothing else 
will be able to stand amidst the tremeiidous judgments that 
are about to come on the christian world. The torrent of 
fire that rolls before the chariot of the Almighty, will utterly 
consume, — will not leave even a vestige of all those inventions 
and contrivances, which men have framed for the advance- 
ment of their own particular views of religion, of their own 
sects, and their own aggrandizement, and which tliey have 
imposed on the world, as proper means for promoting the 
gospel. 

It is evident, that as long as any government exists and 
possesses authority, the spirit of that government will oper- 
ate to the very extremity of its dominion. All the officers 
of government, and the subjects generally, will be actuated 
by one spirit. But this power, which is here represented 
by the fourth beast, is said to be " diverse from all the 
beasts that were before it:" and one part of this diversity 
consists, no doubt, in the fact, that the spirit of the Roman 
church operates, not only among all who belong to her com- 
munion, but among many who disclaim all communion and 
co-operation with her. Our fathers of the Reformation 
renounced the government, and the errors of antichristian 
Rome. Still it is very plain that many of the churches of 
the Reformation continued to practise some of the errors of 
popery; and perhaps a little of the leaven of it was left in 
every one of them. This leaven, instead of being weakened 
by the lapse of years, has in fact giown stronger in every 
sect of christians, just in proportion to the increase of their 
numbers and power. No religion can ever become fashiona- 
ble in the world, without embracing some of the errors of 
popery. Thus the spirit that actuated the little horn at the 
beginning, and by which he was induced to act from his own 
authority,-— to make regulations and ordinances of his own, 
and to change times and laws, does in fact, actuate every 



THX Vn. OF DATVXE1« 41 

powerful and numerous sect of christians on the face of the 
earth. Hence the origin of the war with the saints, which 
must continue until tlie horn, or the power, shall not only be 
l^roken, but^* the beast shallbe slain, and his body destroy- 
ed, and given to the burning flame. '"^ 

This is a representation of the scenes wliicli are more 
fully developed in the xix. chapter of Revelation. The 
apostle declares: ^^ I saw the beast, and the kings of the 
-earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war 
against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And 
the beast was taken, and the false prophet that wrought 
miracles before him, with which he deceived them that hail 
received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped hi« 
image. These were both cast alive, into the lake of fire 
burning with brimstone." This is not a literal battle; but 
the last efforts of error against truth. The triumph of the 
word of God over all su^perstition and idolatry. In this last 
contest, the beast shall be overpowered and compelled to 
jield himself a captive, and the false prophet shall be 
placed in the same condition: and after they are taken, 
they are cast into the lake of fire. Although this beast is a 
spiritual pov/er, yet he is embodied in a large number of 
mankind. As the government of Rome is a combination of 
men united for the support of a false religion; and as there is 
also a large number of men, under the character of ministers 
of the gospel, who devote themselves exclusively to the 
support of that establishment, and are combined under one 
head: so these different combinations are called the beast and 
the false prophet, with respect to that particular church: but 
the same thing exists in substance in many other churches, 
and they are here represented as one combination. In the 
end they shall be cut off by some sudden judgments, coming 
immediately from God, They shall die in the midst of false 
hopes; and while they tliink of nothing but success in this 
world, and of happiness in the next, they shall find them- 
selves at once precipitated into the flaities of Tophet. 

The other governments, the Chaldean, the Persian, and 
the Grecian, which are still in existeace, and still possess 
something of the same spirit which they manifested in an- 
cient times, shall, at the time when the fourth beast is slain, 
lose all power over the minds of men. The prophet saw 
that the three former beasts were not destroyed with the 
fourth. They lost their power, but did not then lose their 
existence. From this we infer, that after the antichristian 

4* 



4k WSSRStTAf ION' o li^ 

power shall have been piit down, the'other governments of 
the world shall continue; but none of them shall be able 
to impede the progress of the gospel. They shall have no 
power to act as ferocious beasts in destroying the saints. 
But as their lives are said to be merely prolonged for a sea- 
son and time, we may believe they shall finally be overturn- 
ed, and reorganized according to the principles of the gospel. 

In the vision contained in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
verses, and in the subsequent explanation, given in the 
eighteenth and twenty-seventh, we have a most interesting 
view of the establishment and dominion of the gospel, when 
the saints of the most High shall have the government of the 
earth. During the dominion of these four great powers, 
the saints have been always despised and persecuted; at 
least, they have had no share in the government of the 
world; and more especially, in the reign of the fourth pow- 
er, war has been almost continually made against them; and 
they bear the character of witnesses who prophesy in sack- 
cloth. Whoever is exalted, they must be depressed, and 
wear always the garments of humiliation. Whatever peace 
and social enjoyment exist among mankind, the world will 
be always hostile to them, because, like their master, they 
bear testimony that the deeds of it arei evil. But we are 
here presented with the view of their happy condition, after 
the opposing power shall have been put down. Daniel be- 
holds the Redeemer coming with the clouds of heaven, to 
receive this dominion from his Father, that he may give it 
to his people. There is a sublimity in this representa- 
tion, which does not appear in our English bibles. It 
is literally, *' I saw in the visions of the night, and 
behold, with the clouds of heaven, as a son of man, HE 
came; and he inclined his course towards the Ancient of 
days, and they brought him near before him," &c. It is 
indeed a nameless personage; one who appeared like a son 
of man: but it is HE whom all understood to be the pro- 
mised Messiah. Then to him was immediately given, do- 
minion, and glory, and the kingdom, &c. 1 herefore it is 
said in the explanation, '* that the kingdom and dominion, 
and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, 
shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High; 
whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions 
shall serve and obey him. " 

The Redeemer received this authority when he rose from 
the dead and ascended to his Father: but here the Father 



THE VII. OF DANIEL. 43 

IS represented as coming to put him into the actual possession 
of it. In the first place, he executes judgments on his ene- 
mies, puts them down, and then gives the dominion to his 
only begotten Son. It is by no means diflicult to conceive 
of the change which shall take place in the minds of men, 
and in the outward condition of the world, at this blessed 
period. It will chiefly consist in the establishment of the 
authority of Jesus Christ over the hearts and consciences of 
men. At this time, there are many who profess to have 
their hearts actuated by a sense of his authority, while in 
fact they deny him. In this sense, he has a nominal king- 
dom, while the beast possesses the power: but in that bless- 
ed period, the power shall also be his. If our hearts were 
fully under the authority of the Redeemer, we should not 
dare to neglect any moral d\iiy. We should all be diligent 
in attending on the worship of God according to his appoint- 
ment. There would be no human inventions introduced 
into his worship. Men would not dare '* to add to his 
words, lest he should reprove them, and they should be 
found liars." They would bear in mind continually the 
great truth, that " the eyes of the Lord run to and fio through 
the whole earth, beholding the evil and the good." Know- 
ing the terrors of the 4^ord, and the blessings of obedience, 
they would fear to offend him, and be solicitous to obey 
every command in the spirit. In a word, they would always 
have the fear of God before their eyes. 

If the minds of men were thus enlightened in the know- 
ledge of God, his laws written on their hearts, and their lives 
corresponding to this change of principles, there can be no 
doubt but God would pour out his blessing upon them in 
their temporal circumstances. The heavens would give 
rain in due season. The earth would yield her increase. 
Peace and plenty would be the portion of all. The exercise 
of temperance would insure contentment and health. The 
pains and tortures of disease would be seldom or never felt. 
Old age would indeed still, in some degree, enfeeble every 
constitution. The fire of youth would gradually be extin- 
guished. But the aged would still enjoy peace and comfort, 
and come to the grave in a full age, " like as a shock of 
corn Cometh in, in his season." 

This shall be the happy condition of the world when the 
saints shall possess the kingdom. Then the excellence of 
christian principles will appear, when they shall have their 
full operation on the minds of men. This blessed condition 



44 DISSERTATIOM ON, &C. 

shall continue, without any interruption, for a thousand 
years. At the end of this period, Satan shall be loosed 
from his prison, and shall again commence his work of de- 
ception. His delusions shall again operate on the minds ot 
men generally. " Tlie heathen shall again rage, and the 
people shall again imagine vain things. " They shall not 
only plot and combine, to break asunder the bands of truth 
and righteousness; but they shall attempt to destroy true 
Christianity from the earth. In this attempt, they will 
show the wicked principle by which all the enemies of the 
Lord Jesus Christ are actuated, and then God will destroy 
them by some sudden judgment, which is represented by 
fire coming down from heaven and devouring them. Hence 
the saints shall never lose the kingdom, after they shall have 
obtained it in these latter days. The war in which they 
are now engaged shall terminate in victory, and shall never 
need to be renewed. In any future attempt of the enemy 
to destroy them, they shall have no need to fight; but only 
stand still, and behold the salvation of God. But finally, 
the Lord Jesus Christ shall come, with ten thousands of his 
saints, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know 
not God, and obey not his gospel. Then the last trumpet 
shall sound, the dead shall be raised, ,and all stand at the 
bar of Jesus Christ for judgment. 

How awful, how exalted and majestic, how consistent, 
and how full of wisdom and love, is the plan of God's provi- 
dence and redemption, as it is developed in his word! It 
has never yet been fully developed; but,/rom the heginning 
of the world, has been hid in God. The most enlightened 
mind, even in this last age, can see comparatively but little 
of its glory. Still, that little which we can see, is sufficient 
to convince us, that there is a boundless ocean of grandeur 
and glory, ready to come into view. The darkness is just 
beginning to disperse. The day star has already risen in 
the hearts of some of the true witnesses, and will yet rise in 
the hearts of many; and at length, all those whose minds 
are thus illuminated by the light of prophecy, shall be ena- 
bled to see the sun of righteousness, v^hen he shall come to 
enlighten, to cheer, and to bless the earth. 



PART I. DISSERTATION II. 

ON THE VIII. OF DANIEL. 

The importance and excellence of the prophecy contained 
in this chapter, will appear in the clear and lull description 
of that power, which, for so manj ages, has held the domi- 
nion of the christian world, but especially in showing the 
period of its fall. The knowledge of the time whtn certain 
great and interesting events shall come to pass, is very im- 
portant to those whose lot is cast in that age of the world. 
The prophecies concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus 
Christ for the destruction of Jerusalem, were of great im- 
portance to his disciples in those trying times. When they 
saw the accomplishment of his words; — when the scenes 
which he had taught them to expect, were opening and un- 
folding themselves to their view, their hearts were not only 
more and more established in the faith, but they had every 
inducement to order their lives and conversation, and even 
their outward circumstances, so as to be prepared for the 
scenes of trouble which they knew to be at hand. This 
prophecy, as will be seen in the sequel, not only proves, 
but proves to a demonstration, that the last end of the indig- 
nalion is fast approaching, and so near at hand, that the man 
of middle age may live to see it; and that before this genera- 
tion shall pass away, the sanctuary shall be cleansed. 

This vision appeared to Daniel near the end of the reia;n 
of Belshazzar, and consequently, near the expiration of the 
Chaldean dynasty, of which Belshazzar was the last king. 
The lion had entirely lost his boldness and ferocity, his wings 
were clipped, and his heart was changed. He had neither 
the ability nor the courage to roam the forests as usual for 
his prey, and, by his roaring, to strike the other animals 
with terror. He himself became timid as the feeble fawn. 
He had not even the power of self-preservation. Hence in 
this vision the Chaldean power does not appear. 

At this time, Daniel still dwelt in Babylon, and was em- 
ployed in some public business: but in the vision, he seemed 
to have been transported to the city Shushan, or Suza, in 
the province of Elam; which was afterwards, for many 
years, the winter residence of the kings of Persia. He 
found himself on the bank of the river Ulai, a stream not far 
from the city. He beheld, in vision, a ram standing on the 



46 



DISSERTATION OS 



marj^in of the river, having two horns, which rose to a great 
heia^ht from his head. One of them, the prophet discerned, 
v/as higher than the other. The horns grew on the head of 
tlie ram while Daniel was observing it, and the higher horn 
came up the last. This ram is afterwards explained to re- 
present the united kin^s or dynasties of Media aad Persia. 
These two powers werejustaboutthat time uniteil, under Cy- 
rus the G eat, who was a Persian by birth, and Dsrius the 
Mede, who was the uncle of Cyrus, his mother's brother. It 
is generally agreed, by all historians aj^d ciironologeis who 
have written on this subject, that this mighty conqiieror, and 
v/onderful man, began his reign over Persia in the fust year 
of the lifty-iirtii Olympiad, which answers to tiie year 559 
before the christian era; and nine years afterv.ards, or iti 
the yenr 550 before the commrncement of the same era, 
the kingdoms of Media and Persia were united and consoli- 
dated, under his s:'>vernment. Isi the year 538, or eigi^hteeii 
years after this union, Babylon was taken, and tlie Chaldean 
empire terminated. The government of Babylon was first 
put into the ha ids of Darius, who was then sixty-two years of 
age; and nine years afterwards the government of the whole 
united empire devolved on Cyrus. This event, therefore, 
took place twenty-seven years after Cyrus became king of 
Media and Persia. Hence the decree for the restoration of 
the Jews, which is recorded in the last chapter of [I. Chro- 
nicles, and the first chapter of Ezra, is said to have been 
published in the fi -st year of Cyrus: — not the first of his 
reign over Persia, or over Media and Persia united; but in 
the first year af(er God hnd rai ed him to the throne of Ba- 
bylon, and given into his hand all the kingdoms of the 
earth. 

The kingdom of Persia was smidl and inconsiderable be- 
fore the days of Cyrus, while that of Media had a long 
standing in the world: but this mighty conqueror soon raised 
his native country to power and renown; and all this ap- 
pears in the vision. *' 'Fhe two horns of the ram were high, 
one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last." 
The prophet beheld *' this ram pushing westward, and north- 
ward, and southward; so that no beast might stand before 
him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his 
hand; but he did according to his will, and became great." 
The fore<;oijig historical facts will show us plainly how all 
this was fulfilled. 

But while Daniel was revolving the vision in his mind, 
and endeavoring to understand the meaning of it, he saw a 



THE VIII. OF DANIEL. 47 

he-goat come from the west; and he seemed to cover the 
face of the earth. He came with such amazing rapidity, 
that he appeared not to touch the ground, and the prophet 
discerned that he had a remarkable horn between his eyes. 
** I saw him," says he, ** come close to the ram, and he was 
moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and 
brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to 
stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and 
stamped upon him; and there was none that could deliver 
the ram out of his hand." This "rough goat" is 
afterwari Js explained to mean the Grecian dynasty; and 
the horn, to represent the first government, which was 
commenced by Philip of Macedon, and afterwards , became 
exceedingly great under his son Alexander. The kings of 
Persia had ruled the world for more than two hundred years, 
and they had proved to be tlie greatest destroyers of the 
human fiunily that ever existed: but they also, at length, 
became weak and effeminate, and fell an easy prey to the 
prowess and skill of Alexander. At the battle of Granicus, 
with 30,000 men, he defeated the immense army of Darius. 
Afterwards, at Issus and at Arbela, he destroyed completely 
the remnant of his power, and took possession of his king- 
dom. Thus, there was no power in the ram to stand before 
him: and thus, the he-goat waxed very great. He destroyed 
the ancient and powerful city of Tyre. He took possession 
of Egypt. He passed the mountains of Caucasus, and car- 
ried his conquests into India. Even the whole world ap- 
S eared too small for his boundless ambition. But, in the 
ower of his age, he was cut off by death, and the empire 
was divided among the four chief ccmmanders of his army, 
who took each of them the title ot king. Thus, '* when the 
he-goat was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it 
came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven." 
In each of the prophecies, contained in the seventh, 
eighth, and eleventh chapiersj we find a remarkable trans- 
ition from the early to the last times of the RomA,n empire. 
In the vision recorded in the seventh chapter, the prophet 
discovered, that the fourth beast had ten horns, and these 
horns immediately engaged his attention: but the ten king- 
doms which these horns represented, were not in existenca 
until after Rome became christian. Here a thousand years 
are passed over, that the prophet might fix his attention on 
the scenes of the latter days. Here we find a similar trans- 
ition. A little horn is said to have sprung up out of one cf 
those kingdoms, and which *' became exceeding great, tc- 



48 DISSERTATION OM 

vrards the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleas- 
sant land. And it waxed great," &c. This little horn evi- 
dently signifies the Roman power; but not so much the hea- 
then as the antichristian power of Rome. When the suc- 
cessors of Alexander divided his empire among them, the 
Romans were no contemptible power. It is true that in 
comparison with many other governments they might well 
be called a little horn; and be said to have waxed great: for, 
from that period, they advanced with great rapidity, south- 
ward, and westward, and eastward. They may be said to 
have cast down to the earth many of the host of heaven, and 
to have magnified themselves to the prince of the host; for un- 
der their government the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. 
It may be said, that by them the daily sacrifice was taken 
away; for it was they that destroyed the temple and the city 
of Jerusalem; so that no sacrifices could any longer be offered 
according to the law of Moses. There are many things, in 
this account of the works of this little horn, which are ac- 
complished in the first sense of the prophecy by Rome pagan; 
but we must look to Rome christian for the full accomplish- 
ment: and, while we fix our attention on the great antichrist, 
we must not forget that there are to be many antichrists in 
the last times. The prophet is told that in the latter time 
of their kingdom, or rather, as it ought to have been render - 
ed, in the end of their kingdoms; that is, after all those gov- 
ernments shall have been overturned, "and when the trans- 
gressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, 
and understanding dark sentences shall stand up, and his 
power shall be mighty," &c. This is evidently spoken con- 
cerning the empire of Rome under the last head. The little 
horn of the seventh chapter, the little horn of the eighth, the 
power which is described from the thirty -first verse of the 
eleventh, and which is still more particularly described in 
the thirteenth chapter of Revelation; the beast which rose 
out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and the 
second beast which rose out of the earth, having two horns 
like a lamb, but speaking as a dragon, are all intended to 
exhibit the antichristian power which has risen and reigned 
for nearly 1260 years. In order to have a clear view of (his 
power, in its enormous stature and full dimensions, we must 
look at the church of Rome. There we shall see the great 
antichrist standing like tlie enormous oak among the trees 
of smaller stature; but there are hundreds of the same spe- 
cies every where through the christian world. All indeed, 
have not grown to the same enormous size. All are not 



THE VIII. OF DANIEL. 49 

able to practise and to prosper to the same extent, in des- 
troying the mighty and the holy people: but in proportion to 
their power, they all make war with the saints. All endea- 
vor to prosper bj their policy and craft, and all magnify 
themselves in their heart. But there is no part of the pro- 
phecy which is more clearly fulfilled in the present time, 
than this clause, "by peace he shall destroy many." The 
false charity, which has so long been inculcated and practis- 
ed by the mass of the christian churches, has produced a 
false peace, which is now the destruction of multitudes. 
When those who are walking in the paths of error and false 
worship, are never reproved; when the errors are never 
looked on with disapprobation, but rather encouraged; when 
one sect is afraid to expose the errors of another for fear of 
violating the law of charity; is it not to be expected that 
they will all run into some errors, and that if all continue 
in this course, no pure church will at length be found on 
the earth? This evil is now working its pernicious effects. 
In this sense, the daily sacrifice is as really taken away, 
and the sanctuary is as really defiled, though not to the 
same extent, in almost all the other churches, as in the 
church of Rome. 

It is evident that no man, nor an}^ body of men, has a 
right, by its own authority, to prescribe laws for the church 
of God; or to introduce any ordinance or regulation, for 
which they cannot show authority from his word. ■■ When 
therefore, any individual, or any public body, attempts in 
this sense "to change times and laws," they do in fact 
stand up against the prince of princes. Here again we may 
clearly perceive, that the great antichrist is only amonster 
of iniquity, grown to a larger size than some others, who 
resemble him, and who copy his example. 

But our chief object in this dissertation, is to show, that 
the time is at hand, when God will cleanse his sanctuary by 
the torrent of his judgments. That he will thus cleanse 
his church from every kind of pollution, and that- the work 
of cleansing shall commence in no very distant period from 
the time in which we live, we think is abundantly plain 
from the last chapter. We now call the attention of our 
readers to the proofs, that the period is fast approaching and 
is already at the doors. It appears to have been a great 
desideratum with Daniel, to know the times when thcac 
things should come to pass; and it certainly ought to be a 
powerful object of desire with us, whose lot is cast so near 
the times of the end. Daniel heard one saint speaking with 
5 



5^ DISSERTATION QIC 

4no<Jier saint on this subject. The question was asked, 
*''how long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, 
and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctua- 
ry and the host to be trodden under foot?" Then the per- 
son who was asked, turned to Daniel and said, "unto 2300 
dajs/* or literally, "to the evening and morning of 2300, 
and the sanctuary shall be cleansed." From this we may 
see the meaning of the first clause of the twenty-sixth verse. 
"The vision of the evening and morning, which was told, 
is true*'' Daniel was informed, **that the vision should be 
for many days, that it should be fulfilled at the last end of 
the itHiignation; and that at the time appointed the end 
should be." Hence the conclusion is obvious, that the end 
of the days, the last end of the indignation, and the time 
apj)ointed, is the period spoken of in the foregoing chapter, 
when the thrones are said to be cast down, and the Ancient 
of dajs sat on the throne of judgment. It is also no less ob- 
vious, that the commencement of the days is the time of the 
lise of the ram, or the Medo-Persian power. But this is 
known to have commenced in the year 550 before the christian 
era; and as each of these prophetical days, stands for a year; 
if we deduct 550 from 2300, we shall come to the year 1750, 
Jis tlie end of the days, or the last end of the indignation. 
According to this calculation the time is past, and no judg- 
Baents have yet been executed to correspond with the pro- 
phecy. 

The error consists in a mistake of transcribers, which 
might wery readily occur; and we know that such errors 
kAye occurred in other places as well as in this. In the 
second verse of the twenty-second chapter of ILjChronicles, 
we find an error precisely of the same kind. It is there 
said, that Ahaziah was forty and two years old when he be- 
gan to reign. But his father Jehoram was not more than forty 
years old when he died; and as Ahaziah began to reign im- 
mediately on the demise of his father, it is impossible this 
sht/ijld be true. In the viii. chapter of 11. Kings, and 
tw Mi fy -sixth verse, it is said that '* Ahaziah was two and 
ivrefity years old when he began to reign," and we have rea- 
son to suspect an error here also: for Ahaziah was the 
youngest son of Jehoram, and he had a number of other 
sons, who were slain by a band of the Arabians, who broke 
into his encampment. If Ahaziah was twenty and two 
years old at the death of his father, and his father was only 
forty veins old whew he died, he must have been born 
whett his father was eighteen years of age. When, there- 



THE Viri. OF DANIF-L. 5t 

fore it is considered that he had other sons older than Ahaz- 
iah, there is manifest ground of suspicion that he was not 
even two and twenty years old when he began to reign. 
But in the Greek version of the Chronicles, commonlj call- 
ed the Septuagint, this error does not exist. We are there 
told that Ahaziah was twenty years old when he began to 
reign. Then his father was twenty years old when lie was 
born, and as he was married young, and had more wives 
than one, he might have had sons olderthan Aliaziah. This 
fact is mentioned here, to show, that although the Provi- 
dence of God, has always watched over the bible, and kept 
it free from any fatal mistake, or such coriuption as could 
not be discovered and rectified; yet some errors have occa- 
sionally crept in by the ignorance or negligence of transcri- 
bers. There is no doubt, an error of the same kind, in the 
number 2300. In the Greek version, to which we have re- 
ferred, the fourteenth verse is thus rendered. And he said 
unto him: "until the evening and morning, days two thou- 
sand and four hundred; and the sanctuary shall be cleans- 
♦''i." This is no doubt the number which was expressed by 
the heavenly messenger. We are informed by Jerome, as 
quoted by Newton, that some of the ancient manuscripts 
had 2-200. But it is now rendered sufficiently plain, that 
neither 2200 nor 2300 is the proper number; because the 
vision must be dated from the rise of the ram: and therefore, 
we are obliged to follow the Septuagint, as the last resource. 
Itis the oldest translation of the scriptures, and wai? made 
not more than 400 years after the days of Daniel. It is th* 
more likely to be correct; because the prophecies of Daniel 
were much studied in those days. But the signs of the 
times afford a strong proof that the last end of the indigna- 
tion is not far distant; and as 2400 years will bring us dowift 
to these times, we need seek no farther evidence of the cor- 
rectness of this number. As the Medo-Persian empire, sig- 
nified by the ram, rose in the year 550 before the christiaft 
era; and as 1827 years have now elapsed since that e.a, it i* 
now 2377 years since the rise of the ram, or the commence- 
ment of the vision; and therefore 23 years after this-time, 
*• the sanctuary will be cleansed"! 

By ** the cleansing of the sanctuary" we are not to under- 
stand the commencement of the Millennium. It is tfee 
removing of antichristian defilement. After that period 
the sanctuary and the host shall no longer be trodden under 
foot. Men who are christians by profession, but gentiles 
in their heart, shall not dare to trample on the outer court 



5£ DISSBRTATIOK OH 

of the temple, or on the holy city. God shall then encourage 
and animate his people by his word and spirit, saying to 
them, ** Awake, awake: put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy 
beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for hence- 
forth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised 
and the unclean." The church sliall then be cleansed from 
false doctrines, and from all worship which God has not 
authorized. It is by no means difficult for us to see how 
this work will be accomplished; because God is now laying 
a foundation for it. In this age ail errors and delusions 
that ever operated on the minds of men have had their full 
influence, and are now beginninii to decline. We can at 
this moment see some of their pernicious eftects: but in the 
course of twenty years more these effects will be still more 
obvious, and the world will at length be generally convinced 
** that the corrupted tree will not produce good fruit," that 
false principles and false worship, instead of producing holi- 
ness of heart and life, will only generate bad habits, and 
increase unto more ungodliness. There will be no longer 
aay new lure to catch the unwary; for human contrivances 
are even now almost exhausted, and men will be taught by 
the experience of the past age, that nothing will be perma- 
nent but truth; and that nothing will purify the heart, but 
the true christian principles, and the pure worship of God, 
according to his own ordinances. The spirit of antichrist 
V will by that time have lost much of its power. The tremen- 
dous judgments of God, will teach men, not any longer to 
intrude their inventions into his church. The preachers of 
the gospel will not dare any longer *' to prophesy smooth 
things, to walk in craftiness, or to handle the word of God de- 
ceitfully;" for all these things will, in a few years, be punished 
most severely. The little antichrists which have raised 
themselves by policy and craft, which they have " made to 
prosper in their hand," will all be put down; and finally the 
great antichrist of Rome shall be judged, and Rome itself 
shall become like Tyre, and like ancient Babylon, a scene 
of desolation; and finally a heap of ruins. At the cleans- 
ing the sanctuary the prophesy shall be fulfilled wnich is 
recorded in the beginning of the xix. of Revelation: *' And 
after these things, I heard a great voice of much people in 
Heaven, saying. Alleluia, salvation, and glory, and honor, 
and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous 
are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which 
did corrupt the earth with her fornication; and hath avenged 
tke blood of his servants at her baud." 



THE Tin. OF DANIEl., 5S 

These are treinondnus considerations. When we com- 
pare the things contained in this chapter, with those in the 
foregoing, and understand that all these events will be 
brought about by terrible judgments; and th.it these judg- 
ments are so soon to be executed; it should lead us to 
consider our waj's, and to search and try our hearts; that 
we may turn again unto the Lord. What church or 
what individual now existing has entirely escaped t1ie 
wide spread contamination, wt.ich in every place, lias 
defiled the sanctuary of God? Although some are levs 
defiled than otheis; it is very certain that every cluucl , and 
every sect in the whole church, has its errors and dcfiie- 
ments. Although it is true, " t' e Lord's hand is not short- 
ened that it cannot save, nor his ear iieavy that it cannot 
hear;" it is no less true, *' that our iniquities have 
separated between us and our God, and our sins have hid 
his face from us that he will not hear." We are not there- 
fore to expect any blessing from him, — any attention to our 
worship, or to our exertions in propagating the gospel, until 
we give diligence to discover our sins, and remove them by 
repentance and amendment. Those churches, and those 
individuals, who refuse to put away the idols, and abominable 
things which they have among them, will find themselves in 
a few years to be nothing but a mass of corruption, and shall 
at last be utterly destroyed, by the torrent of devouring fire, 
which will burn around the chariot of the '* Ancient of days," 
when he comes to execute the judgments of his wrath. 

But there is hope for all, who have sufficient humility to 
retrace their steps, and turn from their iniquities. There 
are few indeed of this description at the present time. 
Whatever course men have chosen, they seem determined to 
persevere in it. Hence many of the errors into which they 
have fallen from ignorance or negligence, will become fatal; 
because they have too much pride to confess and forsake 
them. But still it is a glorious time for those whom God has 
raised to authority in the churches to endeavor to effect a 
reformation. There are many images to be broken, — many- 
altars to be demolished, — many groves to be cut down and 
burnt, and the vestiges of idolatry to be removed. This 
must chiefly be the work of the ministers of the gospel. It 
must be performed by their instrumentality and not by 
force and violence. Oh, that God would raise up a number 
of Josiahs, for this important purpose, who would go throur^h 
thp land, and at least begin the work of purging it from its 
defilement. But we know that he will raise up and send 

5* 



54 DISS»RTATlOIf OW, &©. 

them foith in their proper time; and therefore we may pe&i 
in hope. 

But every member of the household of faith is called to 
esert himself for the purification of the church. If there 
were not such a thirst after novelty; if there were not such 
ail immense multitude who have itching ears, who turn away 
from the truth, and are turned unto fables; there would not 
be such a strong temptation on the minds of preachers, to 
speak smooth things, and prophesy deceits; nor would they 
have such a strong inducement to invent false doctrines 
or false worship. If those few characters, who are tfee 
support and stability of every particular church, would 
set their faces against every human invention, and against 
those ministers who defile the house of God, for the purpose 
of pleasing the ignorant and thoughtless, because they are 
fashionable characters; they mi^ht be instruments of much 
orood in the great work of purifying the sanctuary. But if 
they are determined still to remain ** settled on their lees;" 
and too indolent to engage in this important work; we can 
only declare to them, that the work will be performed with- 
out their instrumentality; and that they shall be awaked 
from their slumber, by the cry, *♦ behold the bridegroom 
oometh;" when perhaps they shall find their lamps totally 
extinguished, and not a drop of oil to rekindle the flame. 
Then, with the foolish virgins, they shall say, ** Lord, 
Lord, open to us; but he shall answer them; verily I say 
Mnto you, I know you not; depart from me, ye workers of 
iniquity." 



PART I. DISSERTATION III- 

ON THE IX. OF DANIEL. 

"We may well conclude, from the prayers and fastings, and 
the deep humiliation of Daniel; from his steadfast and per- 
severing resolution in seeking this revelation, as well as 
from the manner in which it was communicated, that it is 
of much more importance than appears to the eye of super- 
ficial observation. It contains the most irrefragable proof 
that Messiah the prince is, and can be no other, than Jesus 
of Nazareth. Even the stubborn Jews, who are determined 
not to be convinced of the truth, let the evidence be as 
strong as it may, have tacitly admitted that this prophecy 
relates to him, and can relate to no other: for while the an- 
cient Jewish writers have agreed that Daniel should be rank- 
ed among the greatest of the prophets, because he not only 
foretold the events themselves, but also the time when they 
should come to pass; the more modern Jews, who have seen 
the use which has been made of the writings of Daniel in 
favor of Christianity, will scarcely allow him to have been 
possessed of the prophetic spirit. But this prophecy is the 
only one in the whole book which could tempt them to un- 
dervalue his character. This is, therefore, a plain proof of 
their conviction, that if the plenary inspiration of Daniel 
were admitted, they must also be obliged to admit that Jesus 
is the Christ. It may therefore be presumed, that as soon 
as the minds of the Jews shall be opened for the reception 
of the truth, this very prophecy will shine into their hearts, 
with a conviction which shall dispel every doubt, and re- 
move every objection to the reception of the Redeemer. 

But there are many other considerations which render 
this prophecy of immense importance to all mankind. If 
it were only admitted to have its proper influence on the 
minds of men generally, it would effectually silence the 
cavils of infidelity, and be one of the strongest grounds of 
confirmation to the faith of the christian. Messiah, the 
prince, was indeed expected by all the Israelites. They all 
believed that he should come and establish his kingdom in 
the world, and reign forever: but those that had a more par- 
ticular and accurate understanding of the prophecies, be- 
lieved also that he should first suffer death. This truth wa* 



56 DISSERTATION ON 

presented every day before their eyes, in the sacrifices, as 
well as in the writings of the prophets. But here is a pro- 
phecy, which points out and designates the very year in 
which Christ suffered death, and which was revealed to 
Daniel 570 years before it came to pass. 

It has pleased the great God of heaven, who works all 
things according to the counsel of his own will, and gives 
no account of his matters, to throw a certain degree of ob- 
scurity over the prophecies; so that they are not fully 
understood until the time of their accomplishment: and 
therefore the prophecies that have not yet been lully. ac- 
complished, although they give exercise to the faith of the 
christian, and while he takes heed to them, as to a light 
that shineth in a dark place, the day begins to dawn, and 
the day star to arise in his heart; yet, until they are accom- 
plished, they have little power to dispel the clouds of igno- 
rance and unbelief which darken the minds of men. But 
this prophecy, having received its accomplishment in every 
minute particular, is well calculated to impress the minds 
of all men with a full conviction of the truth of the whole 
scripture, and especially of the truth of the prophecies which 
are yet to be fulfilled. We shall show the force of this 
observation as we proceed. 

It is evident that the great object which Daniel had in 
view was the return of the Jews from their captivity in 
Babylon. He had carefully studied the prophecies of Jere- 
miah, and he found that the captivity was to be of seventy 
years' duration. This period was then drawing towards 
its close, and Daniel earnestly desired that God would fulfil 
the deliverance he had promised. He declares, " I set my 
face unto the Lord God, to seek, by prayer and supplications, 
with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes," ik,c. This appears 
to have been the course to which he had always accustomed 
himself, when he desired any particular favor. His object 
was not to merit a reward by his good works, but, on the 
contrary, to humble his heart, that he might be able to offer 
up acceptable worship. This prayer of Daniel breathes the 
deepest humility, the strongest feelings of devotion, and the 
highest sense of the majesty of God, which are to be found 
any where in the scriptures, the prayer of our Lord Jesus 
Christ excepted, which is recorded in the xvii. of John: but 
the most striking feature in it, is the sense of guilt derived 
from his national connexion. Daniel himself appears to 
have been faultless in his moral character. His enemies 
ftould bring no accusation against him, except that he made 



THE IX. OF DAKIEL. 57 

it his constant practice to praj and give thanks before his 
God three times every day. But here he confesses himself 
a sinner, and guilty of the sins for which Jerusalem was de- 
stroyed, and the nation carried into captivity. He justifies 
God in all his judgments, and asks only from his mercy, 
that his anger might be turned away from the city of Jerusa- 
lem, and the holy mountain of his God. We cannot sup- 
pose that the only object of solicitude was the restoration of 
his countrymen to their own land. No doubt this desire 
was in his heart; but his chief object was the restoration of 
true religion, and the accomplishment of the promises made 
to the fathers of the church. In order that these things 
might be brought to pass, it was necessary that the Jews 
sliould return to their own land, that Jerusalem should be 
rebuilt, and that the worship of God should be established 
and conducted according to the former manner, until the 
coming of the Messiah, who should make atonement for sin, 
and bring in everlasting righteousness. This was Daniel's 
desire, and without this desire he cannot be said to have re- 
ceived iin answer to his prayer. 

But he was so much beloved, that God sent the angel Ga- 
briel from heaven, as soon as he commenced his supplication. 
** It shall come to pass," says God, "that before ^-^Py call 
I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will' hear.*' 
This promise was fulfilled to Daniel, and shall be fulfilled 
to the whole church in the ages to come. •' Gabriel," whom 
Daniel had seen in the-foregoing vision, " being caused to 
fly swiftly) touched him about the time of the evening obla- 
tion." From this declaration concerning the swiftness or 
velocity of the angel Gabriel, we may infer that the third 
heaven, or the throne of God, is at an immense distance 
from the earth; that angels are sometimes sent; and that 
they fly with the velocity of light, to answer the petitions of 
those whom God loves. 

But let us consider the communication, which we shall 
first render literally from the Hebrew text. "Seventy 
weeks are determined on thy people, and on thy holy city, 
to shut up the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to 
cover iniquity by an atonement, and to bring in the righ- 
teousness of eternal ages, and to seal vision and prophecy, 
and to anoint the holy of holies. And do thou know, and 
learn instruction, that from the going forth of the decree to 
restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the ruler, 
shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: the streets shall 
be restored, and the ruins, even in the distress of the times* 



58 



DISSERTATION ON 



And after the sixty and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off; 
but not for himself. But the city and the sanctuary, the 
people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy, and the 
end of it shall be with an inundation; and until the end of 
the war, desolations are determined. And for one week, he 
shall establish the covenant with many, and in the midst of 
the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease; 
and on account of the rapid spreading of abomination, he 
shall make it desolate, even until the consummated and de- 
termined wrath shall be poured out on the desolate." 

Here we have a multitude of objects set before us, but the 
most prominent of all is the death of the Messiah, and the 
time when it should be accomplished. It is predicted that it 
should take place sixtj-nine weeks after the going forth of a 
certain decree, to restore and to build Jerusalem. It is 
scarcely neces.-ary to inform our readers that these are weeks 
of years, and that the sixty-nine weeks must be reduced to 
days, and each day put for a year. Does any one ask why 
God has chosen to make the communication in this manner, 
rather than to state the years explicitly. We ans'.ver we 
r.nnno^- +- ^^ ^-^'^ '^^^^ fact is Certain; for it isconfirmed by the 
event taking place at the end of 483 years, from the going 
forth cfjfhe decree to restore and to build Jerusalem. 

We must not confound this decree with the decree of 
Cyrus, which is recorded in the first chapter of Ezra, for 
this decree only gave the privilege to the Jews to go to Je- 
rusalem, and build the temple. It was merely a grant, that 
as many of the Jews as were so disposed, might return to 
their own country, and rebuild the temple of their God, that 
the golden and silver vessels which had been carried away 
bv Nebuchadnezzar should be restored, and that they 
should offer sacrifices and keep the solemn feasts as their 
fathers had done in ancient times. 

Nor is this the decree of Darius Hysdaspes, which is re- 
corded in the vi. of Ezra, and which is merely a revival of 
the decree of Cyrus. The Samaritans, their enemies, 
had made them cease from building the house of God, and 
it was not finished until the sixth year of the reign of Da- 
rius, which was seventeen years after the decree was issued 
by Cyrus. 

But the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem, was 
granted to Ezra by Artaxerxes Longimanus, seventy-three 
years after the decree of Cyrus. Ezra had full powers 
granted him, not only to establish the worship of God; but 
also to appoint magistrates and other officers, and to iutiict 



THE IX. OF DANIEL. 59 

punishment for crimes against the law of God. Under 
this decree, the rubbish was removed, and the wall of the 
city was built by Nehemiah, whom Artaxerxes afterwards 
appointed governor; and all the laws and ordinances, were 
finally carried into effect. But all these things were done 
amidst the distress of the times. They had enemies without, 
and enenues within. Some account of these distresses is 
given in the writings of Ezra and Nehemiah, and it was no 
aoubt seven weeks or 49 years from the time in which the 
decree was issued, until Jerusalem was restored, and the an- 
cient laws and ordinances carried into full execution. The 
reason why there is a distinction made between the 7 
weeks and the 62 weeks, was probably that some encourage- 
ment might be given to Ezra and Nehemiah, and their coad- 
jutors and successors in the work. It was foretold that 
those times, should be times of trouble; but notwithstanding 
the streets should be built, and the ruined places should be 
restored to their former condition, and that all should be 
finished in 49 years. Thus they were enabled to advance 
in their work, being assured of help from God. 

But it is still more important to inquire how the other 
parts of the prophecy have been fulfilled. From the chro- 
nology of the Persian kings, we know the time in which this 
decree was given, and it is pleasing to find that there are no 
essential differences of opinion on this subject among chro- 
nologers generally. We stated before, that Cyrus began 
his rei»n over the Persians in the first year of the fifty-fifth 
Olympiad, or in the year 559 before tKe christian era; and 
that in the year 550 he assumed the government of the 
united kingdoms of Media and Persia. This latter period 
is rendered remarkable by the vision contained in the fore- 
going chapter; and therefore ought to be kept in remem- 
brance; as these two prophecies will be found mutually to 
confirm the truth of each other. Cyrus did not enter on the 
government of Babylon until twenty-seven years after this 
period, and then lived but three years. He reigned forty 
years in all; ten years in Persia his native country, twenty- 
seven years over Media and Persia united, and three years 
over Babylon, the metropolis of the whole empire. Camby- 
ses, theson of Cyrus, reigned but a little more than seven 
years, and Smudis, who usurped the government, under 
the pretence of being the son of Cyrus, was put to death by 
the nobles of Persia, after he had reigned sis months : so 
Cambyses and Smudis reigned eight years. Then Darius 
Hjsdaspes reigned thirty-four years. * Xerxes, the son of 



60 DISSERTATION ON 

Darius, was assassinated by his uncle Artabanus in the 
twenty-first year of his reign; but he also soon shared the 
same fate: so Xerxes and x^rtabanus reigned twenty-one 
years. Then Artaxerxes, who issued this decree, succeed- 
ed to the throne, and the decree was given in the beginning 
of the seventh year of his reign, or after he had reigned, six 
years. This fully appears from the viii. of Ezra. We are 
told in the 31st verse, that Ezra and his company encamped 
at the river Ahava, which was their place of rendezvous, 
and they were detained for a number of days, waiting for 
their brethren, whom they expected, and after this, they de- 
parted from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first 
month, to go to Jerusalem. The decree of Artaxerxes was 
probably issued on the first day of the new year. We are 
therefore to add these numbers together, and subtract their 
sum from 550, in which Cyrus united the Median and Per- 
sian empires under his government, and' the result will, be 
the number of years which elapsed, between the going 
forth of this decree, and the first year of the christian era. 
The result is 451. But the Messiah was cut off at the Jew- 
ish passover, early in the year thirty-three. Hence we are 
to add thirty-two years to the former number; for it is said 
that this event should take place after the expiration of six- 
ty-nine weeks, or 483 years. The prophecy, therefore, is 
exactly accomplished: for the Lord Jesus Christ was cruci- 
fied in the 484th year, from the time in which the decree was 
issued. That the reader may see the whole calculation at 
one glance, we shall present it in the following form. 

Cyrus reigned over Media and Persia 
over Babylon 

Cambyses and Smudis reigned 

Darius Hysdaspes - - - 

Xerxes and Artabanus, - - - 

Artaxerxes Longimanus, before the > _ g 
decree was issued, \ ' 

Deduct - - . - 

From the year of the rise of the ram 



Elapsed before Christ was crucified 

483 
The degree of exactness is in fact most astonishing: for 
there is generally some difficulty in settling chronological 



9.7 years. 


3 


(( 


8 


(( 


34 


<( 


21 


«< 


6 


« 


99 




550 




451 

32 





THlE rX. OT DA^IKl. 61 

at^counts, when they are kept in this imperfect manner by 
the years of a king's reign. A king might commence his 
reign near the end of a certain year, and it might terminate 
early in the next. If therefore the chronologer is not very 
accurate in his calculations, he might say that this king 
reigned two years, whereas he might not have reigned one. 
But here the calculation is very short. It is a well authen- 
ticated fact, that Cyrus collected the scattered hordes of the 
Persians arid became their chief, made war against his grand- 
father, Astyages, and conquered him in the year 559 before 
the christian era. It is also well authenticated, that the 
Median and Persian kingdoms were united and consolida- 
ted under his government in the year 550, — that in the year 
523, he entered on the government of Babylon, over which 
he reigned three years, and was succeeded by his son, Cam- 
byses, &c. If we dispute these things, then, on the same 

f rounds, we ought to dispute the credibility of all ancient 
istory. But the truth of these facts is confirmed by the 
prophecy, the exact accomplishment of which must fill our 
minds with admiration, silence every sceptical thought, and 
show the hand of God, as clearly, as the handwriting on 
the wall appeared to Belshazzar and his guests. 

It is said, and perhaps on good authority, that the chris- 
tian era commences four years after the time in which Christ 
was born. But whether this be true or false, it will make 
no difference in the result of the calculation. It matters 
not where the era is fixed, we know that 32 years elapsed 
after it, before Christ was crucified; and that the first year 
of the fifty-fifth Olympiad corresponds to the year of this 
era, 559. All these numbers as they stand in ancient 
chronology, are reduced to their corresponding numbers, 
according to the present era; and hence every one must see, 
that wherever it is fixed, the result will be the same. 

The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in the first year of 
the seventieth week from the time in which the decree wer.t 
forth. Then iniquity was covered with an actual atone- 
ment. This was indeed the chief object for which the 
Redeemer came into the world. It was represented in tiie 
Mosaic dispensation by the mercy seat, which covered (he 
ark of the testimony; and the atonement is called the cover- 
ing for iniquity. Those who take their protection under 
the shadow of his wings, shall be covered from the wrath of 
God. But this covering is not like the robe of the hypo- 
crite, which conceals, under its fair appearance, a mass of 
deformity and corruption. All who receive it, become re- 

a 



62 DISSERTATION OW 

aHy righteous, and shall be accounted righteous through 
eternity. It not only justifies us in the sight of God, but 
sanctifies our hearts; and therefore it is called everlasting 
righteousness, or the righteousness of eternal ages.. 

But as there was atonement made for iniquity, and eternal 
righteousness brought in; so there was also at that time a 
shutting up or imprisonment of iniquity, and a sealing of 
sins. By these phrases, the shutting up of iniquity, and 
the sealing of sin, we are to understand principally the 
hori'ible effects which were then produced on the hearts of 
the Jews. As the prophet Jeremiah declares, ** the sin of 
Judah is written with a pen of iron, and the point of a dia- 
mond," &c. They were sealed up or confirmed in their 
sins. There were two remarkable and contrary effects pro- 
duced by the preaching of the apostles. Those who gladly 
received the word, had their sins forgiven, and received the 
everlasting righteousness: while the others were hardened 
and confirmed in their iniquity. They had, indeed, com- 
mitted the most enormous crime of which it is possible to 
conceive. No sin could be so great as that of crucifying 
the Son of God; and in this sense, transgression may then 
be said to have been finished, or brought to its perfection. 
But the former sense is the most consistent, and agrees best 
with the context. It is said, also, that he should confirm 
the covenant with many for one week. Here again there 
are two classes of the Jews brought into view. The one has 
the covenant confirmed with them. They are established 
in the faith of Christianity, in which they were formerly 
unestablished and fluctuating. We know that this was the 
condition of the apostles themselves. Even they were not 
confirmed in the faith of the gospel until after the resurrec- 
tion of Christ; and the same thing may be said concerning 
multitudes at that period. But with regard to the rest of 
the Jewish nation, they were shut up and sealed or confirm- 
ed in their iniquity: and in the middle of that week, the 
sacrifices and all the Mosaic rites and ceremonies lost their 
virtue. A short period was allowed in the forbearance of 
God, that ignorance might be enlightened and prejudice re- 
moved; and therefore the sacrifices did possess some virtue, 
and were offered with some acceptance, for a few years after 
Christ's resurrection: but ihey who still continued perverse, 
and refused to receive instruction after that period, no 
lonp-pr derived any spiritual benefit from their worship. 
Then all abominations spread rapidly among them, until 
they became fit for nothing, but the consuming fire of the 



THE IX. OF DANIEL. 63 

vengeance of God. Hence the city and the sanctuary were 
soon afterwards destroyed. This terrible destruction, the 
most terrible that ever was inflicted on any nation, is here 
clearly foretold. The wrath of God is represented as a 
flood/ or inundation, not of water, but of fire: and this is 
said to be poured forth on the desolate ruins of the city, 
that every thing might be utterly consumed. 

The last of the seventy weeks, or the first seven years 
after the resurrection of Christ, made a complete sejaration 
between the believing and the unbelieving Jews. The 
christians were confirmed in the faith of the gospel, wliile 
the hearts of the others were hardened. Hence it became 
useless to send amonfr them any longer the word of life: for 
they hated the truth, and would not hear it: and theref. r<; 
about seven years after the death of Christ, the apostle Peter 
was sent to Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and the Gen- 
tiles began to be favored with the word ot God. From that 
period the Jews were cut off, and the Gentiles were called 
to enjoy the privileges of the church. NVhen any one is utter- 
ly cut off from the divine influence, — when the spirit of God 
ceases entirely to operate on his heart, — that man rushes 
rapidly into iniquity. Hence we may form some conception 
of the horrible rapidity with which wickedness overspread 
the Jewish nation, after they were cut off from all communion 
with God. Their hearts were hardened in iniquity, and they 
gloried in their crimes. VV hen they suffered the most horri- 
ble calamities, their hearts were never softened. We see 
nothing like repentance or humiliation, in the history of that 
period of the nation. Every succeeding calamity hardened 
them more and more. They would listen to no tej ms of 
accommodation with their conquerors; until the city and the 
temple were utterly destroyed, their houses and lands sold 
to strangers, and the miserable remnant who escaped the 
sword, scattered into all tlie nations of the earth. 

But there is always a striking similarity between the 
judgments which God executes in different ages, when the 
subjects have a similarity of character. There are many 
things very similar, in the calamities brought on the Jews 
by the Chaldeans, and those which they suffered from the 
Romans. In both cases, the land was desolated, the chief 
city and the temple destroyed; multitudes perished by the 
sword, by the famine, and the pestilence; and the remnant 
was either carried into captivity, or scattered over the face 
«f the earth. It is this similarity in God's judgments, which 
makes the same scripture a^jplicable to the Jewish and the 



64 



DISSERTATIOIff ON 



christian church; and the same prophecies which have been 
fulfilled in the ages past, are again to be fulfilled in the ages 
to come. The prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ, con- 
cerning the calamities which fell on the Jews, the spreading 
of his gospel among the Gentiles, and the spiritual kingdom 
which he then established, are, in a short period, to be real- 
ized once more throughout the world. This prophecy which 
we have been considering, contains many great principles, 
which shall be brought once more into operation. Nay, 
some of it has already begun to be realized, although it is not 
generally understood. The analogy between the '-' cutting 
otf" of the Messiah, and the ** slaying of the witnesses," is 
striking and manifest. About the time of the death of Christ, 
there was scarcely a man to be found that knew the truth, 
or was endowed with moral courage to bear testimony to it: 
and at the present time, there is scarcely one who dares to 
lift up his voice against the errors and corruptions by which 
the christian church is now disfigured and disgraced. Some, 
indeed, are beginning to open their eyes, and see these abomi- 
nationsj and some are beginning to point them out to others. 
This shows the rise of the witnesses, and that God ''will con- 
firm his covenant" with many, for a short period, before he 
comes to visit the world with terrible calamities; or, as it is 
more clearly expressed in the xii. chapter of this book, " many 
shall be purified, and made white, and tried." So, on the other 
hand, the time is fast approaching, when " he will cause 
the sacrifice and the oblation to cease," by divesting every 
kind of ceremony, and every kind of religious worship, 
which he has not appointed, of all virtue, and all power to 
produce any spiritual benefit in the hearts of those by whom 
they are practised. There has truly been corruption in the 
church in all former ages; but those corruptions were not so 
great as to provoke the Almighty to withdraw his holy spirit 
entirely; and hence there nave been, and there may be 
found, at this day, true christians in churches that have de- 
parted far from the simplicity of the gospel : but the time is 
coming, when all such worship shall cease to be accepted of 
God, and shall have no power to purify the heart, or pro- 
duce any righteous and holy dispositions. Then every 
church that has any corruption in it, and refuses to be 
cleansed, will soon become a mass of moral putrefaction. 
Thus, *' the wicked shall still do wickedly, and none of th« 
wicked shall understand." " Babylon shall fall, and shall 
become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirj^t, 
amd the cage of every unclean and hateful bird." 



THIS IX. OT 'DANiEly, 65 

Hence it is easy to see, that there will be, as there is at 
present, a rapid spreading of abominations. Murders, 
thefts, and adulteries, and all those crimes that dissolve tlie 
bands of society, will increase, and become more common, 
every where through the christian worlds until, at length, 
God shall come in his judgments, and pour forth the torrents 
of his wrath, like devouring fire. We have seen how this 
pri)phecy was fulfilled in the times that are past; and we 
have seen how the records and the calculations ma<le by im- 
perfect and uninspired men, have been kept from error, and 
preserved by the hand of God, to bear testimony to tiie ac- 
complishment of prophecy. Profane or uninspired iiistory, 
where the authors ol it had no such design, confirms the 
truth of the word of God, — shows ^' that he has declared 
from ancient times the things that are coming and shall 
come,"—" that his counsel shall stand, and he will do all 
his pleasure." We have seen that this prophecy has been 
most accurately fulfilled, both with respect to the time of 
the events, and the events themselves. All of them took 
place, in the providence of God, just as he had said; and 
yet the actors in those scenes were not the less wicked. 
*' Jesus Christ, being delivered by the determinate counsel 
and foreknowledge of God, was by wicked hands crucified 
and slain." We have at this time the same reason to be- 
lieve, that similar wickedness is, and will be, committed, 
on a larger scale, every where through the christian world, 
— that similar abominations will spread rapidly, and that 
for these things God will spread ruin and desolation. Vi% 
have the very same reason to believe, that before this ger.e- 
ration shall pass, all these things shall be fulfilled, that the 
Jews had to believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ on 
this subject, when they were related by the apostles. They 
were enabled to confirm their testimony by miracles: Daniel 
has confirmed his testimony by a more sure word of pro- 
phecy, which has been in fact accomplished. He has told 
us that the Messiah should be cut off' sixty-nine weeks of 
years after a certain event, which was also foretold. We 
know that the decree was issued, and that the event has 
taken place, exactly at the time mentioned. He has told 
us, by the same authority, that God will bring tremendous 
judgments on the world, and cleanse his sanctuary from 
abominations, about the year 1850. Each of these prophe- 
cies, therefore, rests on the same foundation: as the one has 
been accomplished, so, no doubt, the other will be aGCo:u- 
plished at the time appointed. 

6* 



66 DISSBRTATIOIf Oif^ &0. 

T!re Jewish sanctuary was, in the first place, polluted by 
the inventions or traditions of men, whicn they introduced 
m the room of the word of God. They provoked him to 
wi";er with these works of their hands; and at length he not 
onry ceased to pay any attention to worship which was min- 
gled with human inventions, but even the ordinances of his 
own appointment, the sacrifice and the oblation, ceased to 
be accepted, — to have any powder to purify the heart, or to 
excite any holy affections; and they who still adhered to 
these things, not only ceased to be acceptable to God, but 
their worship became an abomination, and they were visited 
with terrible judgments, until they were destroyed. It is 
obvious, that, at the present day, there is a multitude of 
similar abominations, not only in the church of Rome, but 
in many protestant churches: and there is no church, that 
has any great degree of influence in the world, that is en- 
tirely free from them: for the fashions of the world are 
always ai variance with the simplicity of the gospel. But 
we may rest assured, that where any human inventions are 
engrafted into the worship of God, in such a way that they 
cannot be laid aside, or where men are determined to ad- 
here to them, and risk all the consequences, there God 
will cleanse his sanctuary by desolating judgments. This 
is a solemn and serious call to all that worship God, to exa- 
mine their worship, their principles, and their moral prac- 
tices: for when God comes to destroy every kind of corrup- 
tion out of his church, and out of the world, he will certainly 
destroy those who defile the temple of God. 

There are some diseases which affect the vital parts of 
the corporeal system, and which, in defiance of all medical 
skill, will at last bring gangrene and death; but there are 
others which may be removed by proper remedies: so, in 
churches and individuals, there are fatal errors, and errors 
which may be rectified. If we have the life-blood of Chris- 
tianity flowing uncorrupted in our hearts, our minds will 
of course be open to conviction: and when we come to the 
knowledge of our errors, we shall immediately forsake them. 
Hence the importance of self-examination, and of speaking 
^very man the truth to his neighbor. Hence, also, the ne- 
cessity for the diligent study of the word of God. It is thus 
that our hearts may be purified, the corruption removed out 
of our churches; and the judgments of God averted from 
fjur persons, our families, our congregations, and the land 
k wl)ich we dwell. 



PART I. DISSERTATION IV. 

ON THE XII. OF DANIEL. 

There is something in the appearance and the words of 
this glorious personage, vvhose appearance is described in 
the 5th and 6th verses of the x. chapter, which bears a stri- 
king resemblance to the vision of John, recorded in the x, 
of Revelation. Daniel was walking on the bank of the 
great river Hiddekel, which is now better known by the 
name of Tigris, and which unites with the Euphrates, not 
very far from the site of an^cient Babylon. ** Then," says he, 
** I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold, a certain 
man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold 
of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face 
as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of 
fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished 
brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multi- 
tude." It does not ajDpear that this glorious personage 
made these communications to Daniel with his own mouth, 
but by an angel: and when the angel had finished, Daniel 
looked, and behold, there stood two persons, one on each 
side of the river; and one of them asked the man clotlied in 
linen, who was on the waters of the river, how long 
shall it be to the end of these wonders? This personage 
** then held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, 
and sware by him that liveth forever, that it should be for a 
time, times, and an half: and when he shall have accomplish- 
ed to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things 
shall be finished. " In the x. of Revelation, the angel swears 
*' that time should be no longer: but that, at the sounding 
of the seventh trumpet, the mystery of God should be finish- 
ed, as he had declared to his servants the prophets. " The 
finishing, or accomplishment, therefore, of these wonders, 
shall be immediately after the sounding of the seventh trum- 
pet, or at the end of the time, times, and an half, when th« 
power of the holy people shall be scattered. 

The power destined to perform this work of scattering or 
dispersing the power of the holy people, is described in the 
xi. chapter of Daniel. '' They shall pollute the sanctuary 
of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they 
shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. " This is 
the power which is said to reign for a time, and times, and 



68 DISSERTATION ON 

half a time, and which is particularly described in the vii. 
and viii. chapters of Daniel, and the xiii. of Revelation. 
Bj the holy people, we are therefore to understand, tlie 
two witnesses described in the xi. chapter of Revelation. 
They are said to prophesy in sackcloth for 1260 years; and 
at the end of this period to be slain, and their bodies cast 
into the streets. It is by no means difficult to see how the 
power of these holy people is to be scattered. The accom- 
plishment is before our eyes at this moment. It is no other 
than the dispersion of the power of the true church of God, 
by splitting and dividing it, into sections and parties, which 
are at war among themselves. It is very certain, that the 
witnesses can be found only in the protestant churches. 
There are none of them in the church of Rome: for no man 
can continue in the communion of that church, who opposes 
her corruptions. But the religion of protestants is also, at this 
time, so much corrupted, and the inventions of men have so 
much induence on the minds of almost all of them, that if any 
one shows his disapprobation of these things, and bears testi- 
mony against them, he is soon excluded from their communion, 
and his testimony is lost. The ministers of one sect will, 
indeed, frequently be found declaiming against the errors of 
other sects; but whatever may be their true motives, they 
are generally supposed to have no other object in view, but 
the increase of their own party. In such a state of affairs, 
the truth can have little force, by whomsoever it may be 
delivered: for whenever it is suspected that a minister of 
the gospel has some selfish end in view, when he speaks 
against the errors of other churches, the effect of his preach- 
ing will be weakened in proportion to the strength of the 
suspicions. But in the present state of the churches, no 
minister can escape this suspicion. We are obliged to ap- 
pear under the banners of some sect, or else we can have no 
opportunity of bearing our public testimony to the truth; 
and it only remains with us, when w^e enter on the ministry, 
to choose that sect which appears to us to have the fewest 
corruptions in it, or is the least removed from the apostolic 
standard. It is very probable, that no church is at this time 
entirely free from corruption: but still they are so much 
biassed and prejudiced in favor of that particular party to 
which they have attached themselves, that the corruption is 
concealed from their own eyes, and they cannot bear to see 
it brought to light by those of another party. 

For this dreadful disease, no effectual remedy has evej- 
been discovered. It seems to be perfectly beyond the 



THE XII. O* DAXIEL. 69 

power and skill of all our spiritual physicians. Manj, in* 
deed, have attempted to heal the breaches of Zion; but the 
medicine has proved ineffectual, and thej have proved to be 
physicians of no value. Many have healed the wound 
slightly, and cried peace, peace, when there was no peace. 
This is palpably the fact with respect to the charity which 
is so much applauded and extolled in these latter years. It 
is the most pernicious of all the pretended remedies, because 
it gives a manifest advantage to those who corrupt the wor- 
ship of God. Our Lord Jesus commanded his disci- 
ples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees: and what was 
this leaven, but false doctrines and human inventions in 
worship? But this modern charity leads all who are under 
its influence, to place themselves in circumstances in which 
they cannot guard against corruption. The apostle is very 
precise, and exceedingly minute, in directing the churches 
of Rome and Corinth how they ought to conduct themselves, 
with respect to their heathen neighbors, who might invite 
i^)em to their feasts. He exhorts them to be exceedingly 
careful, lest any thing in their appearance or behavior 
might be construed into an approbation of false worship. 
But in this age, christians have no difficulty in joining them- 
selves to churches, where the worship is known to be cor- 
rupted. This is the ett'ect of modern charity. I'hus the 
pretended remedy has proved to be much worse than the 
disease^ and there is hardly a ray of hope that any cure will 
be effected, until God comes in his tremendous judgments, 
and the hail shall sweep away every refuge of lies. 

These facts, which we have all seen, are " the slaying of 
the witnesses," and " the scattering of the power of the 
holy people." We have seen, in our dissertations on the 
former chapters, that there is only a short period left for 
tiie " cleansing of the sanctuary." If the abominations 
are to be removed out of the churches about the year 1850, 
or even before the end of the present century, it will require 
such an operation of divine power, as has not yet been ma- 
nifested to the eyes of men. But even now, amidst the 
**wide spread desolations of Zion," and the ''dispersion 
of the power of the holy people," we may see evident symp- 
toms, that God has already begun to work a remedy, and 
that the cure will be performed in no very distant period, 
as it respects the union of " the power of the holy people." 
The very spirit of sect, by splitting, and dividing, and sub- 
dividing the churches, into so many minute parts, has ei- 
«ee<^n^ly weakened its own power. That fascinating 



70 DISSERTATION OM 

energy, by which large and powerful combinations of men 
have been enabled to attract the common mass, the ostenta- 
tious display, and the pomp and splendor of religion, have 
even now, in some measure, lost their influence. Men are 
now beginning to open their eyes, if not to discern the truth, 
yet to see the errors into which they have been led. We 
may therefore hope, that where error is developed, truth will 
soon make its appearance, and not be long without its influ- 
ence, at least on the hearts of the true disciples of the 
Redeemer. 

There is a seeming discrepancy between the two declara- 
tions of this personage, who stood on the waters of the river: 
but it will immediately vanish by a little investigation. 
He declares, in the first place, that this iniquitous power 
slmuld continue to reign for 1260 years, and then should 
accomplish his design, of " scattering the power of the holy 
people:" and secondly, he declares, that from the time that 
the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination 
that maketh desolate set up, would be 1290 years. The 
meaning is, that at the end of the 1260 years, the witnesses 
should be slain,, or the power of the holy people scattered; 
and in 30 years afterwards, the sanctuary should be cleans- 
ed. The bodies of the witnesses are said to lie in the streets 
for three days and a half, and afterwards to rise and ascend 
to heaven. We cannot, therefore, expect, that in a shorter 
period than thirty years, all these things could be accom- 
plished. The scattered power of the holy people must be 
brought together, and operate with effect in cleansing the 
sanctuary. Tills blessed work, although, like ail the other 
works of Providence, it wUl be effected by the divine power, 
yet it will be performed by the hands of men. Asa, Jeho- 
shaphat, Josiah, and even Jehu, were instruments, in the 
hand of God, for the performance of this work in their times. 
But the work, in our times, will not be performed by the 
civil governors of the world. They have so long corrupted 
the church, that the honor of cleansing it will not be confer- 
red on them. It will be purified by the holy people, or the 
witnesses, after they shall have risen. They alone shall 
have the honor of it. This is represented by their ascend- 
ing up to heaven in a cloud, in the presence of their enemies. 
Heaven is the emblem of God's sanctuary on the earth, after 
it is cleansed and made honorable. This work will be ac- 
complished, to a certain extent, in 1290 years after the first 
origin of the v/itnesses: at the end of 1260 years from this 
period, they are slain, and then they rise and enter on 



THE XII. OF DANIEL. 7t 

their proper work, and enjoy their honors in the house 
of God. 

From this view of the subject, we shall be able to see the 
force and truth of the declaration, " blessed is he that 
waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five 
and thirty days." This plainly refers to the Millennium, 
which shall take place 45 years after '' the cleansing of the 
sanctuary." W hen the images are broken, the groves cut 
down, the altars for idolatry removed, and defilement of 
every kind cast out of the temple, the work of reformation 
has only cnminenced. It will be a work of time, to bring 
the world to the true worship of God. Even after this peri- 
od, there will be powerful opposition to the truth. Forty- 
five years, after the cleansing of the sanctuary, will be spent 
in warfare between the church and her adversaries. But 
on her part, it will no longer be a struggle for existence. 
It will be a contest for victory. — Not the war of the beast 
against the witnesseSjbut the war of Christ against the beast; 
and it will issue in his final ruin, and the ruin of all who sup- 
port his cause. Then Satan shall be bound a thousand 
years, and the saints will receive the kingdom, and possess 
it forever. Thus the man will indeed be blessed, who waits 
and comes at length to the end of this period; for afterwards 
there will be universal and permanent peace. ''The wolf 
and the lamb shall feed together; and the lion shall eat straw 
like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They 
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the 
Lord." 

This last period, when the power of the holy people is 
scattered, is the time when Michael shall stand up, the 
great prince who stands up for the criildren of the people of 
Daniel. It is astonishing, that any one should ever have 
supposed Michael to be merely the guardian angel of the 
Jews. There is not the smallest foundation in scripture for 
this doctrine of particular guardian angels; and the belief 
of it naturally leads to idolatry. God gives his angels 
charge over his people; but we have no authority for suppo- 
sing that any individual, or any nation, has a particular 
guardian angel. We are also to bear in mind, that this is* 
not Michael the archangel, but Michael the great prince; and 
is no other than the Son of God. The "standing up" of 
Michael is intended to convey the same truth, which is pre- 
sented in the xi. of Revelation, where the elders are repre- 
sented as falling on their faces before the throne, and saying, 



ra DISSBRTATION OV 

** We thank thee, Oh Lord God Almighty, who art, and 
wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken unto 
thee thy great power, and hast reigned." It is the period 
immediately after the rise of the witnesses; and Michael 
stands up, not in behalf of the Jews only, but of all the true 
servants of God. 

There is here, no doubt, an allusion to the final judgment, 
as there is in many other prophecies, where temporal judg- 
ments are the objects immediately set before the mind. 
Such is the description in the vii. chapter, to which the 
attention of the reader has already been called. In this 
description, we may see the doctrine of the final judgment, 
although the immediate subject is the terrible scenes which 
shall be realized before " the beast shall be slain, and his 
body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." In this 
chapter, we may also see the doctrine of the last judgment, 
although it relates immediately to the scenes which shall 
soon be realized. There is to be ** a time of trouble, such 
as never was since there was a nation, even to that sam« 
time. " He refers to this time, when he declares by the pro- 
phet Isaiah, "the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and 
the year of my redeemed is come. And I will tread down 
the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my furyj 
and I will bringdown their strength to the earth." Thus 
he also declares in the " song of Moses:" '* The Lord shall 
judge his people, and shall repent himself for his servants, 
when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is nona 
shut up or left." Some idea of this time of trouble may be 
obtained, from considering the sufterings of the Jews, from 
the time in which they rejected and crucified the Lord Jesus 
Christ, until Jerusalem was destroyed. The Redeemer 
declared, that in those days there showld be afliliction, such 
as was not from the beginning of the creation until that 
time, nor ever should be afterwards. But those judgments 
affected but a small portion of mankind. The Jews were 
the only, or at least, the chief sufferers. But these shall be 
times of trouble over the whole christian world. The suf- 
ferings will not, perhaps, be so intense, nor so horrible^ but 
they will be much more extensive. In this sense, no times 
of trouble that are past, will compare with these future 
scenes of wo. 

But the true servants of God have the promise of deliver- 
ance. " At that time, thy people shall be delivered, every 
one that shall be found written in the book." Christians 
i^ust not expect to escape this tribulation entirely. Thpy 



TfTE XII. OF DAKIBL- 75 

shall all have their portion of it. But a way of escape 
shall be opened to every one of them. Such was the case 
at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. When the 
war commenced, there were many myriads of them in the 
land of Judea; and no doubt there were many thousands 
in the city of Jerusalem, when it was first encompassed 
by the besieging army: but they all escaped, because "the 
Lord had commanded them to flee for their lives; and he 
opened for every one of them a way of escape. So, in the 
troubles which are coming on the world, all shall be deli- 
vered whose names are written in the book of life. 

But there will be some signal judgment, or series of judg- 
ments, by wliich God will bring the world to the knowledge 
of their real condition. If any one will carefully review 
the scenes of his life, he will generally find, that before he 
fell into any severe affliction, he had been for some time in 
a state of carnal security. There is a kind of comfortable 
stupor, that spreads itself over the mind. We are apt to 
neglect the duties which we owe to God; or, if we do not 
neglect them entirely, to perform them in a formal, thought- 
less manner; not giving ourselves much trouble about futu- 
rity, but enjoying the present, and making the world our chief 
source of pleasure, until we are awakened from this torpid 
state by some afflictive dispensation, which calls us to con- 
sider our ways. This is not only the case with individuals, 
but with churches and with nations. Hence, when God 
comes to execute his judgments, he finds us sleeping. To 
show us this truth, the Redeemer uttered the parable of the 
wise and foolish virgins, who took their lamps, and went 
forth to meet the bridegroom. This will be the condition of 
all classes of mankind, in this latter dispensation. He 
shows us, every wherein his word, that his coming will be 
sudden and unexpected. *' As it was in the days of Noah, 
and the days of Lot, so shall it be when the son of man is 
revealed." This suddenness of his coming, will not arise 
so much from the rapidity with which the judgments shall 
come, as from the dormancy of the minds of men at that 
period. They have every reason to expect some tremen- 
dous judgments, but they will not turn their attention to the 
subject. They are engaged in the pursuits of the world, 
and the warnings have no influence on their minds. They 
pass away like an idle tale, and are forgotten. Such, in 
fact, is the moral condition of the world at this present pe- 
riod. Almost every intelligent man will confess that some 
terrible scenes are at hand. The statesman, reasoning from 
7 



74 DISSERTATION 0» 

the moral aspect of the world, and the things that hare come 
to pass in similar circumstances, agrees in opinion with 
those who reason from the prophecies. But who is there, 
that is wide awake to the true knov/ledge and feeling of his 
condition? The churches, at this moment, are generally 
like the virgins in the parable, sleeping while the bridegroom 
tarries; or, as it is here expressed by the prophet, " sleeping 
in the dust of the earth." 

But they shall soon be awakened by some tremendous ex- 
plosion. Some terrible display of the divine indignation will 
break their slumbers, and strike terror into their hearts. 
Then, like the virgins, they shall begin to trim their lamps; 
but many will find their lamps entirely extinguished, and no 
oil to rekindle the flame. Others that have had a large 
supply of the *' oil of gladness," will find their light and 
comfort revived and invigorated, and shall enter with the 
bridegroom to the marriage feast. Then the moral condi- 
tion of mankind, after this signal judgment shall have taken 
place, will be a true indication of their eternal condition. 
This can easily be conceived, without resorting to miracles. 
When Abraham and Isaac lived among the Philistines, it 
was plainly seen by all, that God blessed them* When the 
ark of God had remained but three nwnths in the house of 
Obed-Edom, it was plain to be seen that God had blessed 
his house. So, amidst these latter judgments, one part of 
mankind shall evidently enjoy the blessing of God, on their 
basket, their field, and their store, &c., while the other shall 
as evidently suffer under his curse. This blessing and this 
curse shall continue forever. After this period^ tTiere shall 
be no repentance for the wicked. They shall indeed *' blas- 
pheme God on account of their pains and their sores, and 
gnaw their tongues for pain; but they shall not repent of 
their deeds." But the true servants of God shall reap a 
harvest of joy, in the room of their sorrows; for God will 
honor them in this world, as well as through eternity. Thus 
ma-ny of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; 
some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting 
contempt. 

But the greatest share of blessedness and honor shall fall 
to the lot of those, who have had so much wisdom as to study 
and understand the word of God, so that they can use it, 
not only for their own instruction, but for the benefit of 
others. '' They that be wise shall shine as the brightness 
of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, 
as the stars, for ever and ever. Wisdom is knowledge 



THE XII, OF DAKIEL. 75 

brought into action. A wise man is one who thinks and acts 
wisely. But there is certainly no wisdom in the general 
conduct of mankind, in these eventful times. When great 
and dreadful judgments are hovering over them, and the fu- 
rious storm ready to burst upon their heads, they still con- 
tinue in their accustomed course, and never take the trouble 
to examine whether their condition be dangerous or not. 
True wisdom would consist in laying the subject to heart, 
and making preparation to meet the judgments of God. 
** Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this; that 
they would consider their latter end." 

Still there are some, scattered here and there over the 
surface of society, whose hearts are actuated by true v/isdom. 
God never leaves the world entirely destitute of such cha- 
racters; and there are no doubt many, at this period, who 
will see the coming danger, and warn their fellow men. 
There are indeed many of these characters asleep at this 
present moment; and there are none who are so watchful 
as they ought to be: but when this terrible explosion shall 
take place, they who are wise will bestir themselves, 
and enter diligently on their duty. God has provided for 
them the highest encouragement. Their condition in this 
world, during the coming calamities, and their condition 
through eternity, is represented by the brightness which 
appears in the heavens when the sun is about to rise, and 
by tlie stars when no clouds are to be seen. This is the 
same truth which was presented to John in the Revelation, 
where the witnesses ate said to ascend to heaven in a cloud, 
in the presence of their enemies. 

We may learn, from this subject, an important and com- 
fortable truth, that in these latter days, many shall be turn- 
ed to righteousness by the labors of the wise: and this truth 
is further evident from the numerous false conversions which 
have taken place in the times just past. We scruple not 
to call them false conversions, because they were merely a 
change from one error to another, and their fruits, in some 
time afterwards, are generally a sufficient evidence of their 
want of truth. But these things are always to be expected, 
previous to a real and genuine revival of religion. In this 
way, the grand deceiver always endeavors to obstruct the 
progress of the true gospel. The time, therefore, is not far 
distant, when many shall be turned from the error of their 
ways; and they who shall be the instruments of their con- 
version, shall save many souls from hell, and shall hide a 
multitude of sins. They shall therefore be honored as the 



re 



BISSBSlTJiTIOir 0J» 



instruments of much good to mankind, and shall shine in 
the churches, like the stars in tlie expanse of the heavens. 

Daniel was commanded to shut up the words, and seal 
the book, until the time of the end. It was not to be under- 
stood in his days; for the understanding of it would then 
have been of little benefit. But now the seal is loosed, and 
the book is open for the instruction of all. There has been 
a wide spreading of knowledge, since the days of Daniel. 
The Messiah came and was cut off, according to his predic- 
tion. The gospel was sent through the world; and as the 
light was diffused, the human mind gradually opened and 
expanded, the moral and natural sciences were cultivated, 
and commercial intercourse was carried to greater and 
greater extent, age after age. Thus "mfiny have run to 
and fro, and knowledge has increased." We have a proof, 
from this fact, that the time in which we live, is the time of 
the end: for the meaning is, that the facilities for the attain- 
ment of knowledge, should be multiplied by means of com- 
merce: and we have now the amplest means of obtaining 
every kind of information. Such, indeed, is the immense 
number and diversity of interesting subjects, which crowd 
themselves on the minds of men, that they have int time to 
pay sufficient attention to them all. Thus a light and 
superficial habit of thinking has been introduced every 
where through the civilized world. They are not accus- 
tomed to enter deeply into any kind of study; and above all, 
they are not willing to endure the intense and protracted 
labor, which is necessary for the right understanding of the 
scriptures. This superficial habit of thinking is one of the 
great' obstacles which at present impede the progress of 
Christianity. There is always great difficulty experienced 
in changing habits which have become inveterate, and there- 
fore a powerful excitement is required. There is, in fact, 
a necessity for some terrible judgments, in the first phice, 
to call the christian world to a sense of their duty. Then 
*'many shall be purified, and made white, and tried." 
Those that are deeply contaminated by sin are never puri- 
fied, except in the furnace of affliction. We seldom see 
any one truly and resolutely determining to fors^ake the 
error of his ways, until he is brought to it by the afflictive 
dispensations of Providence. It is only " when the judg- 
ments of God are abroad in the earth, that the inhabitants 
of the world will learn righteousness." The word which is 
here rendered triedy signifies the process by which gold and 
silver are refined. The metal must be melted in the furnace. 



THE XIU OF DANIEI.. 77 

and the dross separated from it; and the process must be 
frequently repeated bcf(5re it becomes thoroughly pure. 
Thus it will require a series of awful judgments to purify 
the hearts of many, who have still some of the precious 
metal of tiue Christianity. God has promised, that in these 
latter days, he will pour on the house of David, and on the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplica- 
tions; and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, 
and mourn for it, as one mourneth for an only child. 
They shall mourn apart, or separately, the one from the 
other. They slmll mourn in silence and in secret, and shall 
pour the complaints, with godly sorrow and contrition, into 
the bosom of their heavenly father. Then God will open a 
fountain for sin and for uncleanness. This is the method he 
will pursue with his people, when he comes to establiyh his 
kingdom in these latter days. 

But these judgments will operate, with n^good influence, 
on tlie minds of those who are destitute of christian princi- 
ple. '* The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the 
wicked shall understand." The description which God 
gives of the wicked, and which answers to every one of 
tliem, is, " that they hate instruction, and cast the words of 
God behind their back. " Every righteous man has a strong 
desire after the knowledge of God, and he hates "the in- 
struction that causeth to err." So far from casting the word 
af God behind his back, he sets it continually before his 
^es, and endeavors to understand it He says with the 
Psalmist, 

Thy word is to my feet a lamp. 

And to my path a light. i 

It is, in truth, a proof of great wickedness, to despise and 
cast aside, from its proper use, any part of the word of God^* 
and nvany will be charged with this kind of conduct, who 
have no knowledge nor suspicion of their guilt But this is 
the great reason of that ignorance of some parts of the word 
of God, which, amidst abundant facilities of knowledge, is 
so lamentably conspicuous among mankind. The prophetic 
parts are not understood, because they are cast aside and 
neglected, under the impression that they are not sufficiently 
intelligible to weak minds, and the knowledge of them not 
necessary to salvation. The Psalms of David, which con- 
tain the very substance and marrow of the gospel, are cast 
out of the churches, under the false notion, that they are 
oot properly fitted for gospel worship. There are, in fact, 
not a few who undervalue, and cast behind their backs, the 



78 DISSERTATION OW 

whole of the Old Testament, because they think the religion 
it inculcates is not so pure as that of the New Testament 
To these numerous classes of professing christians, who 
cast some parts of the word of God behind their back, we 
may add all who reject any of the fundamental doctrines of 
the 2;ospel: such as the doctrine of salvation through the free 
and sovereign grace of God, according to his eternal purpose; 
the doctrine of the atonement; of the trinity in unity, &c. 
Again, we may add to these, the vast number who are en- 
tirely negligent of the word of God and the ordinances of 
the gospel; who love the world, and the things of the world, 
with supreme affection. How horribly large, then, is the 
number who will not understand, when God comes to exe- 
cute his judgments. 

Truly every penitent sinner shall understand, although 
he may have jj;one far in the course of iniquity. No such 
character shall be classed among the wicked. But we can- 
not hope, th.at those who do not love the instruction which 
comes immediately from God, but cast the bible, or some 
part of it, or some doctrine contained in it, behind their 
backs, will pay any attention to the warnings of their fellow 
Hien. They have already refused to drink at the fountain, 
and it is not very probable they will choose to drink from 
the stream below; unless, indeed, it should be rendered 
more palatable by some ingredient of human inventiorv. 
But if there were such a spirit in the christian church, as 
has frequently been found in the church of old, by which 
they were led to attend to the words of the prophets, and to 
humble themselves under the hand of God: if there were 
e<en such a spirit as that which actuated the hearts of the 
Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah, when every one cover- 
ed himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes, while bs 
poured forth his humble supplication to God, entreating 
him to save the city from the judgment which had been 
threatened, — then, indeed, we might hope for a reversal, or 
at least an alleviation, of the terrible judgments which are 
denounced against the christian world. 

Surely it must be the height of folly, as well as wicked- 
ness, to treat the word of God, or any part of it, with neglect- 
When our words are treated fn this manner, we feel the 
indignity. A father will not suffer his children to neglect 
bis vvords with impunity: much less can we suppose that the 
o-reat Father of creation will suffer himself thus to be insult- 
Mt] by any of his creatures, and not show any evidence of 
disapprobation. But as a wise cliild will attend to the words 



THE XII. OF DANIEL. 79 

of his father, so all who are possessed of true wisdom, will 
carefully and diligently attend to the words of God. Th* 
prophecies give the mor^t ample evidence of the eternal pow- 
er and Godhead. No man ever studied and understood the 
prophecies, and still continued to be an infidel or sceptic. 
This is as impossible, as for a man not to be convinced of the 
truth of an event, which passed under his own observation. 
The student of the prophecies has the strongest evidence 
possible, of the truth of God's revelation. Hence it is said, 
** Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words 
of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written there- 
in: for the time is at hand." This therefore characterizes 
the wise man in this age. From the light afforded to him, 
in the prophecies, he will see what is Goming;7and will not 
only make preparation for himself: but enlighten the minds 
of others who are willing to hear his words. This is the 
way in which the wise shall be enabled to turn many to righ- 
teousness. 

With these observations we conclude the first part of our 
work. The second part will contain a more particular 
development of the things contained in the prophecies of 
Daniel. Concerning the time of the events, we cannot be 
more particular than we have been: but we shall see that the 
prophecies of John are only a fuller and more lucid exhibi- 
tion uf the things we have already considered. 



EKD OF THE FIRST PART. 



PART II. DISSERTATION I. 

EXPOSITION OF THE SYMBOLS. 

The reader will be apprized, before he enters on the peru- 
sal of this part of the work, that our intention at present, is 
not to explain the whole book of Revelation: but only to 
elucidate some of those subjects contained in that book, 
which have a particular reference to the present and future 
times, until the commencement of the Millennium. We 
shall always keep in view '' the seven last plagues, or tiie 
vials of the wrath of God." But still, it is necessary, in 
order to have a consistent and clear view of this subject, to 
pay some attention to the grand machinery, (if one may so 
express it,) of this wonderful and astonishing system of reve- 
lation. God has here chosen a method of conveying the 
knowledge of truth, which embraces all the facilities and all 
the excellence, both of the ancient hieroglyphics, and of the 
no less ancient, but more improved method, of communica- 
ting by words. It is very possible, although it might be 
somewhat difficult, to exhibit a correct view of an impor- 
tant and striking event, without the use of any words what- 
ever: and it is well known, that the aborigines of America 
have entitely used this method of circulating, among their 
diiferent tribes, the knowledge of their battles, and warlike 
exploits. They had no written language to express the 
words of their different dialects; and they carved or painted 
on trees, or some lasting materials, certain figures or repre- 
sentations, the meaning of which was perfectly intelligible. 
This method of writing, or engraving, was much used by the 
Egyptians, (at one period the most learned nation in the 
world,) to communicate knowledge on the subject of religion; 
and therefore those figures were called hieroglyphics, or 
sacred sculpture. The principle of the ancient hieroglyph- 
ics runs through the whole of the book of Revelation; 
and we may see it particularly in the book with seven seals. 
Certain figures, or representations, were painted on the differ- 
ent rolls of parchment, and when the seals were broken, 
tliey were exhibited to the eyes of the apostle; and he 
describes merely what he saw. But there are many other 
emblems used besides those which were painted on parch- 



82 DISSERTATION OK 

ment. The heavens and the earth and sea, angels and men 
and beasts, the throne of God, the worship at the temple and 
the tabernacle, the various instruments used in that worship, 
the trumpets, the harps, the golden vials, the golden censers, 
the altar, the brazen sea, &c., are all brought forward and 
exhibited as emblematic representations; and such an ex- 
planation given of them in words, as is necessary to point 
out the truths intended to be communicated. 

The language of symbols, like all other languages maybe 
reduced within rules. We might form a grammar of this 
language as well as of any other: but it is very probable that 
the labor of forming such a grammar, would scarcely be 
compensated by the benefit. The best method of under- 
standing the meaning of the symbols used in the book of 
Revelation, is the diligent study of that book in connexion 
w^th the whole word of God. Therefore, in our exposition 
of the symbols, we shall rather consult common sense, and 
the general meaning attached to the same things, in the other 
parts of scripture, than any fixed grammatical rules of expo- 
sition. Heaven, for instance, when used as a symbol , gener- 
ally signifies some conspicuous part of the moral world: but 
it is also used to signify a class of mankind, whose affections 
are in heaven, and who are confirmed and established in 
the true worship of God. A star generally signifies a minis- 
ter of religion, or a body of ministers and other church 
governors, united in a presbytery: but the sun, moon, and 
stars, are frequently used to represent the civil government, 
including the ruling power on the throne, and all the subor- 
dinate officers, from the highest to the lowest. There is 
always some important and prominent feature in every sym- 
bol; and this feature considered in connexion with other 
things and circumstances, will always give the symbol such 
a particular aspect, that we may ascertain the object or 
event to which it looks. Thus in the symbols which we use 
in the sacrament of the supper, we discern the body and the 
blood of our lord Jesus Christ; and our minds, when they are 
fixed on these subjects, immediately enter into tlie great plan 
of salvation, and are carried through the whole system of re- 
deeming grace. So when we are enabled to discern the 
principal object set before us, in any of those prophetic sym- 
bols, the mind enters the great system of prophecy, and is car- 
ried through a long train of circumstances and events until 
it comes to the millennium, the judgment day, and the future 
state of heaven and hell. The view of one object always 
leads the mind to another and another; like a ray of light 



THE SYMBOLS. 83 

proceeding from the sun, which continues its course, and 
illuminates every object in its path, to the utmost verge of 
the system. 

The book of Revelation is not essentially different from 
the other prophecies contained in the word of God. The 
things which are represented by John, are also represented 
by the other prophets. In this we may see the wisdom and 
goodness of God. When two authors happen to M'rite on 
the same subject, or two ministers to preach on the same 
text, each of them will take his own particular view of the 
subject^ and explain it in his own way; but still the subject, 
although handled in a different manner by each, is the same 
subject, and will be much better understood by those who 
have read both authors, or heard both preachers, than if they 
had read or heard but one of them; so the prophets of the 
Old Testament, and the prophets of the New, bring forward 
the same subjects, and present them to our minds in differ- 
ent points of view, that we may the better understand them. 
The things which John saw and heard, were seen and heard 
by Daniel, and many of the other prophets. But what is 
still more important, and demands our particular attention, 
is, that the things which shall come to pass in these latter 
days, have already taken place in the times that are past. 
There is nothing entirely new under the sun. Every thing 
that is, or shall be, has been before; and the right under- 
standing of the truth is of great importance in the exposition 
of prophecy: for we are taught by it, never to look for the 
accomplishmentof any prophecy, beyond the range of events 
that have already taken place. To illustrate this truth, let 
us turn our attention, for a moment, to that remarkable 
prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ, recorded in the xxiv. of 
Matthew: " Immediately after the tribulation of those days, 
the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her 
light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers 
of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the 
sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the 
tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of 
man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and 
great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great 
sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect 
from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the 
other." This prophecy was accomplished in that genera- 
tion, or before those who were then actors on the stage of 
life had passed to another state: and the history of those 
times shows us the kind of accomplishment it received. In 



84 DISSERTATION OJT 

the first place, there was great distress and trouble ail over 
the Jewish nation, and indeed over all the Roman empire. 
There were great changes and revolutions in the moral world; 
and in the Jewish nation, especially, there was one of the 
most terrible convulsions that ever took place on the earth. 
Their government was entirely oveiturned; the civil and 
ecclesiastical polity altogether destroyed; the rulers were 
generally put to death, or carried into captivity; and the 
people scattered into all nations. It was thus the sun was 
darkened, and the moon ceased to give her light, &c. But 
these remarkable and terrible judgments, which were gene- 
rally known to have taken place as the accomplishment of 
prophecy, had a powerful influence in recommending the 
gospel to mankind. They appeared as a sign or omen of 
the approaching ruin of all who opposed or rejected the gos- 
pel. Thus the sign of the Son of man appeared in heaven. 
Earthly minded men, or those who had their affections 
placed on the world, beheld, with disappointment and pain, 
the destruction of their hopes. They saw that the gospel 
which they hated, must finally prosper and triumph, and that 
no weapon which was used against it should prosper: and 
thus the tribes of the earth mourned when they saw the Son 
of man coming, &c. The apostles, and other ministers of 
the gospel, had then great encouragement to go forth, and 
preach the glad tidings of life and salvation to all the na- 
tions of the earth; and by their instrumentality, God 
gathered his chosen people out of all tribes, and nations, 
and languages; formed them into christian churches, and 
gave them the spiritual blessings of his gospel. Thus he 
sent forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, &c. 
In addition to the ministrations of the apostles, and other 
ministers, no doubt God did actually send forth his angels 
to gather his elect. The angels are ministering spirits, sent 
forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation; 
and therefore we may believe there was a large number of 
them sent into the world at that period, and that God made 
use of them to bring his chosen people into the bond of his 
covenant. They often appeared to the apostles in dreams 
and visions, revealing the counsel of God, directing them in 
the path of duty, and giving them encouragement. This is 
one sense in which this prophecy has been fulfilled. There 
will be another remarkable accomplishment of it at the 
commencement of the millennium. In the first place, we 
are to expect days of tribulation and darkness. False 
prophets, and various seductive influeaces, are to operate on 



THE SYMBOLS. B5 

the minds of men, until the mass of the christian churches 
are led into errors, and blindfolded by deception. There 
are to be wars, and rumors of wars, nation rising against 
nation, and kingdom against kingdom: the civil and ecclesi- 
astical governments, signified by the sun, moon, and stars, 
and the powers of the heavens, shall then be shaken and 
dissolved. Then, again, the sign of the Son of man shall 
appear, and again the tribes of the earth shall mourn, when 
they shall see the true gospel, which they have been oppo- 
sing, and endeavoring to obstruct the influence of it, for 
the sake of honoring their own inventions, growing and in- 
creasing, and rising into influence and power; human plans 
and devices all rendered abortive, and nothing prospering, 
but what is stamped with the authority of God. This will 
be the cause of mourning and melancholy to multitudes, 
who are boasting of their success in the propagation of the 
gospel. But God will then send his true and faithful wit- 
nesses, whom he shall previously raise and qualify for this 
purpose, and they shall gather his elect, who are now scat- 
tered over the world. They shall all stand with the Lamb 
on Mount Zion, and sing the new song of praise, which no 
man can learn but themselves. Again, at the end of the 
world, the same scenes shall be reacted, and the prophecj 
shall be literally, and more gloriously fulfilled, than ever it 
was before. 

This is the sense in which we wish to be understood, 
when we say that the things described in the Revelation 
are not new, but have all, in some degree, been realized in 
other times. The forms in which they appear, may indeed 
be said to be new, because the circumstances of the world 
are very different from what they have been; and the same 
principles are to be applied in a different manner. But 
there is such a similarity in God's providential dispensa- 
tions, from age to age, that the same language can be used 
with propriety to describe the different events. Hence, 
when we know that any prophecy has been once fulfilled, 
we have also some knowledge of the way in which it will 
again be fulfilled. By every new accomplishment, there is 
a clearer light thrown on ihe future accomplishment; and 
thus, at the end of time, when the whole system shall come 
to a close, and the prophecies shall have been illuminated, 
from time to time, by repeated accomplishments, and shall 
have poured their increasing light on the closing scenes of 
the world, there will then be an astonishing display of the 
glory of God in the plan of redemption. 
8 



86 



DISSERTATIOJr OW 



The Revelation, considered a whole, has two jrreat sub- 
jects contained in it. The first subject of which it treats, 
is the state of the church in the dajs of the apostle. The 
condition of the seven churches of Asia, shows us the con- 
dition of the christian world in those days; and from the 
representation here given, we may learn how to form a cor- 
rect estimate of the state of religion in this or any other 
age. By these epistles, the spirit speaks to the churches at 
the present time, as well as to the churches of Asia; and he 
that has an ear to hear will hear it. 

But the second part gives us a view of the christian world, 
and the various dispensations of Providence with regard to 
the church, from the times nf the apostle, until after the 
judgment day. The Lord Jesus commanded the apostle to 
write the things which were revealed to him; both the state 
of the churches in that time, and the things which should 
take place afterwards. " Write the things which thou hast 
seen, and the things M'hich are, and the things which shall 
be hereafter." Or rather, as it ought to be rendered^ 
*^even the things which are, and the things which shall be 
after these things." So, in the fourth chapter, he tells uSs, 
that after he had seen those things which then existed in 
tiie church, a door v/as opened in heaven, and the first voice 
which he heard was like the voice of a trumpet, talking with 
him, and saying, *' come up hither, and I will show thee 
the things which shall be after these things. And imme- 
diately 1 was in the spirit." We have no evidence that his 
body was removed from the isle of Patmos; but the eyes of 
hi« mind were opened, and, like the prophet Ezekiel, by the 
river Chebar, he " saw visions of God." To be in the 
spirit, does not mean merely a spiritual or devotional frame;; 
but it represents the condition of the prophets, in which 
their natural faculties were all rendered unactive, like a 
person in a deep sleep, while their minds were spiritually 
illuminated, and they saw and heard somewhat similar to 
persons in a dream. The only diflerence between visions 
and dreams is, that in the one case, the natural faculties are 
locked up in sleep, and in the other, they are suspended ^ 
for the time, by a special operation of the spirit of God: 
while, in both cases, certain things are presented to the 
mind, and certain words are heard, of which there is after- 
wards a distinct recollection. 

The apostle beheld a thione set in the heaven; and he 
saw one sitting on the throne, who appeared transparent 
like the jasper, and red like the sardine or cornelian: and 



THB SYMBOLS. 87 

the throne w^s encircled with a rainbow of green, like the 
emerald. Around this highest and most remarkable throne, 
there were twenty-four thrones placed, and twenty-four 
elders, persons of mature years, who appeared to be officers 
of the church, were seated on them, clothed with white robes, 
and crowns of gold on their heads. Lightnings, and thun- 
ders, and voices, proceeded from the highest and most glori- 
ous throne; and there were seven lamps of fire burning 
before it, which represented the seven spirits, or the whole 
and perfect influences (;f the spirit of God. He beheld 
before the throne, a sea of glass, like the molten sea which 
was used in the temple for the priests to wash in; but it was 
solid and clear like crystal: while in the midst of the 
tijrone, and round about it, he saw four living creatures, 
who were full of eyes btfore and behind. The first of 
these living creatures had the appearance of a lion; the 
second was like a calf, or young ox; the face ot the third 
was similar to that of a man; and the fourth was like a flying 
eagle. Every one of these livin;^ creatures had six wings, 
and even in the inner side of their wings they were full of 
€Nes; and (hey were engaged, day and night, praising God, 
without any cessation. The apostle observed, that while 
these living creatures were ascribing glory, and honor, and 
thanks, to him who sat on the throne, the twenty-four elders 
fell down and worshipped him, and cast their crowns before 
t]\^ throne, saying, " thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive 
glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, 
and for thy pleasure they are, and were created." 

The apostle beheld, in the right hand of him that sat on 
the throne, a book, or rather a roll of parchment, consisting 
of seven pieces, each of which was sealed. The form of 
ancient books was very different from the books of modern 
times. The parchment, or whatever was used for writing 
on, was covered on both sides with the writing, and then 
rolled up and sealed: then another written pi^ce was rolled 
on the former, and sealed. Hence we may have some 
tolerable idea of the appearance of this book. It seemed 
to be written within, and on the back side, or that side 
which was farther from his view: and he saw the seals 
hanging out at the end of every roll. Then he saw and 
heard a mighty angel, crying with a loud voice, " Who 
is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seven seals of 
itf" No one could be found, who was worthy to do this; 
and the apostle was so much affected by this circumstance, 
tiiat he burst into tears, and wept much. But one of the 



88 DISSERTATIOir Olf 

ciders relieved his anxiety, and told him not to weep; for, 
said he, *' the lion, who is of the tribe of Judah, the root of 
Jesse, hath prevailed, that he should open the book, and 
loose its seals." Then the apostle looked, and behold, 
in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, 
and the elders, a lamb was standing, and appeared as if it 
had been slain. It had seven heads and seven eyes, which 
signify the same things as the seven lamps, namely, the 
seven spirits, or the influences of the spirit of God, sent 
forth into all the earth. 

The lamb went and took the book out of the hand of him 
that sat on the throne; and then the four living creatures, 
and the elders, fell down before the lamb, and worshipped 
him. The apostle observed, that every one of them had a 
harp, and a golden vial full of odors, which represent the 
prayers and praises of the saints; and that they sang a new 
song, saying, *' worthy art thou to open the book," &.c. 
Thousands and tens of thousands of angels then appeared, 
all around the throne, and united in their song of praise, 
saying, •* worthy is the lamb that was slain," &c. Then 
all the inferior animals, the birds of the heaven, the beasts 
of the earth, and those that reside in the bowels of the 
earth, and also the fishes of the sea, every one in their 
own way, appeared to ascribe blessing, and honor, and 
glory, and strength, to him who sat on the throne, and to 
the lamb for ever and ever. The four living creatures said 
Amen! and the four and twenty elders fell down and wor- 
shipped, &c. 

Heaven is the symbol or emblem of the highest and most 
conspicuous part of the moral world. By this lofty throne, 
placed in the heaven, and the Almighty sitting on it, he is 
represented as the moral governor of the universe. The trans- 
parency of the jasper, and the redness of the sardine stone, re- 
present the nature of these dispensations. They are formed 
so as to be looked into and examined; but there is something 
terrible in them all. The rainbow of green, like the eme- 
rald, encompassing the whole, shows that God's covenanted 
mercies shall always encircle his people; and that amidbt 
all the terrible dispensations of his providence, they shall 
be in safety. The twenty-four elders, who were seated on 
thrones placed around the throne of the Almighty, signify 
the whole church of God, grown to maturit)-, perfect in holi- 
ness, having entered on their glorious office, and become 
kings and priests unto God. The white robes show the 
righteousness of their character, and the crowns of gold 



denote tWiT exaltation. Tli« thuniJers and Tightnings atid 
voices, which pi-oceecled from the throne, signify the dread- 
ful exhibition of the power and wrath of the Governor of 
the universe, and the proofs which he gives of his majesty 
and gtorj, but especially those ivhich he wiii give in the 
latter dajs. The seven lamps which were burning before 
tiie throne, are designed to represent the Holy Spirit in his 
manifold influences, as seven is the number of perfection^ 
It is of some importance to observe the sense of unity which 
is always attached to it. The seven dispensations of Pro- 
vidence, represented by the seven seals, put an end to the 
power of pagan superstition, which had so long doniineered 
fyver the world. The seven dispensations, represented by 
the seven trumpets, extend to the destruction of tlie anti- 
cliristian power, wliich came in its room, and exercised the 
same influence over the minds of men, to lead them away 
from the true worship of God. The seven vials represent 
the last dispensations of Providence, by which wicked- 
ness will be punished in this world. In every instance 
in which this number is used as an emblem, it carries with 
it the sense of perfection and of unity. So God the Father, 
the moral Governor of the universe, has seven lamps of fire 
burning before his throne, and the lamb has seven eyes. 
Here we are also taught, that the Holy Spirit proceeds, and 
is sent forth, from tlie Father and the Son. 

To understand the meaning of the sea of glass, v/e must 
recur to the molten sea, which was placed in the court of 
the temple. It was a large round vessel, five cubits deep, 
and thirty cubits in circumference, containing ten thousand 
baths, or about four hundred and fifty hogsheads of water. 
The use of it was chiefly for the priests to wash in, before 
they approached to God in the duties of their office. As a 
type, it was intended to represent the sufferings of Christ, 
the great high priest of the church, who washes his people 
in his own blood, and makes them kings and priests unto 
God. They are constantly washed in this sea, when they 
are purified from sin by the trials and troubles of life: biit 
when they shall have been made perfect, and have taken 
their seats around the throne of God, they will still have 
something to keep them in remembrance of their former 
trials, and the way by which they were delivered from sm. 
The matter of which this sea is composed, is clear and trans- 
parent, to show, that a clear view of tlie efficacy of the 
Redeemer's blood, in purifying the heart, will finally be 
given to the church; and it is hardened and consolidated. 



90 DISSERTATION ON 

to »how, that after they become perfectly holy, they shall 
hiive no longer need to be washed. 

In the symbol of the four living creatures, there is some- 
thing dark and mysterious. From various representations 
in the Old Testament, we might be led to think, that by 
these living creatures is meant a certain order or class of 
the heavenly host; while in this place, they appear to 
join with the elders in ascribing their redemption to the 
bSood of Christ. This is entirely inconsistent with the holy 
nature and character of angels; for those who have no sin, 
need no atonement. But perhaps the difficulty might be 
removed, or at least lessened, by attending to the fact, of 
the truth of which we have full evidence, that the holy 
angels are associated and conjoined with the gospel niinistry, 
in the great work of bringing God's people to himself. 
They operate in a secret and invisible, but effectual manner, 
in forwarding the designs of God, in the salvation of his 
children. '* Their angels always behold the face of God 
in heaven." — Matt, xviii. 10. But the ministers of the 
gospel are also called the angels of the churches. Why, 
tiien, may we not suppose, that these living creatures are an 
emblem of the combined ministry of angels and men in this 
great work. It may indeed be said, that this supposition 
will help us but little, as the angels of God would still be 
represented as ascribing their salvation to the blood of 
Christ: but the phraseology, in the original language, seems 
to be constructed so as to set aside this difficulty; for it may 
mean, that the elders only had the harps, and the golden 
vials full of odors, and sang the new song; or it may mean, 
that the living creatures joined with the elders. This ambi- 
guity is not the effect of chance, but design, and seen»9 
intended to suit the mixed character of these four living 
creatures; as if in one sense they could unite with the elders 
in this new soMg, and in another they could not. Still 
there is enough of evidence to satisfy us, that by this sym- 
bol, anoels are not exclusively meant. The earthen vessels 
in which God puts the gospel treasure, are also included in 
the representation, and they participate in the character 
and employment of angels, when they are sent to gather 
together the elect of God. 

There is something, also, in the fiices of these living crea- 
tures, which seems to have a strong resemblance to the minis- 
uy of the gospel, in different periods of tlie New Testament 
dispensation. The first had tiie face of a lion, indicating 
bc'idness, magnanimity, and courage. These were the 



THE SYMBOLS. 91 

most conspicuous virtues of the apostles, and their succes- 
sors in the ministry, until the fall of pagan superstition. 
But after this, it assumed the character represented bv a 
calf, or young ox. It was then more remarkable for patience 
in suffering, than for boldness and magnanimity, or intelli- 
gence and wisdom: Afterwards, men began to reason 
more accurately, and the scriptures were expounded in a 
much more rational and intelligent manner than they had 
been before; and thus the gospel ministry began to have 
the face of a man. Now it is beginning to assume the quali- 
ties of a flying eagle, by carrying the glad tidings of salva- 
tion over tlie world. The whole emblem unites in it, and 
exhibits, all the essential characteristics of angels and men, 
who are constantly employed in the praises of God, waiting 
for his orders, and carrying his commands into effect with 
alacrity and cheerfulness. Thus the two opinions may be 
reconciled, in perfect accordance with the word of God, 
and the way in which he carries on the work of redemption. 
When all these preparations were made,— -when the 
throne of God was set in the heavens, and his servants and 
attendants had all taken their proper places around him, 
an angel went forth, and with a loud voice, made procla- 
mation, to all the inhabitants of the heaven, that if there 
was any one worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals, 
he should then come forward. We see here a manifest 
allusion to certain customs which have existed in the world, 
and especially among the eastern nations, from the highest 
antiquity. There is some very important, and perhaps diffi- 
cult and dangerous, work to be achieved,* — one which , 
requires a great degree of skill and courage, and martial 
prowess. A day is appointed for all the nobles and worthy 
characters in the nation to assemble. The sovereign takes 
his seat on the throne, his ministers and courtiers assemble 
around him; and when all preparations are made, a herald 
goes forth, and proclaims, that if any such character is pre- 
sent, who will undertake the work, and is qualified for the 
performance of it, let him come forward, that his qualifica- 
tions may be put to the trial. In this case, the great God 
of heaven and earth intends to make a revelation to man- 
kind, and to the universe, of certain important events, 
which he has determined should come to pass in the latter 
days; and it was necessary that some illustrious personage 
should be selected, by M^ose agency the work should be 
performed. God the Father, intending to honor his only 
begotten Son, calls together the inhabitants of heaven, the 



^ DISSERTATION ON 

holy angels of all ranks and orders, the church in heaven, 
and the ministry of the gospel. Me holds in his right hand 
the mysterious roll, in which these secrets are written, and 
asksj who is worthy to open the book, and develop the 
mysteries contained in it? A solemn pause ensues, and all 
are silent. A conscious sense of insufficiency pervades 
e%'ery heart. The highest and most glorious of the angels 
of God, shrink fiom the undertaking, and the heart of the 
apostle is tilled with anxiety and fear, lest a suitable 
person should not be found to unravel the mystery. But 
the church in heaven has none of the anxieties and fears that 
operate with pain on the hearts of mortals. One of the 
elders immediately relieved his distress, by pointing out the 
Redeemer, who just then appeared, under the emblem of a 
lamb that had been slain. This lamb had seven horns, to 
show the plenitude and perfection of his power; and he had 
seven eyes, to show that he possessed the same Holy Spirit 
who proceeds from the Father, and that he also sends this 
Spirit through the earth, to enlighten the understandings of 
men, and to execute all the purposes of his grace. He 
showed, also, in his appearance, that he had passed through 
death for his people^ and therefore it might be expected 
that he would have their benefit in view, whatever work he 
might be called to perform. 

Conscious of his worthiness, he went forth, and took the 
roll out of the hand of him that sat on the throne. This 
plainly appears to have been an awful and tremendous 
action, at which an angel would have shuddered. When 
Esther the queen dared to go into the presence of king 
Ahasuerus, at a time when another "person would for such 
an action have been put to death for his presumption, the 
king perceived some worthiness in her, and^her person was 
accepted. So, if it had been possible that any of the angels 
of God could have so much overrated his worth, as to think 
himself entitled to such an honor, he would no doubt have 
been punished for his temerity. But the Father discerned and 
knew the excellent qualifications of his Son, and willingly de- 
livered the roll into his hand. At that moment, the court of 
heaven seems to have been filled with joy, and rapturous gra- 
tulation. All eyes were turned towards the Lamb of God, 
and all hearts beat high with grateful acknowledoments of his 
worthiness. The four living creatures, and the four and 
twenty elders, as they were nearest to the throne, and had 
the greatest interest in the transaction, immediately fell 
down before the throne of God, and presented to him the 



THE SYMBOLS. 9S 

united thanks of the whole church on earth and in heaven. 
This is what is represented by the harps, and the vials full 
of odors, or more properly of incense. He had undertaken 
to communicate the will of God, and to open up the scenes 
of futurity to his church, that she might be prepared to 
meet the events as they come to pass; and therefore they 
offer to him their grateful prayers and praises. The worship 
of the church on the earth is always connected with, and 
of the same kind with that of the church in the heavens. 
Our departure from this world, and our entrance on the 
scenes of blessedness, make no essential alteration in our 
praises. The church of God in the mansions of blessedness, 
sings the same substantial praises which the church sings on 
the earth. If we sing the praises of God according to his 
ordinances, and with the spirit and the understanding, we 
do unite with the church in heaven in the worship of God. 
If we make advances in christian knowledge, according to 
the means which God affords to us, we shall be able to sing 
a new song every time we offer up our praises at his throne. 
God has provided fi»r us the words and matter of our praises, 
and constructed them in such a manner, that the subjects 
open themselves more clearly to the mind from time to 
timej and especially when some new dispensation of Provi- 
dence casts a new lustre on his word, our minds are then 
enlightened, our hearts are made joyful, and the new song 
of praise bursts from our lips- with rapturous exultation. 
We have one of those joyful scenes here presented, which 
actually took place in the church in heaven, and was no 
doubt, in some degree, realized on the earth, as far as it was 
understood, when the book of Revelation was published to 
mankind; and from age to age, just in proportion as the things 
contained in this book, and in the other books of divine reve- 
lation, are unfolded to the church, they lift up their voices 
in a new song. But here the knowledge of the fact, that 
the Lamb was about to make a new revelation, tilled the 
hearts of the inhabitants of heaven with thankfulness, and 
their lips with praise. 

The worthiness of the Lamb appears to have been the 
burden of their song. All moral worth, and all excellence, 
reside in the Lord Jesus Christ. *' It pleased the Father 
that in him should all fulness dwell." But that which 
chiefly renders him worthy to reveal the secret counsel of 
God with respect to his church, is because he has given him- 
Belt a sacrifice for her, and has redeemed her with his blood. 
This fact gives him worth and estimation in the eves of tiie 



94 DISSERTATIOK ON, &C. 

universe, hut especially, in the eyes of those whom he has 
jedeeined. They know his worth better than others, be- 
cause they have experienced the blessings of his salvation. 
Hence says the Psalmist, "they shall utter abundantly the 
memory of thy great goodness, and sing of thy righteous- 
ness." Here they all declare, with united voice, " Thou 
art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; 
for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, by thy 
blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and 
nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, 
and we shall reign on the earth." This last sentiment loses 
nothing of its force, when uttered by the church in heaven. 
It does not mean that the saints shall come down from 
heaven, and reign personally on the earth. It is used in 
the same sense with the declaration of Paul to the church 
of Corinth: " Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not 
all sleep, but we shall all be changed." The apostle did 
not mean that he himself should be personally changed; for 
he is among those who sleep in the Lord: but he speaks of him- 
self as united with the whole church: and so when the 
church already in heaven declare, " we shall reign upon 
the earth," they allude to the time when the saints sliall 
possess the kingdom. If we are the true servants of God, 
we shall then reign in the same sense in which the apostle 
declares "we shall be changed." 

Afterwards, immense multitudes of angels are seen sur- 
rounding the throne, and the four living creatures, and the 
elders. They proclaim, with united voice, the worthiness 
of the Lamb that was slain: and then all creation, or all 
the creatures who dwell on the earth, every one according 
to its nature, joins in the anthem of praise to God and the 
Lamb. This is the same truth which is presented by the 
apostle, in the viii. of the epistle to the Romans: "• The 
earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the mani- 
festation of the sons of God." All creation seems to look 
forward with hope to that period when the saints shall 
reign. Then the condition of every thing that is capable 
of enjoyment or suffering, shall be much ameliorated; and 
even the earth itself shall bloom with a much greater degree 
of verdure and beauty than at present. All things shall 
then pr«)claim the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by 
his sufferings and his works of righteousness, shall be knowa 
to have produced this blessed change. 



PART II. DISSERTATION II. 

THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 

By the opening of the book, and the loosing of the seals, 
we are not to understand merely that part of the Revelation 
which is brought to view by the breaking open of the seals; 
for this part only extends to the revolution which was made ' 
in the time of Constantine the Great. This is but a small 
part of the book. The last seal contains the seven trum- 
pet«», and again, the last trumpet may be said to contain the 
seven vials: and so this book, in fact, contains the whole of 
the Revelation. When we consider the subject in this 
point of view, we shall be better able to see the importance 
of the work of the Lamb, in taking the book and opening 
the seals. It signifies the development of all the secrets 
which John was instructed to communicate to the church 
and to mankind. 

We shall not enter into a minute examination of the 
things contained in the seals, and the five foregoing trum- 
pets; as this would swell the work far beyond the limits 
we have prescribed for it. Still it will be necessary to con- 
sider the chain of providential dispensations, so far as to 
show the connexion with the chain of prophecy. It is a 
truth, that the same diligence, and the same accuracy of dis- 
cernment, are required, to enable us to see the accomplish- 
ment of prophecy in the affairs of the world, tfiat are required 
to enable us to see the meaning of prophecy in the word of 
God. We must be able to see the meaning of prophecy, 
before we can see the accomplishment of it. The prophecies 
have been fulfilled, in a certain degree, in all ages; but the 
mass of the world are ignorant of the accomplishment of 
them, because they are not acquainted with their bibles. 
They do not understand the meaning of the prophecies, 
because they do not study them sufficiently: and hence, 
although they, should be fulfilled before their eyes, they 
can neither understand nor perceive it. 

The chief channel of our knowledge of the accomplish- 
ment of the prophecies, contained in the seals and the first 
trumpets, is from history; the authors of which neither knew 
nor thought any thing about the matter. Hence they were 
just as likely to leave out as to insert those events which 
might have shown the accomplishment: for no historian ever 



96 DISSERTATION OK 

gives, or can give, a full account of all the events which take 
place in the times of which he writes. If the historians of 
those times had paid particular attention to the prophecies, 
and compared them with the events as they came to pass, 
thej would have had no difficulty in discerning the agree- 
ment between the description given in the prophecy, and 
the real scenes, as they were transacted in the world. But 
for want of this attention in those who have gone before us, 
we can only gather up sonje facts which are scattered over 
the pages of history; and these show, indeed, the accom- 
plishment of prophecy, so as to put the infidel and the sceptic 
to silence, but not so as to give a full and lucid view of the 
wonderful works of God. 

We know, however, that the gospel had great and rapid 
success among mankind, immediately after the days of the 
apostles; and therefore the first seal, which exhibited the 
white horse, and one sitting on him, having a bow and a 
crown, and going forth conquering and to conquer, is no 
doubt intended to show the progress of gospel truth on the 
minds of men in those early days. The second seal exhi- 
bited " a red horse, and one sitting on him, to whom it was 
given to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill 
one another," &c. It is probable this was intended to 
represent the wars and terrible massacres which took place 
in the reign of the emperor Trajan, and of Adrian, his suc- 
cessor. In that period, the Jews revolted, and slew, of the 
Greeks and Romans, 220,000 men, with horrible barbarity. 
They also put to death, in Egypt and Cyprus, 240,000. 
Afterwards, they were conquered and destroyed, with ter- 
rible slaughter. Many other horrible scenes of war and 
blood, and persecutions of the christians, took place in this 
period; so that it might very properly be said, peace was 
then taken from the earth. 

After a time of wars and desolation, famine generally 
succeeds; and so the next seal presented a black horse, 
" and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand." 
A voice was then heard, proclaiming, a measure of wheat 
for a penny, &c. The word which is here rendered measure, 
signifies a man's daily allowance of food, — just so much as 
would be necessary for his own subsistence; and a penny, 
or denarius, was the price of a man's daily labor; so that 
when the labor of a man was all necessary to procure his 
own support, his family must be in a state of suffering. 
Such was the actual condition of the Roman empire in those 
days, that with all the attention and care of the emperors, 



THE SBALS AKD THE TRUMPETS. 97 

Septimus and Alexander Severus, there was such a scarcity 
of food, through the whole empire, that many perished for 
hunger, and few could procure a sufficient supply of the 
necessaries of life. 

But these were days of declension in all the virtues which 
had formerly distinguished the Roman people. They did 
not repent of their iniquities, and the evils continued and 
increased. These evils are represented by ** a pale horse, 
and his name that sat on him, was Death," &c. Terrible 
wars and famines and pestilences, distinguished the reign of 
the barbarous Maximin and his successors, until the time of 
of Diocletian, a period of about 50 years. It was a time of 
murders and mutinies, rebellions and invasions; so that not 
one nation, which was subject to the empire, remained in 
peace. The frequent incursions of the barbarous nations, 
with famines and pestilences succeeding one another, ren- 
dered that one of the most mournful periods in the history 
of the world. Then death stalked over the earth and hell 
followed his footsteps; because mankind were incurable in 
vice, and in every kind of wickedness; but especially in 
the persecution of the true servants of God. 

The fifth seal exhibits the blood of the saints crying for 
vengeance.- " And when he had opened the fifth seal 1 saw 
under the altar, the souls of them that were slain for the 
word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And 
they cried with aloud voice, saying: how long, Lord, holy 
and true, dost thou not judge, and avenge our blood on them 
that dwell on the earth," &c. The tenth and last general 
persecution of the christians, which was begun in the reign 
of Diocletian, and owed its origin to the intrigues of Galeri- 
us, was the most violent, and bitter, and bloody, of all the 
persecutions, which stain the annals of the Roman empire. 
Large accounts have been written of it, by those who were 
eye witnesses, of the horrid scenes of burnings, ravages, and 
murders of the innocent: and it is said by some respectable 
historians, that ''almost the whole world was stained with 
the blood of the martyrs. " These are the characters, whose 
souls appear under the altar, as crying for vengeance on their 
murderers. It was thus that the blood of righteous Abel 
cried for vengeance on his murderer Cain. The popular 
meaning of the word vengeance, which in this age signifies 
bitter and vindictive retaliation, certainly contributes ninch 
to obscure the sense of this, and many other parts of the word 
of God. ^ But the scriptural meaning of the word, is justice 
to the injured. Hence in this sense, every injured man has 
y 



98 DISSERTATIOX ON 

a right tapray to God for vengeance on those who have injured 
him. He is not to avenge himself, or to retaliate on his 
enemies, the same evils which they have made him suffer. 
On the contrary he ought to desire and pray, that they may 
be brought to repentance. This would be a sufl&cient satis- 
faction to every good man: but as long as they persevere in 
their wicked conduct, he should also persevere in supplica- 
ting for justice. This desire for justice in the execution of 
vengeance, does not forsake the soul, when separated from 
the body. Hence the souls of those who suffered in that bit- 
ter and bloody persecution, are here represented, as still un- 
der the altar where they were sacrificed; and they asked 
how long would God tolerate such scenes of iniquity, without 
bringing deserved vengeance on their murderers. But 
every one of them received white robes, and they entered 
into their rest. They are told to wait a little while, until 
their fellow servants should have also passed through the same 
scenes, and then they should see the justice of God, in ter- 
rible vengeance on their enemies. 

This came to pass after the opening of the sixth seal. 
Then there was a great earthquake, or a moral shaking and 
overtuiiiing of the empire. *' The sun became black as 
sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the 
heavens departed as a scroll," &c. This revolution took 
place a little more than 200 years after the times of the 
apostles. It eventuated in the overturning of the whole 
system of pagan superstition. But this was so intimately 
connected with the government; and all the officers of go- 
vernment were so much attached to it, that it could not fall 
without shaking the whole establishment. Hence it may be 
said, God then shook the heavens and the earth. Although 
the sun was not removed, for the empire still continued un- 
der Constantine, as it was under his predecessors; yet there 
was a terrible eclipse of all the ancient pagan splendur. The 
stars, or the officers of government and the ministers of the 
heathen gods, all fell to the earth: and the old Roman hea- 
ven, which had stood for so many hundreds of years, depart- 
ed as a scroll when it is rolled together, &.c. The moun- 
tains and the islands, or the established authorities in the 
different parts of the empire, were moved out of their places. 
This terrible revolution struck a panic, into the hearts of 
all who had supported, or v.ere supported by the ancient 
systeui of superstition. They all confessed that this judg- 
ment was brouglit on them by the God of the christians: and 
while this terror operated on their hearts, they may be said 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 99 

to have acknowledged his government. But the confession 
was extorted by fear, and had nothing in it of genuine re- 
pentance. They called to the mountains and the rocks to 
hide them from his vengeance. This is always the end of the 
hopes of the enemies of God. They fly to false principles 
and false worship, rather than submit to the truth. They go 
from object to object, still hoping to quiet their conscience, 
and bring their minds into a state of tranquillity; but at the 
last day, the great day of the wrath of the Lamb, they shall 
actas absurdly,as the miserable slaves of superstition, ^mong 
the ancient Romans. Their false hopes will all be as vain, 
as seeking protection in the dens and caves of the mountains, 
and calling on the rocks to fall upon them and hide them 
from the wrath of God. 

The condition of the church during this period is next 
brought forward. The seventh chapter commences with 
the representation of a state of quietness and peace. But 
it was produced by the restraining power of God, who had 
determined to give rest to his church for a short period; 
that they who had suffered for the truth might have a little 
respite, and a time of comfort. The earth appeared to the 
apostle as a large and extended plain; and he saw four 
angels standing at the four corners of it, holding the winds, 
that there might be perfect tranquillity over the whole sur- 
face; that the face of the waters should not be ruffled, nor 
even a leaf of the trees moved. But these angels were 
holding the winds only for a time, and they had power to 
let them loose, to the injury of every thing on the face of 
the earth. It would seem, from this representation, that 
the season of peace was to be very precarious, and of short 
duration. The winds were merely withheld for a time, 
and, when freed from restraint, would blow with greater 
violence than before. But it shows a period of the world, 
in which many should be added to the church, and 
eontirmed in the faith of the gospel: for the apostle be- 
held *' another angel ascending from the east, having the 
seal of the living God," &c. The custom of sealing, or 
marking servants or soldiers, which was common at that 
period, is here used symbolically, to show that God was 
preparing his church for another conflict with the powers of 
darkness. A period of peace and tranquillity is the best time 
for instruction, and for establishing the mind in the truth. 
This sealing, therefore, does not refer to baptism, nor to 
the ceremony called " confirmation," nor even to the sign 
of the cross. It refers to something more substantial than 



100 DISSERTATION OIT 

any ceremony, either ordained of God, or invented by man. 
It was the happy effect of that peaceful period, that not 
only immense multitudes, of all nations, made a profession 
of Christianity, but that many were instructed in the word 
of God, and confirmed in the faith of Christ. The apostle 
heard the number of those who were thus confirmed, and it 
amounted to 144,000, out of all the tribes of Israel. Israel 
here means the whole church, or all who professed Chris- 
tianity; and the twelve tribes of Israel represent the differ- 
ent nations of the world who then received the gospel. Of 
these nations, a large and respectable number were enlight- 
ened, intelligent, and established christians, who were 
capable of enduring the storms of adversity which were 
coming on the church. It is generally supposed, that this 
period of happy tranquillity extended from the time in 
which the empire was established in the hands of Constan- 
tine, to the death of Theodosius, or nearly to the end of the 
fourth century. 

Although there is strong reason to doubt the Christianity 
of Constantine, and even of the greater part of his succes- 
sors in the government; yet we have the strongest evidence 
that the boundaries of the christian church were much en- 
larged in that period. Perhaps there never was a time, 
when the gospel was placed in such favorable circumstances, 
or when the truth had so great power on the human mind. 
The church was then clotlied with authority; but it was 
rather the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, than that of 
the man of sin. It is true, the mjstery of iniquity was then 
working, and had become much more powerful than in the 
days of the apostles: there were also many heresies, njany 
false professors, and much corruption: but the church was 
far from the corrupted state in which it exists at the present 
day. Men had not then learned, and consequently, were 
not practised in the arts of hypocrisy. Christianity was 
not then taught to bend itself to the false opinions and pre- 
judices, the humors and caprices, of the men in power. 
The church was not then split up into sections and subdi- 
visions, as at the present time. She then possessed undi- 
vided power, and the rulers generally felt themselves bound 
by the authority of the Redeemer, to perform their several 
duties in the fear of God. Hence many were trained up 
in the doctrines and the practice of godliness. The apostle 
beheld •• a great multitude, whom no man could number, of 
all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing 
before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed in white 
robes, and palms in their hands." 



THE SEA1.S ASD THE TRUMiPETS. ^01 

In the exhibition of this flourishing state of the church, 
we have a representation of the millennium, and also of the 
church in heaven. If we were particularly acquainted 
with the history ef the first three hundred years which 
elapsed after the death of the apostles, we might learn a 
great deal of the process of God^s providence in every suc- 
ceeding period of the world, as it respects the advancement 
of his kingdom. The church must always pass through 
great tribulation, before she arrives at a state of honor and 
prosperity. There are allotted periods, both for depression 
and exaltation. Perhaps the true church of God was never 
in more depressed circumstances, than at the time when 
Christ was crucified: but she soon began to rise; and befor* 
the last of the apostles was called from the earth, tlie gospel 
was preached in all nations. But soon after that period, 
the church fell into depressed circumstances^ for the whole 
power of the Roman government was exerted for her de- 
struction. These were times of tribulation, and she did not 
recover from them until the days of Constantine. There 
was then a period of peace and prosperity. But soon after 
this period, Antichrist arose, and the man of sin seated 
himself in the temple of God. From that time, we may 
date the period of general depression for 1260 years: but 
when this shall have terminated, she shall rise from the 
dust, and her exaltation shall continue, not only through 
the ages of time, but through eternity. 

Hence the church, during a part of the fourth century, 
presents us with a kind of type, or resemblance of the mil- 
lennial state, in the same sense as the kingdom of Israel, 
under Solomon, was a type of the millennium. But in this 
last age, we may expect a much greater degree of moral excel- 
lence in tlie character of christians, than they have ever exhibi- 
ted. The degree ofchristianknowledge shall also be far be- 
yond any thing which has ever been known on the earth. ** The 
light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the 
light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven 
days: in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his 
people, and healeth the stroke of their wound." Yet still 
there will be imperfection, and even sin, among mankind, 
in every condition of the church, previous to the judgment 
day. This vision of the apostle is, therefore, intended to 
lead our minds beyond those comparatively pure and happy 
periods of the church, to the state of perfect purity and 
blessedness in the heavens. The peaceful and prosj^erous 
reign of Solomon, exhibited a happy condition of the church, 

9* 



102 DISSERTATION ON 

compared with the time when the judges ruled, and the 
Israelites were frequently in bondage, under the power of 
cruel oppressors: the fourth century of the christian church 
was a happy period, compared with the times which went 
before it: the millennium will exhibit a happy and prosper- 
ous condition of Christianity, compared with the times in 
which we live: but the heavenly state will surpass all imagi- 
nation and all hope. 

Still it must be said, of all those who stand with the 
Lamb, clothed in white robes, and having palms of victory 
in their hands, that they have come out of great tribulation, 
and have washed their robes, and made them white in the 
blood of the Lamb. In those days of happy tranquillity, to 
which the virion immediately refers, the church had come 
out of great tribulation. She had undergone numerous 
bitter and bloody persecutions. She was often proscribed 
by the ruling !)owers, and all who were known to be chris- 
tians were put to death, many of them in tortures. But 
she was afterwards honored by the same powers who had 
formerly endeavored to destroy her. '* Kings became her 
nursing fathers, and their queens her nursing mothers." 
This prophecy was not, indeed, fulfilled in the fullest and 
most perfect sense: but from the manner in which it has 
been fulfilled, we may form some conception of its accom- 
plishment in the latter days. But as she arrived at a state 
of prosperity, in those days, by passing through great tribu- 
lation, so we conclude that she shall come to her prosperous 
state, in these latter days, by passing through a fiery trial. 
It will not, indeed, be of the same kind with the former. 
We need not fear the flames of persecution, the rack, and 
the gibbet, and the stake; but we may expect some process, 
in the providence of God, which will effectually separate 
the chaff from the wheat. ** He will wash away the filth 
of the daughters of Ziou, and purge the blood of Jerusalem 
from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by 
the spirit of burning." 

Alihoufih this is a prophecy of times that are past, yet 
the diligent student of the word of God may derive great 
benefit from it, for the illustration of the remaining prophe- 
cies of thib book. There is a striking analogy between the 
dispensations of God's providence in past and- in future 
times; and the histories of those times,, imperfect as they 
are, being compared with the prophecy, will enable us to 
see, as through a glass, the scenes which shall be realized 
in the time to come. It may now be said, in a certain 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 103 

sense, that the four angels are standing on the four corners 
of the earth, holding the four winds from hurting the earth, 
that the servants of God may have an opportunity of receiv- 
ing his seal in their foreheads. The storm of terrible ven- 
geance has not begun to rage, and all as yet is tranquil. 
Now, therefore, is the period when we should seek to be 
confirmed in the faith, and to have habits of holy action 
established. A large number shall no doubt be sealed, out 
of all the tribes of Israel: none, however shall receive tiie 
the impression, who do not make application. In the end 
of this dispensation, a great multitude, whom no man can 
number, shall be found before the throne of God, clothed in 
white robes, and palms in their hands: but we shall not be 
among the number, unless we have courage to bear our tes- 
timony for the truth, suffer great tribulation, and thus have 
our robes washed and made white, in the blood of the 
Lamb. 

We shall say but little on theviii. chapter. Those who 
desire to see a striking and lucid exposition of it, may consult 
Bishop Newton. He has placed the subjects contained in 
it, in such a clear light, that while the eyes of every candid 
inquirer must be illuminated, his assent to the truth of his 
remarks, can scarcely be withheld. The series of providen- 
tial events, contained under the seventh seal, extends from 
the latter part of the fourth century, until the times in which 
the saints shall begin to possess the kingdom. When the 
Lamb had opened this seal, all heaven appeared, for the space 
of half an hour, to sit in silent expectation. The apostle 
then saw the seven angels, who had been standing in the 
presence of God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 
He saw also that another angel went, and stood by the altar, 
and he had a golden censer in his hand. There was then 
given to him a large quantity of incense, that he might offer 
it with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar which 
stood before the throne. The smoke of the incense, with 
the prayers of the saints, then ascended before God from 
the hands of the angel. All this is plainly taken from the 
worship of the temple. When the sacrifices were about 
to be ottered, the singers, the players on instruments, and 
the trumpeters, were all engaged in the praises of God: 
but when the priest went into the temple to burn incense, 
all was still; and all were engaged in the silent ejacula- 
tions of prayer. When this seal was opened, all heaven 
appeared for a short time in that solemn stillness, as 
when the incense was burning before God in the temple: and 



104 DISSERTATION ON 

in fact the incense which the angel otfered, and the prayera 
of the saints, did then ascend before God, durinj^ this period 
of silence. It respects the state of the church in the end of 
the fourth century, when the storm of God's indignation was 
about to burst forth on the world. True christians could do 
nothing but pour forth their supplications to God, and be still: 
for they saw that his vengeance was about to burst forth on 
the empire. But after the incense was offered, the angel 
took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar, and 
cast it on the earth, and there were voices, and thunders, 
and ligtuings, and an earthquake — the signs and evidences 
of great calamities and commotions. Then the seven 
angels prepared themselves to sound. The first angel 
sounded, and there was hail and fire, mingled with blood, 
&€. This is interpreted to mean the Huns and Goths; but 
particularly the famous Alaric, a king of the Goths, who 
began his incursions in the end of the fourth century: and 
who is said by some of the historians of those times, to come 
like a storm of hail, suddenly and unexpectedly; and march- 
ing quicker than report, they spared nothing in their course. 
Greece was ravaged, Italy was wasted, Rome was be- 
seiged,and finally taken and apart of it burnt. ** The second 
angel sounded, and a great mountain burning with fire was 
cast into the sea," &c. This judgment was executed about 
the year 432. The Roman empire was then in a very un- 
settled condition, and might have well been represented by 
the sea, when the Huns, under the conduct of Attila, came 
upon the empire, and wasted Thrace and the Grecian provin- 
ces, putting all to the sword, and burning and ravaging the 
countries. He also entered Italy, and burnt and destroyed 
all the countries between the Alps and the Appenines; and 
then Rome became one of his tributaries. *' The third angel 
sounded, and there fell from heaven a large star, burning 
as a lamp; and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and 
on the fountains of waters," &c. This relates to the incur- 
sions of the Vandals and Moors, under their leader, Gense- 
ric, who had all received Christianity, but were violently 
attached to the heresy of Arius. Hence they are repre- 
sented by a star falling from heaven. They came suddenly, 
when there was no expectation of such an enemy. They 
ravaged the country, and took, and plundered the city of 
Rome. Neither age nor sex was spared. A multitude of 
captives were carried away, and obliged to submit to the 
religion of the conquerors. By them the truth of the gos- 
pel was poisoned, as with wormwood. The streams and 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 105 

fountains became bitter, and many who drank of them died 
A spiritual death. " The fourth angel sounded, and the 
tliird part of the sun was darkened," &c. This relates to 
the ruin of the Western empire, which took place about the 
year 556. The judgments executed under the third trum- 
pet, had left that part of the empire in a weak and languisli- 
mg condition. The Heruli, a horde of barbarians, from 
tlie northern parts of Europe, under the conduct of their 
king, Odoacer, took possession of Italy. Soon after this, 
tlie Heruli were defeated by Theodoric, king of the Ostro- 
goths, who took the country, and proclaimed himself king. 
But afterwards, this kingdom was destroyed by the Eastern 
emperor, who sent his lieutenant to govern Italy, with the 
title of Exarch of Ravennaj and thus Rome lost her autho- 
rity, in a temporal point of view, and became a tributary 
province. The whole form of the government was changed. 
The senate and consuls were not permitted to continue. 
Every city or district, of any note or importance, was put 
under the government of some powerful chieftain, who had 
the title of duke; and thus Rome was degraded from her 
high rank among the nations, and stood only on a level with 
the other cities of Italy. 

But still, in a religious point of view, she retained her 
authority. A spiritual power was then rising in the church, 
which was destined to bring all nations into subjection; 
and when Rome lost the temporal sovereignty of the world, 
she only lost the third part of her power. A large part of 
her temporal power was gone. Her senate and consuls, 
and the various ojfficers of government, fell into darkness 
and obscurity: but in the midst of those scenes of tumult 
and disorder, a spiritual power arose, which brought back 
all her temporal glory, and Rome again became the mistress 
of the world. 

This spiritual power was no other thun ** the man of sin, '^ 
who, about the latter part of the sixth century, took his 
seat in the temple of God. This spirit of iniquity was 
working, silently and secretly, even in those times of tu- 
mult and blood; and all the calamities which were then 
inflicted on mankind, only served to increase their wicked- 
ness and rebellion against God. Hence he was preparing 
for them still greater calamities than they had ever experi- 
enced before. •• I beheld," says the apostle, ** and heard a 
certain angel, flying in the midst of heaven, saying with a 
great voice, wo, wo, wo, to the inhabitants of the earth, 
from the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels 



106 DISSERTATION ON 

who are yet to sound." Here three terrible scenes of cala- 
mities are announced. They are called woes, because they 
exceed the former judgments in severity, and are longer in 
continuance. The last of them, although it is the shortest, 
is the most terrible of all. 

When the fifth angel sounded, the apostle saw *< a star 
which had fallen from heaven to the earth; and there was 
given to him the key of the abyss, or bottomless pit, and 
he opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke ascended from 
the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and 
the air were darkened from the smoke of the pit: and there 
came locusts out of the smoke," &c. Here we may remark, 
that this phrase, the bottomless pit, although it is the literal 
rendering of the word abyss, and perhaps as proper as any 
words which could be found in the English language, yet it 
does not express the full meaning of the original. The 
ancients believed that Hades, or the invisible world, where 
the spirits of the wicked are confined in torments, existed 
in the bowels of the earth; and that there was an opening 
made in the surface, to go down into it. Thus Korah, Da- 
tlian, and Abiram, with all the company that conspired 
against Moses and Aaron, when the earth clave asunder and 
swallowed them, are said to have gone down living into 
Hades. The same thing is expressed in the Iv. Psalm; 
•* See death seize upon them, and let them go down living 
into Hades." Whether, therefore, this ancient opinion be 
cx)rrect or not, it was certainly the opinion of the apostles, 
and it seems to be sanctioned by the word of God. The 
entrance into this place is called the pit of the abyss, or the 
pit of Hades. This entrance was opened by a star, which 
Lad fallen from heaven. The smoke then immediately 
ascended from the abyss below, and darkened the air. 
"Then locusts came out of the smoke on the earth, and 
power was given to them," &c. The symbol of a star, which 
represents a minister of religion, or some officer of the civil 
government, almost evidently points out the impostor Mo- 
hammed, or, as he is commonly called, Mahomet. He was 
a man of superior talents, and well fitted for governing man- 
kind. Although we know but little of his career, in the 
former part of his eventful life; yet it cannot be doubted, 
that for many years before the publication of his visions, he 
stood as a star of no inconsiderable magnitude, in the coun- 
try to which he belonged. But he fell from heaven, when 
he thought of becoming a deceiver; and he opened the abyss, 
when he published his Imposture to the world. The locusts 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 107 

«ignifj the Saracens, his countrymen, who imbibed the 
opinions which he published, and went forth, according to 
his directions, to propagate them through the world. The 
common locusts do not hurt mankind. They only hurt the 
grass, and the trees, and the fruits of the earth: but these 
locusts were like scorpions, a most dangerous and poisonous 
insect, whose sting inflicts the most dreadful pain, and fre- 
quently occasions death. But they had power to hurt only 
a certain class of mankind. They had no power over those 
tliat had the seal of God impressed on their foreheads. The 
doctrines of Mahomet were so absurd, and so palpably an 
imposture, that if men had been properly instructed in the 
knowledge of the scriptures, and, by the practice of righ- 
teousness, had learned to distinguish good from evil, an<l 
truth from error, they could not have been hurt by the doc- 
trines of Mahomet. But in those days, the christian church 
had sunk into gross idolatry. The inventions of men had 
usurped the place of the ordinances of the Redeemer; and 
hence their minds were blinded, so that they could not 
discern the imposture. As they had already suffered them- 
selves to be deceived, and to believe in lies; so, in receiving 
the koran, instead of the bible, they only went a step further 
into delusion. 

But although these locusts had power to inflict a great de- 
gree of torment on the corrupted part of the church, they 
were not authorized entirely to destroy it. It was not 
given to them to kill; but only to torment men, for five 
months: which is the general period of the continuance of 
locusts. Although the Saracens advanced with great suc- 
cess, and rapidity in their conquests, and the propagation of 
their false doctrines, for the period of five prophetic months, 
or 150 years; their doctrines then ceased to spread over the 
world and their political power was restrained. There are 
certain false doctrines and religious practices, which possess 
a fascinating and infatuating power, where they are brought 
to operate on the mind, and men are carried away with the 
delusion for a time: but it has not sufficient power in itself 
to hold the mind in perpetual bondage. This may be clear- 
ly understood, by considering some of the popular errors of 
the present time. There are some doctrines of the word of 
God, which the untutored mind will by no means relish, and 
which it finds very difficult to understand. It may be said 
concerning the scriptures generally, as well as the epistles of 
Paul, that '* there are some things in them hard to be under- 
stood, which the unlearned and unstable WTCst to their own 



108 DISSERTATION ON 

destruction." Of these things advantage is taken, by those 
who find it their interest to deceive mankind, by the propa- 
gation of false doctrines. Thej pretend to open up a way 
in which those difficulties are removed, and to bring down 
the sublime mysteries of the gospel, to the level of the mean- 
est understanding. But such attempts are like all popular 
follies. Their falsehood is discovered and they lose their 
influence. Such was the doctrine of Mahomet. He laid 
hold on the sacred mystery of the trinity in unity, and re- 
presented it as the foundation of all the idolatry which was 
then practised among christians. He then set nimself forth 
as the great prophet, sent from God, to teach men his true 
nature and character. The pronnnent doctrine of the 
koran is, " There is one God, and Mahomet is his prophet." 
But there were many things in this new religion, which were 
calculated for temporary purposes, and fascinated the mind 
only for a short period. Afterwards the folly and wicked- 
ness of them, were seen by every one, who had any regard 
for truth. This appears to be the chief reason, why the 
locusts had not power to killj but only to torment men for a 
short period. The whole period of their reign was but 150 
years; and the influence of their doctrines but temporary. 
They would give a great degree of mental pain, to those who 
were only babes in the knowledge of the gospel; but the 
wound was not mortal, and they might finally recover with- 
out spiritual death: while they could not at all wound the 
conscience of the established christian. 

It is quite evident, that in those days, and indeed in all 
ancient times, men had a much stronger sense of religion, 
than they have in this present period. Whether their reli- 
gion were true or false, they were devoted to it; and the 
conviction of error, was accompanied with a great degree of 
mental agony. Hardened as is the human heart, and fickle 
and fluctuating as is the human mind in this age, we may 
have seen some instances, in which, in the agonies of 
a guilty conscience, death was preferred to life. It is 
not at all uncommon for men, when under the conviction of 
some very painful doctrine, to wish they had never been 
born. But such instances were no doubt very numerous, 
under the influence of Mahometan delusions. "In those 
days," says the apostle, " shall men seek death rather than 
life, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from 
them. " This is, in foct, the only way in which this decla- 
ration can be at all consistently explained. It is true, we 
may imagine certain circumstances, in which a country 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. 109 

may be placed, when a savage enemy is wasting it by fire 
and sword, where some might be so harassed, and driven 
about, from one retreat to another, that in the moment of 
despondency, they might exclaim, *'it is better for us to 
die than to live." But the apostle speaks of the agony of 
mind produced by the influence of religion. The pain of 
having the faith overturned by the power of new doctrines. 
If we have no religious feelings, nor scruples of conscience, 
we may find death at any time. But the state of mind here 
described, is produced by religious doctrines which throw 
the mind into a state of tumult and agitation. Those who 
are not attached to any kind of religion, and who think it 
of little importance what doctrines they believe, or what 
kind of worship they practise, may not, indeed, find it pain- 
ful to change their faith, or their forms and ceremonies; but 
when a conscientious man becomes unsettled in his religious 
opinions, and is driven from his hopes by some new religious 
doctrines, a grievous wound is inflicted on his conscience, 
and it is easy to conceive, that in many instances, the tor- 
ment might be so great, as to induce him to prefer death to 
life, or to wish he had never been born. This was no doubt 
the effect of the religion of Mahomet, on the minds of many • 
who had received the gospel, but who were not fully esta- 
blished in the truth. 

The apostle, in the next place, describes the appearance 
of the locusts. They were like horses prepared for war, 
and on their heads were as crowns of gold, &c. This is an 
obvious description of the Arabians, and their method of 
war: but as it is not our intention to dwell on this part of 
the Revelation, and as the subject has been fully explained 
by Newton, and other commentators, we shall pass over it 
with one observation. It is said, **one wo is past, and 
behold, there come two woes more hereafter." We are 
not to understand, from this annunciation, that no degree of 
that wo should ever again be realized. It is true that the 
torment of Mahometan delusion has passed away from the 
christian church; but still it is a fact, that from that time 
to the present, some other delusion, of the same nature, 
has sprung up in the church, from age to age. These locusts 
still continue to come, at certain periods, and torment the ■ 
minds of those who are not established in the true faith of 
the gospel, by giving them wrong views of its doctrines. 
They have not, indeed, power to destroy the true cijurch 
of God, nor even to blindfold the mind of any one, so that 
he may not see the error, after the fascination has spent its 
force, and is gone; yet they always leave a poison behind 
10 



110 DISSERT ATrOW OK 

them, which, if not cleansed from the heart by the sancti-^ 
fying truths of the gospel, will at length become incurable. 
This is always the result, when men become teachers or 
promoters of error: when they are not content with having 
tiieiv own minds poisoned, but endeavor to poison the minds 
of others. They then become locusts themselves^ Many 
a stArhas fallen from heaven since the days of Mahomet, — 
has opened the bottomless pit, and poured forth clouds of 
smoke over the world, so that the sun and the air have 
been darkened. Therefore, it is of great importance for 
every one to have the seal of the living God impressed on 
hxa forehead, that he may be established in the faith, and be 
able to stand in the time of triaL 

The first wo commenced in the beginning of the seventh 
century, and the second did not commence until the begin- 
ning of the fourteenth: a.nd hence we see the reason why 
this intimation is given at the close of the first wo, that 
there should come two woes more hereafter. If God delays 
his judgments, men ought not to hope for impunity. They 
are not only certain, and will most assuredly be executed 
in due season 5 but they will be the more terrible, the longer 
they are delayed. The two following woes are much more 
dreadful than any that preceded them.. The former relates 
chiefly to the downfal of the eastern or Greek church, which 
comprehended a large part of the Roman empire? and the 
latter shows the final overthrow and universal ruin of all 
antichristian power, in ever^ part of the world. " And 
the sixth angel sounded," says the apostle, "and I heard a 
voice from the four horns of the golden altar, which is before 
God, saying to the sixth angel, which had the trumpet^ 
loose the four angels, who are bound by the great river 
Euphrates: and the four angels were loosed; who were pre- 
pared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year^ to 
s'ay the third part of men." The sins of men must indeed 
be very great, when the four horns of the altar are endowed 
with a voice to order their punishment. It shows a degree 
of advancement in wickedness, which is incurable. It is 
the state which the prophet describes, when he says, '* the 
sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the 
. jioiiit of a diamond: it is engraven on the table of their heart, 
and on the horns of their altars." This judgment was exe- 
cuted by the Turks, who inhabited tiiose countries bordering 
on the river Euphrates, and who aie here represented as 
the ministers of God's vengeance. It is well known that 
there were four sultanies, or kingdoms, established in that 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUMPETS. Ill 

part of the world in the eleventh century. They had a 
great thirst for conquest, and for the extension of their 
dominions; but thej were, for nvany years, restrained by 
the united power of the christian world. They were after- 
wards loosed, and began their conquests in Christendom, 
in the year 1281. After this period, they pursued a course 
of unparalleled victories, scarcely ever meeting with a de- 
feat, until the year 1672; which is 391 years, and answers 
to the prophetic hour, and day, and month, and year, during 
which they were to slay the*^third part of men. As a year, 
in the language of prophecy, means 360 days, and each of 
the days being put for a year, is 360 years, a month is 30 
years,* and by the same method of computation, a day is 
one year, and an Iwur the twenty -fourth part of a year: 80 
the period of the advancement of the Turkish empire is 
more accurately stated in the prophecy, than by tho histo- 
rians of the times. But God gave them their appointments, 
and fixed a certain limitation to their conquests; and frora 
that period they beg-an to decline,. At this time, their power 
has become so feeble, that the Greeks, whom they have he!d 
in slavery for many centuries, have risen against their 
tyrants, and there is good reason to hope, they will at length 
prevail. 

But the Turks are here described in the days of their 
power and their splendor. They delighted in horseman- 
ship, and the strength of their armies consisted in cavalry. 
This was presented to the apostle. He heard the numt>er 
«f the horsemen computed at two myriads of myriads, 4)r 
200,000,000. It is very possible; that in the long course of 
their conquests, for nearly 400 years, they may have brought 
that immense number upon the field of battle. They had 
breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone, as they 
appeared to John in the vision; that is, scarlet, and blue, and 
yellow. This is well known to have been the military uni- 
form of the Turks, from the time they made tlieir first 
appearance in the world. They are said to have vomited 
out of their mouths, fire, and smoke, and brimstone; andjit 
is well known that gunpowder was invented in those times, 
and that the Turks made great use of it in their wars with 
the christians. By these immense armies, and this newly 
invented mode of warfare, great multitudes were destroyed; 
and they no doubt fulfilled their commission, which was to 
slay the third part of men. 

But the Turks, like the Saracens who preceded them, 
imd an inveterate hatred to the truths of the gospel, and 



112 MSSERTATION OW 

endeavored, as they do still endeavor, with all tlieir powers, 
to instil their own religious opinions into the minds of all 
who fall under their power. Hence, in all the countries 
which they conquered, they brought the christian religion 
into contempt and reproach. They who professed Christia- 
nity, were subjected to many pains and penalties, and were 
liable continually to be insulted and trodden under foot. 
In this sense, they " do hurt" as much with their stings in 
their tails, as with the fire, and smoke, and brimstone, from 
their mouths. 

But still it is a truth, which is too well known to be denied, 
that amidst all the pains, and troubles, and desolation, which 
have been brought on the christian world, by the various 
judgments, and the woes that are past, no permanent or 
efficacious change has been eftected in their religion or their 
morals, " And the rest of the men who were not killed by 
these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, 
that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and 
silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood, which neither can 
see, nor hear, nor walk. Neither repented they of their 
murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor 
of their thefts." We ought to apply these things to our- 
selves; for we are among the number of men who have not 
been destroyed by those plagues. If we have not been eye 
witnesses of those ruins and desolations, we have heard of 
t'itt.m, and we hear of tliem day V»y day, when the judg- 
ments of God are abroad in the earth. While we consider 
the Turks as the most prominent of those whom God has 
appointed to be the executioners of his vengeance on guilty 
christian nations, we are not to forget, that one christian 
nation is frequently made the instrument of executing ven- 
geance on another christian nation; and that civil wars and 
internal commotions, as well as all the evil which we sufier 
from other sources, are so many premonitions, to show us 
our sins, and our danger from the wrath to come. It is 
truly remarkable, and has not failed to be remarked by 
8ome who never thought of the accomplishment of the pro- 
phecy, that wars, and famines, and pestilences, the judg- 
ments with which God has commonly afflicted nations for 
their sins, have not the effects which they seem formerly to 
have had, in softening the human heart, and inducing men 
to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. We 
need only instance, as a proof of this position, the little 
scourge which lately passed over the land in which we live. 
Have not immorality and irreligion prevailed much more 



THE SEA'LS AND tm. IflitJ^IffiTS. US 

atnoiig US since that period? Instead of repenting ami 
humbling ourselves for sin, we have grown in iniquity, len- 
der the very scour-ge which was calculated for our amtnd- 
ment So the same expostulation is properly used with us, 
which was used with the Israelites of old: ** Why should 
you be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more: 
tlie whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." Tt»e 
two prominent sins of the christian world, are idolatry m 
religion, and immorality in the interc6urse of man with man. 
If we do not bow down to stocks and stones, as the heathen 
who know not God, are not all our churches, with very 
few exceptions, corrupted with doctrines, and modes, and 
forms of worship, for which God has given no authority? 
Are murders, fornication, and dishonesty in dealing, less 
prevalent in the world, tiian before these woes were de- 
nounced? It is <:ertain, that neither the Greek nor the 
Roman church has derived the least benefit, in a moral 
point of view, by these judgments^ and it is. no less certain, 
that the protestant churches, generally, are much more cor- 
rupt than they were in the days of the Reformation. There- 
fore, let us not suppose that these declarations have no 
relation to us; for the trath is, we are implicated just as 
much as others. 

The vision contained in the %. chapter, is more august 
than any of the scenes which the apostle had witnessed oa 
the earth. He had seen the throne of God in heaven, sur- 
rounded with majesty, and there was a rainbow about the 
throne: but here he beholds *• a mighty angel descending from 
heaven to earth, clothed with a cloudj he had a rainbow 
about bis head, his countenance was like the sun, and his 
feet as pillars of fire." The glory in which this angel ap- 
pears, and the authority which he assumes, can scarcely be 
thought to agree with any created angel, *' They are minis- 
tering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be 
heirs of salvation:" but this angel seems to have divine au- 
thority inherent in himself. His very appearance shows 
him to be above the rank of angels, and to be no less a per- 
sonage than the Redeemer, descending from heaven to 
earth, to announce the last dispensation of his providence, 
previous to the millennium. His garment was a cloud, to 
signify that his coming at this time should be seen darkly. 
He had a rainbow about his head, to show that he still 
remembered his covenant. His countenance had the 
appearance of the sun, to show his governing and enlight- 
ening power over the human mind; and his legs were like 

10* 



114 urssERTAriojr on 

pillars of fire, to denote the purity and stiibility of his 
government. He had in his hand a little book, or a small 
roll of parchment, oppn, and without a seal; because the 
contents of it were ju^t about to be revealed to the npostle, 
and by him to be communicated to the world. He then 
placed his right foot on the sea, and his left on the earth, 
and he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth; and 
when he cried, seven thunders uttered their voices, &c. 
It seems that these thunders uttered something which was 
quite intelligible to the apostle, and he was about to write 
it, as he had written the other communications; but he was 
forbidden by the angel. It was, no doubt, some terrible 
things which the thunders uttered; but as they are not re- 
vealed to us, it is our duty to be siknt, and not even dare 
to conjecture what they were. While the an^el was stand- 
ing on the sea, and on the earth, as having all nature under 
his feet, ** he lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by 
him that liveth forever, &c. that there should be time no 
longer." Swearing is an act of allegiance in a creature, but 
it is an act of sovereignty in God. •' If I lift up my hand 
to heaven, says God, and say, I live forever." So this act 
of swearing by the Creator of all things, is no proof that 
this was a created angel, but rather the contrary. It is 
very similar to the oath contained in the xlv. of Isaiah: *♦ I 
have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth 
in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every 
knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." These words 
are given us by the prophet, and quoted by the apostle 
Paul, as the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. The meaning 
of that oath is, that all shall stand before him in the last 
judgment, and be obliged to bow to his authority: so, in this 
place, he declares, with the solemnity of an oath, that the 
period announced by the seventh angel, should be the last 
period; in which should be accomplished the whole mystery 
of God, as h€ had declared it to his servants the prophets. 
It is very evident, that this last wo trumpet is not intend- 
ed to announce the end of the world. It seems truly 
astonishing, that it should be viewed in this light, by any 
who ever attempted to expound the scriptures. The mean- 
ing of the proposition, *' time shall be no longer," is 
explained in the verse immediately following, and will be 
seen in a moment, by those who know the meaning of the 
Greek word, which is here rendered time. It never signi- 
fies a particular point in duration, as the time of the day, 
or the period of beginning or ending any work; but always 



THE SEALS AND THE TRUWPBTS. 115 

expresses some length of time, some period, which consists 
of days, or years, or perhaps ages. The duration of the 
world is divided into times, or periods, or dispensations; 
some of them longer, and some shorter. Every one of the 
trumpets calls the attention to a certain time or period, and 
the last trumpet s^ignifies the last of these periods before tli« 
millennium. Some writers have rendered it, ** the time 
shall not be yet:" but this is a forced and unnatural con- 
struction of the Greek language; and there is no necessity 
for it, if we only understand the word time in its proper 
sense, as not signifying a point, but some considerable 
length in duration. This glorious personage, therefore, 
announces, with all the solemnity of an oath, that the time 
or period of the seventh trumpet shall fill up the mystery of 
God, that all the revelations which he has made to his 
prophets shall be accomplished in that period, and then the 
reign of Christ shall commence. 

Considering the subject in this point of view, we see its 
importance. It is worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ to de- 
scend from heaven to earth, in order to make this commu- 
nication. To unravel the secret mysteries of God, which 
have been concealed from the eyes of men, or faintly and 
obscurely revealed, is not only worthy of the Redeemer, 
but it is his proper work in the plan of redemption. It is 
not improbable, that the apostle might have supposed, from 
the appearance, and the words ot this august personage, that 
he was come to announce the last judgment: but if such 
were his thoughts, he was immediately undeceived by a 
voice from heaven, which commanded him to go and take 
the little roll, which was open in the angel's hand. The 
apostle immediately obeyed, and went to the angel, saying, 
" Give me the little roll." He said to him, '• Take it and 
eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter; but it shall be 
in thy mouth sweet as honey." In the first reception of 
some important and interesting communication, there is 
always a degree of satisfaction and delight; but it frequently 
happens afterwards according to the proverb: " In much 
wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge 
increaseth sorrow." This communication, when, it was first 
given to the apostle, was pleasant and delightful, as deli- 
cious food is agreeable to the palate; but when he came to 
digest it, and to understand the nature of the communiczt- 
tion, it was painful and afflicting. " I took the little book," 
says the apostle, "out of the angel's hand, and ate it up," 
&c. Then he said unto me: ** Thou must prophesy before 



116 DISSERTATIOK OX, &C. 

peoples, and nations, and tongues, and many kings." The 
substance of this little book, is no doubt contained in the 
following chapter. It is a necessary appendage, to enable 
us to understand what goes before, and to shed light on 
what comes afterwards. Without it the whole book would 
still be dark and mysterious; and it would be impossible for 
us to have any correct knowledge of the prophecy contain- 
ed in it: but still it is certain, that a clear understanding 
and realizing of the truths which are here brought into view, 
will be a source of sorrow and of painful reflections, to the 
mind of every true servant of God. 

We have now come to the main body of our work. We 
thought is necessary to take a brief view of the subjects con- 
tained in the seven foregoing chapters.that the patient reader 
might bethebetter prepared to enter on the consideration of 
the important scenes which follow,and which relate more im- 
mediately to the times of the end. We shall see that the whole 
is a consistent, a truly divine, and glorious plan; and that 
every link of the great chain of prophecy, must come into 
view, in order to connect the whole. The scenes which we 
are now about to consider, are intended chiefly to illustrate 
tlie works of God in these latter days; and we are carried 
back to past ages, as it were for a moment, that we may 
have a better and more expanded view of the latter times. 



PART II. DISSERTATION III. 

ON THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 

*• And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and- 
the anjj;el stood, saying, rise, and measure the temple of 
God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the 
court, which is without the temple, leave out, and measure 
it not; for it is given unto the gentiles; and the holy city 
shall they tread under foot forty and two months." * This 
was the same angel who was still standing with his one foot 
on the sea, and the other on the earth. He had told the 
apostle, that he must again prophesy, and make many new 
discoveries to mankind; and therefore he oujrht not to think 
that the revelation had come to an end. There were yet 
many things to be opened up and made known to mankind. 
A reed like a rod, or a small walking cane, was given to 
him; and the angel commanded him " to rise, and measure 
the temple of God," &c. The meaning of this symbolical 
action of measuring, is appropriation. We are accustomed 
to measure land or other property, when we are resolved to 
hold it in possession. By th« act of measuring, we declare 
the y>roperty to be ours. But the fact of measuring would 
not, of itself, make known whether we intended to retain 
the property in our own hands, or dispose of it to another. 
There is therefore an explanation given. The temple, the 
altar, and the worshippers, are to be retained: while the 
cojirt and the holy city, are to Be given into the hands of 
tlie gentiles. It is well known that there was a number of 
courts without the temple, and one of them especially, was 
called the court of the gentiles. All classes of men. whether 
Jews or Gentiles, had access to the outer court j but the Jews 
only were suffered to enter the inner courts. That court 
which contained the altar of sacrifice, was called the court 
of the priests, and was next to the temple. It was separa- 
ted only by a small railing, from the court in which all the 
Israelites assembled. Hence the inner courts, where the 
worshippers :net, are all included in this measurenient But 
the whole city of Jerusalem and the whole outer court of 
the temple, are left out of the measurement, to be given into 
the hands of the gentiles, to be profaned by them, for forty 
and two months, or 1260 years. This is the same period. 



118 ' DISSERTATION ON 

which, in the book of Daniel, is designated by a time, tilnes 
and an half, or three years and an lialf, forty-two months, 
or 1260 days. 

By the temple, the altar, and the worshippers, which are 
measured, we are to understand the true christian church, 
who worship God according to his own ordinances. We 
are taught, also, by the use of these symbols, that the church 
of God under the New Testament, is the same church 
which existed under tlie former dispensation; and that, al- 
though the ordinances are not entirely the same; yet they 
are regulated and prescribed with as much accuracy as in 
any former period. There is perhaps more intellectual wis- 
dom, and more exercise of mind required, to enable us to 
discern them; but it is as great a sin to add to, or diminish 
from, the prescribed ordinances of worship in this dispensa- 
tion, as in the times of Moses and Aaron. The temple, the 
altar, and the worshippers, are all within the limits of God's 
measurement; and are preserved by him within the boun- 
daries which he himself lias prescribed. We are also taught 
by this representation, that during this period, the number 
of true worshippers should be very few, in comparison with 
those who profane the sanctuary. Tlie true worshippers 
are those only " who come to God with true hearts, in full 
assurance of faith, having their hearts sprinkled from an 
evil conscience; and who enter into the holiest by the blood 
of Jesus. The number of these worshippers is said to be 
so small, during this period of 1260 years, that they might 
be measured with a reed like a rod. By the gentiles, who 
profane the outer court of the temple, and the holy city, 
we are to understand the great mass of mankind, who are 
called by the christian name; but do not worship God ac- 
cording to his commandments. Men may attend to all the 
outward forms of worship, which God has prescribed, and 
yet they may not come to him with their hearts: and if they 
have wrong vie^ts of the nature and attributes of God, or of 
the plan of salvation; or if they worship in a way which he 
has not appointed in his word, it is of little consequence how 
sincere and zealous they are, their worship is profane, and 
they are not admitted into the sanctuary above. They are 
gentiles in their hearts, their lives, and conversation; al- 
though they outwardly bear the name of christians. These 
gentiles compose by far the largest number of professing 
christians, in every part of the world. They profane the 
holy city, and the outer court of the temple, while they alter 
and change the worship after their own inventions, to suit 



THE XI. or THE REVELATION. 119 

their taste or their interest. By their policy they have been 
able to engross to themselves, generally, through the world, 
all the outward honors and emoluments of the church. Iii 
fact, the christian churches every where, are generally un- 
der the control of such characters; and they raise themselves 
to power, and influence, and wealth, by making the gospel a 
means, or instrument, to promote their own selfish purposes. 

This is the view which the word of God gives us of the 
state of Christianity in our age, as well as in the ages past. 
It is the subject of prophecy, both in the Old and New- 
Testament. When Micah declared that Zion should be 
ploughed like a field, and Jerusalem should become heaps, 
and the mountain of the Lord's house should be like the high 
places of the forest," he did not merely exhibit the present 
condition of the city of Jerusalem. The chief subject is 
the spiritual condition of the church in the latter days. 
When the Lord Jesus Christ declared, that Jerusalem should 
be trodden under foot of the gentiles, he did not merely 
point out its destruction by the Romans, but the spiritual 
condition of the church during, the long period of antichris- 
tian usurpation. It is as true in a spiritual, as it is true in 
a literal sense, that Jerusalem is trodden under foot of the 
gentiles. Thus the holy city is to be profaned for 1260 
years; and at the end of this time, the holy people are to be 
scattered. If we had a correct knowledge of the doctrines 
and duties of true godliness, of the holiness of the Divine 
Being, and his hatred of idolatry; and, ^bove all, if our 
minds were not blinded by a spurious charity, which puts 
darkness for light, and light for darkness, evil for good, and 
good for evil, we should be able to see that this is the very 
condition of the church at this time. The holy city is trod- 
den under foot by the gentiles, and the power of the holy 
people is scattered. 

But as God has never left himself without a witness, in 
any period of the world, or in any country, whether chris- 
tian or heathen; so, in this age of profanation, and of 
treading the sanctuary under foot, he has provided a few 
characters among mankind, who choose to forego all worldly 
advantages; and. while they mourn over the follies and 
vices of men, they stand forward, and proclaim the truth of 
God; bearing testimony against all errors and wickedness, 
both in principle and practice. '* I will give power," says 
this divine angel, '« unto my two witnesses, and they shall 
prophesy 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth." Here we see 
plainly, that tliis angel is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ. 



120 DISSERTATION OPT 

He himself was the true and faithful witness, and he gives 
power to his witnesses. *' Behold, 1 have given him," says 
God, '*to be a witness to the people, a leader and com- 
mander to the people. " Thus he appeared in the world as 
a witness, and before Pontius Pilate he witnessed the good 
confession; and thus he is aUo the leader and commander 
of the witnesses They are under his authority, go at his 
bidding, and speak whatever he commands them. 

The witnesses are men of like passions with others, and a 
race of men who follow in succession for the period of 1£60 
years. They are generally ministers of the gospel, for they 
are here called prophets: but they are not exclusively minis- 
ters of the gospel; for any christian may be a witness of the 
truth, who, with intelligence and wisdom, and a consistent 
character, is able and willing" to contend earnestly for the 
faith which was once delivered to the saints." But the 
witnesses are not babes in Christ. They are not ignorant 
of the truths of the gospel, so that they cannot give a reason 
for the hope that is in them. They are not such men as 
Naaman the Syrian, who, although he resolved to be a wor- 
shipper of the'true God, yet wished to be permitted to bow 
occasionally in the house of Rimmon, that he might not 
offend his master, by appearing to despise his god. A wit- 
ness is an intelligent christian, sound in the faith: one who 
not only knows the truth, but is able to bring it forward, in 
such a way as to command the attention of those to whom 
he speaks: one whose moral character stands unimpeach- 
able: finally, one who is ready, at all times, to bear every 
inconvenience, and all opposition, with patience, and, like 
Moses, choosing rather to sutler affliction with the people of 
God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: esteem- 
ing the reproach of Christ greater riches than all human 
treasure, because he has '* respect unto the recompense of 
the reward." Such characters are well represented by 
mourners, and clothed in sackcloth. This was frequently 
the dress in which the ancient prophets appeared, especially 
in times of religious declension, and when the Israelites 
were provoking the vengeance of heaven. Elijah wore a 
garment made of hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins. 
Such was the costume of John the Baptist. The prophet 
Isaiah, although he was often at the court of the kings of 
Judah, was accustomed to wear sackcloth. Hence, although 
there is no particular command given, concerning the 
clothing of those who bear testimony for the truth, yetlhere 
is always something in their character and habits, which is 



THE XI. or THE REVELATlOy. IHI 

a tacit reproof of the follies and vices of mankind. But in 
their conversation, and intercourse in the world, thej are 
not backward to speak against all immorality, and especially 
against all religious errors. Thej attend to the command 
given to the prophet: *' Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy 
voice like a trumpet; show my people their trangressions, 
and the house of Israel their sins." 

It is easy to see that men who are possessed of such a 
spirit of martyrdom, will never be very numerous in any age 
of the world, or any state of society. Almost all men 
would become christians, were it not for the cross which is 
always attached to the christian profession; and many are 
willing to bear a small degree of sorrow and humiliation on 
account of the gospel: but there are few christians, in any 
age, who can properly be called martyrs, or witnesses. 
There is generally something wanting in the multitude or 
common mass even of true christians, to entitle them to the 
character. Some have not enough of knowledge. Others 
want wisdom. Others fortitude, or firmness, &c. But 
God has determined that during this period of 1260 years, 
while the gentiles shall profane the outer sanctuary, and 
the holy city, there shall be so many of them in the world, 
as shall bear sufficient evidence for the truth of the gospel. 
According to the law of Moses, two witnesses, bearing tes- 
timony to the same fact, were sufficient to convict one who 
was accused before a court of justice* No man was pun- 
ished on the mere testimony of one witness, without some 
other corroborating evidence. Such, indeed, is the general 
practice of all courts of justice, throughout the world. 
There must always be something more than the testimony 
of one individual, to satisfy the court that the accused is 
guilty, or else they will find difficulty in passing the sen- 
tence of condemnation. Therefore during this whole period 
of the reign of error, there is always a sufficient number of 
such characters, scattered through every christian commu- 
nity, to whom the Redeemer has given power, to testify 
against the errors and vices of mankind: so that the world 
stands convicted by the testimony of the witnesses. During 
all this period there has scarcely been any part of Christen- 
dom left in the same condition of the inhabitants of Laish, 
who were quiet and secure, and lived carelessly, there be- 
ing no one among them who showed his disapprobation of 
their sins. It would be easy to bring abundance of evidence 
on this subject, from the history of the church, even in the 
most trying times of persecution: but enough of this has 
U 



122 DISSEBTATION OK 

been d»ne, by older and better writers than the author of 
this little work. Every martyrology is a proof on this sub- 
ject, as to the times of which it treats, and it is well known 
that hundreds and thousands have suffered martyrdom du- 
ring the reign of Antichrist. But still new witnesses succeed- 
ed, to fill their place. The true church has generally been 
like the Israelites in the bondage of Egypt; the more they af- 
flicted them, the more they grew; so that it became a proverb: 
" The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." In 
some places the witnesses have been numerous, and in 
others few; but in every part of the christian world, there 
has been a sufficient number to confirm the truth by their 
testimony, and if necessary, to seal it with their blood. 

But the principal trait in the character of the witnesses, 
is, that they hold up the light of the true gospel to the eyes 
of mankind. They are not only the salt of the earth, by 
which the world is preserved from entire corruption, but 
they are the light of the world, without which it would be 
covered with moral darkness. The truth of God has, in 
itself, a power, which renders it superior to all error and 
falsehood. When it is brought forward in its own proper 
colors, without any false gloss, it will generally bring con- 
viction. It is a crime of deep dye, to mingle falsehood with 
truth, in order to render it more palatable to the corrupted 
and vitiated taste of the world: and it is a sin which God 
wall not fail to punish in the ministers of his gospel, when, 
under the pretence of preaching his word, they preach their 
own thoughts and imaginations. In this way they prophesy 
lies in the name of God. He commands his ministers to 
speak the truth, without varnish or decoration. No book 
ever published to the world is so full of sublime sentiments 
as the word of God; and no other book has so little ornament. 
In this respect, every minister of the gospel ought to imitate 
the penmen of the sacred scriptures. " The prophet that 
hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my 
word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaif 
to the wheat? saith the Lord." That part of mankind who 
are pleased and delighted with the ornaments of language, is 
here represented as chall'; while those who love the plain, 
unvarnished truth, are the wheat. The particles of chaff 
are indeed more numerous than the grains of solid wheat; 
but they bear no comparison with them in real value. One 
great evil in the preachiiig of modern times, is, that it pre- 
fers the chaff to the wheat; and the discourses are better 
adapted to please than to edify. They are calculated to 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 123 

amuse and entertain, but not to enlighten the understanding 
in the truths of the word of God. 

A witness is one who illumines the mind by his preaching; 
who opens up and explains the word of God, and sets it in , 
a clear light before the minds of his audience. His great 
object is to speak the word of God faithfully; for he knows 
that the chaff is nothing, when compared with the wheat, 
and must, in fact, be separated from it, before the latter is 
brought into the granary of God. The witnesses are repre- 
sented as standing up, and exhibiting the truth. *' They 
are the two olive trees, and the two golden candlesticks, 
standing before the God of the earth." In order to see the 
force of this representation, we must have recourse to the 
seventh chapter of the prophecy of Zechariah. The pro- 
phet, in vision, beheld a candlestick, all of gold, such as 
those used in the temple. It had seven lamps, one on each 
of the six branches, and one in the centre. On this central 
lamp, there was a bowl, which served as a reservoir for the 
oil, and from this it was communicated, through the seven 
golden pipes, to each of the seven lamps. He saw, also, 
two olive trees, one on each side of the candlestick; and 
these trees emptied the oil out of themselves, by golden 
pipes, into the bowl of the candlestick. Here are two dis- 
tinct representations; the olive trees, and the candlesticks. 
The one represents the true church of God, and the other 
the true ministers of the gospel. As the olive trees supply 
the lamps with oil, and the lamps, when lighted, illuminate 
the place where they stand; so the true ministers supply 
the churches with the light of the gospel, and the light is 
thus exhibited to the world. Here there is mention made 
of two golden candlesticks, instead of the one which was seen 
in the vision by the prophet. This is, perhaps, intended to 
teach us, that the witnesses are more numerous in the New 
Testament dispensation, than in ancient times; and that, 
as there is a plurality of individual witnesses, so there is 
also a plurality of churches, that bear testimony to the truth. 
We are not to suppose, that the truth is only to be found in 
one denomination of christians. There are some churches 
that differ in their views of some of the more obscure parts 
of the revelation of God, and yet bear their testimony to 
the truth. The unity of the church is entirely consistent 
with perfect freedom of sentiment; and with difference in 
opinion concerning things that are not clearly revealed. It 
is antichristian tyranny alone, which attempts to put fetters 
on the human mind, — to restrain Ireedom of thought, and 



124 SISSBRTATIOir 09 

exchange of sentiment, that a combination of tjrants might 
brin^ the world into subjection to themselves. Although Paul 
and Barnabas loved each other as brethren, yet they differed 
in opinion concerning the course they should pursue in the pro- 
pagation of the gospel; and the contention was so sharp be- 
tween them, that they separated the one from the other. But 
we are notto suppose that these witnesses ceased to bear their 
testimony to the truth, because they were separated. Theise- 
ven churches of Asia appear to have been independent of each 
other, and each of them to have pursued their own course, 
according to their views of the truth: there seems also to 
have been some errors in most of them; but still their can- 
dlesticks were not removed, until they had fallen into 
greater errors than those for which they were admonished. 
The reformers of the sixteenth century had difterences of 
opinion; but still many of them were true witnesses. The 
churches are not to expect to be able to see eye to eye, until 
tliat glorious period shall come, when the earth shall be 
tilled with the knowledge of the Lord. 

But it is a prominent trait in the character of the 
witnesses, that they always stand as candlesticks in the 
presence of God. Their principles and their practice are 
always set before him, for his inspection. They have no 
hidden motives, no secret viev/s, no hidden designs of pro- 
moting their own interest and aggrandizement in the world, 
no intrigues or combinations for raising themselves to emi- 
nence, or for keeping themselves in power: they merely 
stand in the presence of God, and exhibit the light of his 
truth, with the hopes that his spirit will make it eifectual, 
in his own way and time, for the illumination of the hearts 
of men. The witnesses will not condescend to the little 
base contrivances and inventions, by which some temporary 
religious excitements are produced. Although they possess 
the true humility of the gospel, yet they have a dignity and 
elevation of character, by which they are raised above every 
little artifice and mean contrivance. They know that they 
are set for the defence and propagation, and for the final 
establishment of the gospel throughout the world, and ^hey 
go about the work in simple dependence on God, and in 
obedience to his commandments; and they do nothing for 
which he has not given them authority. In this respect, 
there is a marked and striking difference between them and 
the false teachers. They always resort to every means in 
their power, for the purpose of making converts. Like the 
Pharisees of old, they compass sea and laud to make one 



^HE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 155 

proselyte. They use every bait, and every allurement 
which their own ingenuity can devise, to catch the unwary 
and the ignorant, and bring them under their power. But 
the witnesses are perfectly satisfied with the means of God'S 
appointment; and while they hold out the light of truth, 
that it may shine into the hearts of men, they trust in God 
to give the enlightening influence of his spirit, and make 
the means effectual for the salvation of those whom he has 
ordained to everlasting life. They catch no man with guile. 
They do not, in that false sense which some are pleased to 
cive to the words of Pdul, '* become all things to all men." 
rhey indeed exert themselves to the utmost of their power 
for the promulgation of the gospel; and for this purpose, 
they give up all their own prejudices, particular views, 
interests, and gratifications; but they always keep within 
tlie limits of honesty and candor. 

From this description of the witnesses, a description 
which is fully authorized by the representation, it is easy to 
see, that the world and they can never live in perfect 
friendship. Those who conform themselves, in some de- 
cree, to the ways of the world, can alone expect to gain its 
tavor. Men will bear to be admonished and reproved, if 
their favorite vices are kept out of view. There are many 
who will make no objection to have the moral duties fully 
set before <hem, and highly commended, and even to 
have the contrary vices held up to public reprobation; but 
they cannot bear to hear the exposure of errors in religion. 
There are so many different views of religious doctrines, 
and modes of worship, while all profess to take the scrip- 
tures for their standard, that many really suppose there is 
little harm in religious errors; and it gives them pain to 
hear those errors brought forward and reprobated, in the 
same manner as if they were vices, or errors in morality. 
Most men, also, have some favorite opinions, as well as 
some favorite sins, for which they have formed a strong 
attachment, and therefore they have a proportional dislike 
to those who expose the fallacy of their opinions. But the 
witnesses do not hesitate to expose the falsehood of every 
religious doctrine and sentiment, which are contradicted by 
the passage of scripture they are explaining; and their views 
and explanations come in constant collision with the favor- 
ite opinionsandpreposses&ionsof multitudes; and theref(>re 
it is not at all wonderful, that they should be considered as 
public enemies. 

11* 



126 DISSERTATIOX OH 

Viewing them in this light, it is very natural they should 
endeavor to hurt or injure them: Although all men vt^ill 
applaud that divine precept of morality, given by our Lord, 
"Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Do 
good to them that hate you," &c. — yet very few understand 
it, and still fewer endeavor to carry it into practice. Men 
have frequently the power of hurting the witnesses, and 
they seldom fail to improve it, although the days of violent 
and bloody persecution have generally passed away. There 
are now no racks, and gibbets, and stakes, no faggots and 
fires, publicly prepared for torturing the bodies of the wit- 
nesses; yet there are many other ways of inflicting pain, 
than by torturing the body. Every man that bears a con- 
sistent and decided testimony for the whole truth of God; 
who does not shun to declare his whole counsel, but, like 
the apostle, keeps himself pure from the blood of all men, 
will find, through the whole course of his life, that the wea- 
pons of the enemy are not at all blunted by the professed 
charity of the world. They will always find some means 
of hurting him. If they cannot inflict corporeal pains, or 
if they cannot incarcerate his body, they can render his 
life bitter, by a constant and persevering opposition. They 
will conceal themselves, and shoot their poisoned arrows, 
which, although they cannot kill, will render his life a con- 
stant scene of troubles and vexation. But, says the angel, 
*• if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their 
mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will 
hurt them, he must in this manner be killed." This fire is 
designed to represent the reproofs, admonitions, and warn- 
ings of the witnesses. Any man who has ever been guilty 
of sin, and has been sharply and faithfully reproved, will 
know, by a little reflection, the meaning of the symbol. 
Every faithful reproof biings compunction to the heart, and 
frequently occasions such pain as few are willing to bear, 
although it might be the means of saving them from eternal 
pain. We must, however, understand this declaration, in 
perfect consistency with the exercise of love to the person 
reproved. The witnesses have no desire to revenge them- 
selves on those who wish to injure them: on the contrary, 
it is their intention to do them good, and to save them from 
the wrath to come. But the sins of their enemies are ag- 
gravated by tiieir good disposition. It is not so great a 
sin to return evil for evil, as to return evil for good: and 
meii, therefore, by rejecting tlie testimony of the witnesses. 



THE XI. or THE REVELATION. 127 

hating their persons, and doing what they can to hurt them, 
do bring; a dreadful curse on themselves, even the fire of 
the wrath of God, which shall burn forever. This fire is 
said to proceed out of the mouths of the witnesses, because 
the tortures of the heart, and the compunctions of a guilty 
conscience, for the rejection of a preached gospel, and for 
their hatred of those who endeavored to save them from the 
vengeance of heaven, will constitute the chief ingredient of 
misery, in that place where their worm dieth not, and their 
fire is not quenched. This will inevitably be the end of 
every one who hurts, or even wishes to hurt, any of the wit- 
nesses. Many have these wishes or desires in their hearts, 
while they are not conscious of their existence. There ar« 
frequently unreasonable prejudices, or dislikes, which rise 
in the minds of the hearers of the gospel, against those who 
tell them the truth. These finally grow into hatred, and 
rancorous enmity, and, in many ways, they return evil for 
good, and hatred for love, while they have no knowledge 
nor suspicion of the evil that works within them. 

But these witnesses, although they are held in little esti- 
mation among men, are, in fact the most important charac- 
ters in the world. " These have power to shut heaven, that 
it rain not, in the days of their prophecy; and have power 
over waters, to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth 
with all plagues, as often as they will. " We are here taught, 
in the first place, that the witnesses are men of prayer, 
and, like Jacob, have a great degree of faith, so that they 
can prevail with God. This shutting up of heaven, is a 
manifest allusion to the prophecy of Elijah, in which he 
declared to Ahab, **As the Lord liveth, before whom I 
stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but ac- 
cording to my word." He had received power to shut 
heaven for a certain period, and he here makes the fact 
known to Ahab. The apostle James, speaking of the efficacy 
of prayer, says: **Elias was a man, subject to like passions 
as we aie; and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; 
and it rained not on the land, by the space of three years 
and six months. The period of the prophesying of the 
witnesses is symbolically three years and six months, or 
1260 days; and therefore Elias himself was a symbol of the 
witnesses. They also have power to shut heaven, in a spiri- 
tual or symbolic sense. As, in the days of Ahab, tlie 
bounties of heaven were abused and prostituted for the pur- 
poses of idolatry, and therefore God was pleased to afflict 
the idolaters, by depriving them of the rain from heaven; 



Ift8> DISSERTATION OUT 

§0 when men abuse and prostitute the spiritual blessings of 
the gospel for similar purposes, and will not hear nor attend 
to the truth, as it is proclaimed by the witnesses; when 
they cannot endure sound doctrine, but, after their own 
lasts, heap to themselves teachers, &c., they shall not be 
favored with the influences of the Holy Spirit. It is right 
and proper for every minister of the gospel, when men will 
not endure the doctrines of truth, which he proclaims, to 
pray earnestly, that they may not be encouraged, by success 
in their wayward courses, and that they may not have the 
out-pouring of that Holy Spirit, whose truth they have des- 
pised. In all such cases there is no doubt that their prayers 
Bhall be answered, like the prayer of Elias. 

But it is said, also, that they have power over waters, to 
turn them to blood. This is spoken in allusion to the 
plagues which were brought on the land of Egypt. In those 
days, Moses and Aaron were the witnesses, who stood be- 
fore God, and exhibited his truth before Pharaoh and the 
Egyptians. They, like Elijah were symbols of the witnesses 
in these latter times. The waters, or the rivers and foun- 
tains in the land of Egypt, as they were necessary for the 
temporal life and comfort of the inhabitants, so they are 
symbolical of the rivers and streams of everlasting life, 
which flow through the ordinances of the gospel. These 
are the streams which the witnesses have the power to turn 
into blood. When men will not drink of the pure streams 
of gospel truth, dispensed by their ministry, but turn away 
from them, and reject and hate them, then these waters of 
life, as respects these characters, shall be turned into blood. 
In this spiritual sense, they shall have "blood to drink, for 
they are worthy." 

The same observations may be made, with respect to every 
other plague, with which the witnesses are said to have power 
to smite the earth. They are the cause why the spiritual 
plagues, or the vials of the wrath uf God, shall be poured on 
the earth in the latter days. Their prayers and complaints 
shall all be answered by terrible things, in righteousness, on 
those who have despised their ministry, hated their persons, 
and inflicted on them all the pain in their power. 

Bat it is declared, that, •* when they shall have finished 
their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottom- 
less pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome 
them, and kill tliem; and their drad bodies shall lie in the 
street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom 
and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." The pe- 



THE XI. OF THE RETELATIOK. 129 

nod in which the witnesses are said to bear testimony in 
sackcloth, is 1260 years; and at the close of this period, a 
fatal and exterminating war shall rage against them. They 
are to be slain, their dead bodies cast out, and treated with 
every mark of indignity. The power by which this work is 
accomplished, is called the beast, and is particularly descri- 
bed in the xiii.andxvii. chapters. This beast is a spiritual 
power, which has its residence, or the chief seat of its autho- 
rity, in the metropolis of the Roman empire. In a future dis- 
sertation, we shall show what is meant by this beast. At 
present, we shall not dwell on this part of the subject, any 
further than to state, that this power is not to be limited to 
any particular part of the earth. He is seated in the temple 
of God, showing himself that he is God. Hence his power, 
like the power of the Almighty, operates where it is not seen, 
and produces effects where men have no knowledge of its 
influence. The error of protestant commentators gene- 
rally, is, that they have limited this spiritual power to tlie 
church and city of Rome, and have thus given the prophecy 
a mere private interpretation, and rendered it of little use, 

fenerally, to mankind. By this mistake, the churches 
ave been, in a great measure, deprived of the benefit of 
this book of Revelation. If all the scenes of this prophecy 
are to be transacted in the Roman church, they are truly of 
very little importance to us, and the knowledge of them 
will not repay the labor of acquiring it. But when we 
understand that this beast is intended, not only to represent 
the church of Rome, but all other churches which have fol- 
lowed her example; and that her example has been followed, 
in many respects, by all other churches that have risen to 
any degree of power and popular influence; and that the 
beast makes war with the witnesses, in this land, as well as 
in every other part of the christian world; we can then 
apply the prophecy to our own times, and our own circum- 
stances, and can realize the import of the promise, •' Blessed 
is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this pro- 
phecy," &c. We shall assume it as a fact, for the present, 
until we come to the proper place for illustration, that the 
beast has power in every part of Christendom; and not 
merely in the Roman Catholic, butin the protestant churches. 
It will surely not be denied, by any who know the arts and 
devices by which the Roman church established her power 
in the world, when they see the same arts and devices re^ 
sorted to by other churches, for the establishment of their 
power. Rome is indeed said to be *• the mother of harlots;'* 



ISO DiSs^RTATioir cm 

but it may be said, with the same propriety, of many of the 
protestant churches in the present time, " as is the mother, 
so are the daughters." 

Since, therefore, Christianity is corrupted in every part of 
the earth, as well as ia»the city of Rome, or in the ten king- 
doms which compose the Roman empire, the witnesses must 
be found every where through Christendom, and especially 
tlirough the protestant churches. In any other view of the 
subject, we shall be obliged to give the prophecy a private 
interpretation. Hence this is^ a spiritual war — not a series 
of pitched battles, garments rolled in blood, and fields 
covered with carnage; but a contest between truth and error 
in religion, or between the authority of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the authority of men. In this war, the Redeemer 
fights by means of his witnesses; but the world is against 
them, and they are overpowered, cast down, and put out 
of influence. It is impossible to give this prophecy any other 
interpretation, without the most glaring absurdity, and even 
the impossibility that it should ever be accomplished. Shall 
we say that t le witnesses must literally be put to death in 
the city of Rome, or in the ten kingdoms? This is abso- 
lutely impossible, in the present ptogi essive state of religious 
toleration. This kind of persecution would not be tolerated 
even in the city of Rome itself I'hey would not suffer the 
bodies of the vilest malefactors to lie in the streets of that 
city for three days, without giving them a sepulchre. This 
state of feeling, instead of suffering a check, is growing in 
the world, and there is not the smallest probability, that 
mankind will ever again return to that savage state, in which 
this prophecy could be literally fulfilled. But when we view 
it as a spiritual war, there are in the way no difficulties 
whatever. It is very easy to conceive of a state of religion, 
throughout the world, such as is frequently described by the 
ancient prophets, as existing in the land of Israel. '* 0, that 
I had in the wilderness," says the prophet Jeremiah, *• a 
lodge of wayfaring men, that' I might leave my people, and 
go trom them; for they are all adulterers, an assembly of 
treacherous men," &c. And the propliet Micah exclaims; 
**The good man is perished from the earth, and there is 
none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood, and 
they hunt every man his brother with a net. The best of 
them is a briar, and the most upright is sharper than a thorn 
hedge," &c. We are to bear in mind, that the prophets 
describe, not only the moral condition of the Israelites in 
their own times, but the moral condition of the christian 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 131 

world in the latter days, previous to the fall of Antidhrist, 
and the introduction of the reign of the saints, or in the 
time of the last wo trumpet. Truly, if we compare these 
descriptions of human character, with the times in which 
we live, we shall not find them very unsuitable. The Jews 
were commanded, in the law of Moses, when they gathered 
in the vintage, to leave some of the grapes to be gathered 
afterwards, by the poor, the widow, and the fatherless: but 
it was not to be expected, in such cases, that the best of the 
grapes would be left for this purpose. The first ripe grapes, 
especially, would not be suffered to remain until the vine- 
yards were gleaned; and if any one were to go into the 
vineyard at such a time, and hope to find a cluster of the 
first ripe grapes, he would be miserably disappointed. 
*' There would be no cluster for him to eat." By this 
figure, it is intended to describe the moral condition of the 
world in these latter days. Instead of finding the best fruits 
of Christianity, which ought to be expected from the privi- 
leges we enjoy, the accurate observer of the religious world 
must exclaim, with the prophet, •* the good man is perished 
from the earth," &c. An upright man is seldom to be 
found. There are more murders committed, and a greater 
degree of the horrible thirst for revenge, than there have 
been in any previous age, since the times of barbarism have 
passed away. Men seek to entangle one another in their 
wiles and snares, as if they were sent into the world for 
this purpose. Justice is very frequently denied to the poor 
and the oppressed, and every thing is carried by combina- 
tions of the rich and powerful; so that an honest man has 
little to hope for, by entering into a contest for his rights. 
It may well be said, that '* the best of them is as a briar, and 
the most upright sharper than a thorn hedge." It is true, 
there are some exceptions to this general deseription. 
There were some exceptions in the days of Micah. But as 
it was then generally true of the Israelites, so it is also gene- 
rally true of mankind in the times in which we live. 

Men usually pay but little attention to descriptions of 
human character, which represent their own age as worse 
than the ages past; because it is common for those who have 
not succeeded in their worldly affairs, and have siiifered 
much from the dishonesty and want of integrity of others, 
to exclaim against the morals of the age. Those who are 
advanced in years, are very apt to censure the manners of 
the young, whether they are deserving of it or not: but still 
it is a manifest truth, that societies, like individuals, are 



13!^ DISSERTATION OJT 

always progressing in virtue or in vice; and that the world, 
from one age to another, is always changing its moral cha- 
racter. It is well known, that in the tenth and eleventh 
centuries, the darkness of ignorance and superstition covered 
the face of the christian world, and there was scarcely a 
ray of moral or religious light, to diispel the midnight gloom 
from the mind of any individual. In the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries, the christian world altered its character 
entirely, and light sprung up to them out of the darkness. 
Mankind began to understand their civil and religious 
rights, and tyranny, both spiritual and temporal, from that 
time to the present, has been losing influence. Still the 
discerning mind will find something in the moral feelings 
of mankind, in the present age, which is, perhaps, as unfa- 
vorable to the influence of Christianity, as any thing in the 
dark ages. "While they refuse to bow to the despots of the 
earth, and break in pieces the trammels of bigotry and 
superstition, the Lord Jesus Christ, the rightful sovereign of 
the heavens and the earth, has also, in a great degree, lost 
his authority over their hearts. His worship is neglected 
by multitudes, and the mass of those who render to him any 
kind of worship, are, in a great degree, regardless of his 
authority. They pay little attention to his commandments. 
He has not only commanded us to worship him, but he has 
prescribed the form, and the kind of worship with which alone 
he will be plea&ed; and those who worship him after their 
own thoughts, are said to provoke him to anger to his face. 
The witnesses have always contended for the supremacy of 
tlie Redeemer; and this is the object against which the ene- 
my has directed his artillery in all ages. But in this age, 
the witnesses have been defeated and put down, by the 
multiplicity of human forms, and the inventions of men, 
which they have brought into the worship of God. It was 
comparatively easy for them to contend for the faith of the 
gospel, and the purity of worship, against the palpable 
errors and impurities of the Roman church; but they could 
not contend successfully against ten thousand innovations, 
introduced by almost every religious sect, and some of them 
so very much resembling; the truth, that ft-w could discern 
the difference. There are in the world so many imitations 
of true religion, and these imitations are so like the reality, 
that a man must be more than a babe in ('hrist, and have his 
conscience well exercised to discern het-ve^n «ood and evil, 
or else he will most inevitably be letl imo error. But there 
are very few christians in this age, who have advanced far 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 135 

beyond the infancy of Christianity. They are generally 
unable, in this respect, to discern between good and evil; 
and thus the adversary has gained the victory over the 
witnesses. 

It may indeed be thought incredible, that these things 
should take place, at a period when the most powerful and 
successful exertions are making for the propagation of the 
gospel; — when the bible is translated into almost all lan- 
guages, and sent into almost all nations; and when the 
christian churches are making such great and laudable 
exertions to send the preached gospel into all the world. 
But the wonder will cease, if we only consider the manner 
in which these exertions are directed. In the missionary 
operations of the present day, there is a near resemblance 
to the operations of powerful kingdoms, when they desire to 
form colonies in other parts of the world. The great object 
is to add to their territory and power, and if not to increase 
the number of their subjects, at least to strengthen their 
own power by new alliances. Again, it is impossible that 
these sectaries should establish a purer religion in any hea- 
then country, than they have amongthemselves. While they 
propagate the gospel, they, of course, propagate their own 
corruptions of it; and thus the charity of mankind, and their 
most laudable endeavors, are turned from their proper chan- 
nel, and a corrupted gospel is generally circulated through 
the world, instead of the true gospel of Christ. The gene- 
ral distribution of the sacred scriptures is, indeed, a great 
and important benefit, and will, in the course of a few gene- 
rations, produce glorious results. But an illiterate heathen 
needs not only the bible, but also an exposition of its doc- 
trines, and of the duties which it inculcates, to enable him 
to derive any immediate benefit from its contents. We 
acknowledge the necessity of this among ourselves, not only 
by the preaching of the gospel, in which the scriptures are 
read and explained every Sabbath, but by the numerous 
expositions of the scriptures which we have among us; and 
shall we say that these things are not wanted among the 
heathen? But the great reason why the bible is circulated 
without note or commentary, is confessedly, that one sect 
might not have the advantage of another, in circulating its 
particular views of gospel truth. But if we carefully exa- 
mine this fact, we shall see in it a strong proof that ti e 
witnesses are slain, or at least, that they have not their 
proper influence among mankind. We send the bible to 
the heathen, without any particular testimony to the truths 
13 



1S4 DISSEKTATIOlf Olf 

it reveals, — a plain evidence that we cannot agree among 

ouFselvei as to the meaning of the bible, and that we have 
none among us, on whom we can rely for an exposition of 
its truths. It is by many thought to be a doctrine, founded 
on the errors of the church of Rome, that the scriptures are 
of little benefit, unless they are accompanied with the testi- 
mony of thechurchjanditis adoctrinewhich has been greatly 
abused, for the propagation of error: but it contains an 
important truth. I ask, what great benefit could we derive 
from the bible, at this moment, if we were in the circum- 
stances of the ignorant heathen? We should at once find 
the necessity for some one to teach us the use of the bible, 
and the way in which we ought to worship the God whom it 
reveals. We should still find our need for the two olive 
trees, and the two golden candlesticks, to stand with us, 
when we come into the presence of God. These observa- 
tions are not made with the intention of casting any reflec- 
tions on bible societies. They have probably done the best 
they 'could in their circumstances: but our design is, to show 
that there is something wanting in these institutions, which 
cannot be supplied, until the witnesses shall have risen, and 
ascended to heaven. 

It is therefore not at all incredible, that the witnesses 
siiouid be slain, and their bodies lying in the street, in the 
Tery time in which we live. It is in fact the most natural 
occurrence which can take place in the present circum- 
stances of the religions world: — that amidst the multiplici- 
ty of religious sentiments, and modes of worship, and of the 
conflicting opinions of mankind, the truth should fall in the 
streets; and those who endeavor to support it, should be 
trampled under foot. Even the charity which is so much 
applauded and cultivated among professors of religion, has 
no tendency to support the truth. It is precisely of the 
same kind with the charity, which the heathen nations had 
for each other, in the worship of their gods. They could all 
unite occasionally in worship, and one nation would fre- 
quently honor the gods of another nation; and thus they pro- 
moted and encouraged what they supposed to be good feel- 
ings in religion: but they found no such charity among chris- 
tians in those early ages, and therefore they hated them. 
The witnesses have none of this charity. Although they 
love their fellow men, and endeavor to promote the best 
interests of all; yet they never show any approbation of er- 
ror, that they may gain the good will of them that uphold it. 
This is, in fact, the great reason why they lost their inftu- 



THE XI. OT THE REVELATION, 135 

CTice. The charity of the world demanded a sacrifice of 
principle: their consciences would not suffer them to make 
the sacrifice; and therefore they were hated and despised by 
all parties in the christian church. This is now the case 
with every man of steady and unbending integrity in both 
church and state, — in politics and in religion: and therefore 
it is most natural that in such times as the present, the wit- 
nesses of truth should fail. 

Their dead bodies are said to lie in the street, or as it 
ought to be rendered, ^'in the breadth of the great city, 
which spiritually, is called Sodom and Egypt," &c. It is 
plain that this great city cannot mean, literally, either the 
city of Jerusalem, or the city of Rome. As tlie witnesses 
are scattered over the christian world; so this city must 
have the same <iimensions. It is not a literal city, consist- 
ing of houses, and walls, and a certain kind of police: but a 
combination, or a number of combinations of men, for the 
support of a certain kind of government. In this sense, the 
city of Rome still possesses a director an indirect influence 
over all Christendom, She has a direct influence overall 
the members of her own communion, in whatever part ot 
the world they reside: and she has an indirect influence 
over many other churches, because they follow her example, 
in setting aside the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
** changing the times and laws," after their own will. This 
is the city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. 
As Sodom was proverbial for every kind of lewdness, and 
Egypt was the seat of the grossest and most abominable 
idolatry: so these two enormous sins do, at this moment, 
characterize the christian world. It is full of those charac- 
ters who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. it is 
full of human inventions introduced into the worship of God; 
and this is the essence and first principle of idolatry. The 
Lord Jesus was literally crucified under the Roman govern- 
ment, and therefore within the breadth of this great city, 
and he has many times been spiritually crucified within its 
walls, and through the extent of its dominion. The dead 
bodies of the witnesses are therefore said to lie in thebreadtli 
of this great city; because religious truth is cast down, and 
trampled under foot in eNcry part of Christendom, and those 
wiio would support it, are deprived of their proper influence 
among mankind. 

This interpretation might be corroborated if necessary by 
many passages of scripture. We shall at present only se- 
lect two of them- The.fir&t is Isaiah, v. and 25. ♦^^ There- 



136 DISSERTATION OW 

fore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, 
and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath 
smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses 
were torn," or rather, as it ought to be rendered, "their 
bodies were treated like the mire of the streets." The 
whole of this v. chapter relates to the latter days, and espe- 
cially to the period, in which God will pour out the vials of 
his wrath on the earth. It was fulfilled to a certain extent, 
in the days of Isaiah, and also in the days of the Redeemer; 
when it pleased the Lord to bruise him, &c. and when all 
the friends of truth were obliged to hide themselves from 
the overwhelming power of those, " who cast away the law 
of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One 
of Israel." At that period the bodies of the witnesses were 
treated as the mire of the streets. Hence from this pas- 
sage, we see the manner in which the witnesses are to be 
slain. 

The other passage is found in Zechariah xiii, and 7. 
'^Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the 
man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the 
shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn 
my hand upon the little ones." This was also fulfilled in 
the death of Christ. Then the shepherd was smitten, the 
sheep were scattered; and God spread his hands over the 
little ones, or the lamJ3s of his flock, and protected them 
during the time of desertion. But this prophecy has ano- 
ther accomplishment, and relates to the slaying of the wit- 
nesses in the latter days. It relates to a time when it can 
be said in the sense of the prophet Micah: •* The good man 
is perished from the earth," ike. It expresses the very 
condition of the churches in our own times. A faithful and 
intelligent pastor is rarely to be found; and where there 
are any such characters, they are without their proper in- 
fiuence in the world, and generally hated, because they 
speak the truth. In this sense God smites the shepherd in 
these latter days; and the sheep are scattered. Let us look 
around us, and see if there are not sufficient evidences of 
this state of things in the present period. It generally hap- 
pens, in the providence of God, that in every community 
and neighbornood, where as many people can be collected 
as will form a worshipping society, that there are as many 
men of honesty and integrity, of knowledge, wisdom, and 
experience, as shall be able to regulate the concerns of that 
society. God, in his wisdom and goodness, has scattered 
over the world, as many of such characters as necessity 



THE XI. or "THE •RETELnTO:Wo 137 

s^quires. But there are times, and certain states ef society, 
in which ^uch men are cast out of influence, and bad or un- 
suitable characters are raised into power. So God says, 
-** I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall 
rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every 
one by his neighbor. The child shall behave himself proudly 
aj^ainst the ancient, and the base against the honorable." 
This is manifestly the condition of the world, and especially 
the condition of the church, in the present time. Men of 
corrupted principles have the direction of its alFairs. The 
young, and thoughtless, and ignorant, follow in their train, 
and the worship of God is corrupted with every invention 
■which has a tendency to please and gratify the natural pro- 
pensities of the heart. Thus the shepherd is smitten, and 
tlie sheep are scattered; or, in other words, the v/itnesses are 
slain, and their bodies treated as the mire in the streets. 

Another proof that this prophecy is to be understood in a 
spiritual, and not in a literal sense, is the very unbecoming 
and cruel behavior of men, when they see the dead bodies 
of the witnesses, lying unburied. "And they of the peo- 
ples, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see 
their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not 
suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves." Here we 
see plainly that this prophecy does not relate exclusively to 
any particular city or nation. Peoples, and nations, and 
languages, are concerned in it. They all look on the dead 
bodies of the witnesses with a kind of triumph, and such is 
their animosity and hatred, that they will not suffer them to 
be buried. We can easily see how this may be true, in a 
spiritual sense, in the age in which we livejbutitis obvious 
that it cannot literally be fulfilled in modern times, nor ia 
any civilized nation. There are always some men to be 
found, wiio are sufficiently cruel and vindictive to perpe- 
trate any act of wickedness, and even to find tlieir delight 
in it: but the state of civilization, and refinement of man- 
ners, to which the world has advanced, would not permit 
that such scenes should be publicly transacted in any civil- 
ized nation. We are therefore obliged to understand the 
prophecy in a spiritual sense. When a good man finds him- 
self cast out of influence, and has no longer any power of 
doing good among his fellow men, he would gladly seek 
the silent shades of retirement and obscurity, and no longer 
obtrude himself on those by whom he is despised and hated. 
But in this desire the witnesses cannot be indulged. The 
faithful ministers of the gospel^ finding themselves no lyiiger 

1£* 



138 DISSERTATIOIf OJT 

useful, would wish to resign their charge. The faithful 
among the church officers, would wish to give up their 
offices, because they find no good results from their labors. 
Good and upright men are every where reduced to despon- 
dency. But although the men of the world are determined 
not to be reclaimed, they still act in such a mamier as to 
prevent the witnesses from going entirely out of their sight. 
They keep them in their view, and will not sufter their 
bodies to be buried. Of the truth of all this, the author has 
had personal experience; and he believes that every faithful 
minister of the gospel has realized something of the same 
kind, in the course of his ministrations. 

To the man who lives under the influence of sin, there is 
always something painful, and even tormenting, in the 
faithful disclosure of the truth. The true ministers of the 
gospel are, in this sense, a source of torment to multitudes. 
A consciousness of guilt, when the soul is deeply afflicted 
^y it, will lead men to attend the ministrations of the gos- 
^l. But when they have deliberately chosen a course of 
error, and are determined not to forsake it, to have this error* 
pointed out to them, and reprobated, is a source of torment 
which they cannot endure. They will, therefore, contrive 
some method to relieve themselves from this continual vex- 
ation; and if their conscience will notsuffier them to abstain 
entirely from the public worship of God, they will exert 
themselves to obtain some preacher who will not torment 
them by the discovery of their sins. Such men succeed to the 
utmost of their wishes, when the witnesses are lying pros- 
trate in the streets; and they testify tlieir joy by the usual 
method. *' They who dwell on the earth shall rejoice over 
them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; 
because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on 
the earth." This phrase, '' they who dwell on the earth," 
evidently signifies men of the world, earthly minded men 
of every religious persuasion. But it signifies, also, that 
in these latter times, this class shall be so numerous, as to 
compose the mass of every community. That this is true, 
generally, at this time, no intelligent and experienced 
christian can doubt for a moment. The symbol of sending 
gifts one to another, and making merry, is intended to exhibit 
the general feelings of such characters, when they have con- 
trived to relieve themselves from the torment of hearing 
their errors continually exposed. It show » a state of so- 
ciety, where error is triumphant, and where there is none 
to oppose it with any prospect of success. 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 139 

But this state of things continues only for a short period. 
The witnesses do not always lie in a dormant state. *' After 
three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into 
them, and they stood on their feet," &c. As the putting down 
of the witnesses is a gradual work, and requires some length 
of time to bring it into effect, so the rise of the witnesses 
must also be slow and gradual. Three years and a half, 
according to the usual computation of prophecy, is the time 
of the triumph of the enemies of truth, and then the wit- 
nesses begin to show some symptoms of returning life. 
Finally they rise, and stand on their feet; and then, as is 
very natural, their insulting enemies are tilled with fear. 
All this must be interpreted according to the common and 
natural course of human affairs. The truth may be put 
down for a time, and the supporters of truth must fiill with 
it: they may lie, as it were, in a dormant state, for a short 
period, during the reign of some error or infatuation, by 
which the human mind is occasionally deluded : but it is im- 
possible they should be left in this condition for a long period. 
The Spirit of life, or the Holy Spirit of God, will not suffer 
his truth to be trampled always under foot, but will enter 
into his witnesses, and raise them from the dust. They 
will then enter on their duty with new life and vigor; and 
just in proportion as this is perceived by the enemies of truth, 
their joy will fade, they will feel the pangs of disappoint- 
ment, their hearts will be discouraged and filled with fear. 

But in this case, they must experience a painful and se- 
vere mortification; for God will show his approbation of the 
witnesses, in a manner which will not be easily mistaken. Itis 
said," they heard a great voice from heaven, sayingunto them, 
come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, 
and their enemies beheld them." We must not forget that 
this is a symbolical representation. Heaven is intended to 
represent a conspicuous and honorable station in the moral 
world. As they were formerly cast down, and trodden under 
foot, in a moral point of view, so they shall finally rise to 
honor and distinction among mankind. It is not said that 
their enemies heard this great voice from heaven. They 
indeed saw them rise, but they were enveloped in a cloud. 
They alone heard the voice, and were conscious of all the cir- 
cumstances by which they ascended. There are certain indi- 
cations in Providence, by which the intelligent and observing 
mind may easily satisfy itself, that certain events are about 
to come to pass. There are at this moment, in the provi- 
dence of God, such indications as may convince us, and 



140 DISSERTATIOX OW 

fiucti as really do convince the intelligent and observing 
part of mankind, that the time is not far distant, when all 
errors will be exploded, and truth and righteousness will 
universally prevail j and that consequently the friends of 
truth and righteousness will be exalted. This change, 
however, is not to be expected in one generation. One race 
of witnesses will not be sufficient to effect this moral revolu- 
tion: but the triumphant march of truth, will continue 
from one generation to another, until the world shall be 
brought into subjection, and the earth filled with the know- 
le<lge of the Lord. 

In tliis view of the subject, all things are natural and con- 
sistent. The only circumstances that can cast a shade of 
doubt on this explanation, is the outward appearance, or 
the moral aspect of the world. There is so much of the ap- 
pearance of love for the gospel, and so much zeal for the 
propagation of it, that it is hard to believe the world is in a 
worse moral condition, than it was some centuries before 
this period. We cannot easily be brought to think, that 
there is now less of the influence of true religion, than there 
was in the dark ages of the tenth and eleventh centuries. 
But this difficulty will entirely vanish, when we consider 
that tlie scriptural account of the slaying of the witnesses, 
does not oblige us to believe the world to be in a worse 
moral condition than at many other periods. It is only 
the last result of the great system of the policy of Satan, by 
which he has contrived to put down a class of men, that 
have always been the most obnoxious to him, in the estab- 
lishment of his kingdom. In former ages, when darkness 
covered the world, and false religion prevailed, he endea- 
Tored to put down the witnesses by raising persecution 
againstthem. He supposed that the best policy was to tor- 
ment their bodies, and put them to death in the most cruel 
manner possible. But it was found that this kind of policy 
would not answer his purpose. The witnesses increased 
by the means he used to destroy them, and therefore in 
these latter days, he has merely pursued a different system 
of policy. It is not therefore necessary to suppose, that the 
world is in a worse moral condition than it has been; but 
that there is now less regard among mankind, for the dis- 
tinguishing doctrines of Christianity, than there has been at 
any former period. The regard for sound christian princi- 
ple, and the sense of God's authorit}^, have diminished, in 
their influence on the human mind; while a desire for pros- 
elyting the world to Christianity, has increased. False 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 14t 

<<harity has blinded the minds of men. They are so very de- 
sirous of having all the world converted to Christianity, and 
so little solicitous about guarding against error, that they 
mistake the ostentation of religion, the cant of hypocrisy, 
and the ravings of fanaticism, tor the still small voice of 
gospel truth. Those ministers, therefore, who know the 
scriptures, distinguish truth from error, and preach the gos- 
pel, not in the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in dem- 
onstration of the spirit and of power, must necessarily have 
lost their influence. Their voice, for many years, has been 
but little regarded. This is the way in which the arch ene- 
my has contrived to put down the witnesses. But we see 
tlie signs of a great and important change for the better. 
Men of knowledge, talents, and integrity are beginning 
even now, to resume their proper situation. The eyes of 
the most intelligent clags of mankind are beginning to open, 
and to perceive the lamentable condition of the christian 
church. They see that God has fulfilled his word, in taking 
away irom Jerusalem the stay and the staiF, &c. — "that chil- 
dren are their oppressors, and women rule over them: that 
tliey who lead them cause them to err, and destroy the way 
of their paths." Hence we may confidently hope, that in 
no long time, there will be a great and important change, 
over the whole christian world: and this is the ascension of 
the witnesses to heaven. 

While God conducts the affairs of the world, in his good 
providence he brings to pass certain events, which mark 
particular eras in his dispensations. These events are 
sometimes not very important in the eyes of men, and are 
tlierefore overlooked. The issuing of a certain decree, by 
Artaxerxes Longimanus to Ezra, by which he was authoriz- 
ed and empowered, to restore and to build Jerusalem, marks 
the commencement of Daniel's seventy weeks of years. 
Christ was crucified in-the first year of the last week: and 
about the end of the last year, or seven years after the death 
of the Redeemer, Cornelius and his family were baptised. 
These events were no doubt esteemed of small importance, 
yet they mark particular eras in the providence of God, 
which are the subjects of prophecy, and this gives them a 
iust claim on our attention. In this prophecy also, an event 
IS exhibited which marks the period, when the witnesses 
begin to rise, from their low and degraded condition. "And 
the same hour, there was a great earthquake, and the tenth 
part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of 
m^n Bfi-ven thousand^ and the remnant were aftrighted, and 



142 DISSERTATION ON 

gave glory to the God of heaven." The author had been 
for years, waiting and looking out for some dispensation of 
Providence, which should elucidate this prophecy, and he 
found it, or at least thinks he has found it, in the late revolu- 
tion, which has taken place in the kingdom of Spain. It ap- 
pears to answer the description, in every particular, except 
in the last clause of the verse, where it is said, " the remnant 
were atlrighted," &c. But this is a circumstance, which 
we cannot know, unless we had beenactually present when 
the scenes were transacted. And even in that case it 
would have been very difficult, unless we could have known 
the feelings, and witnessed the exclamations of the great 
body of the Spanish nation, on the sudden disappointment 
of their fondest and most sanguine hopes. If ever men 
think of their maker, and give glory to him, it is in the 
view of such alarming dispensations. 

But let us proceed and compare the event with the pro- 
phecy. Strictly, and properly speaking, a city is a com- 
bination of men, associated for political purposes. The 
very words, policy and politics, are derived from a Greek 
word which we always render a city. It does not mean a 
town with walls, and a large number of houses; but the in- 
habitants compacted together under a certain form of gov- 
ernment: and the centre or focus from which the laws em- 
anate, is properly the city; while in a larger sense, it in- 
cludes all who are under that particular government. It is 
in this sense that Rome is called *Hhe great city which 
reigneth over the kings of the earth;" and is also represent- 
ed by '* a woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast, having 
seven heads and ten horns." These ten horns are ten king- 
doms, or governments, which were united in the fourth cen- 
tury for the support of the Roman empire. " These," it is 
said, " have one mind, and shall give their power and 
strength unto the beast." Hence the city frequently means 
the ten kingdoms: because they form that great combina- 
tion, which, for so many ages, has protected the beast and 
supported him in power. Spain is oneoftliese kingdoms, 
and is evidently a tenth part of the city. 

An earthquake is, in the language of prophecy, a moral 
revolution. As in the natural world, cities are frequently 
overturned and destroyed by earthquakes, so political revo- 
lutions, by which the established order of government is 
shaken and overturned, and nations thrown into confusion 
and consternation, are well represented by these awful phe- 
nomena. The revolution in Spain, which was effected by 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATIOX. 143 

an army of 100,000 men, who marched into the country 
from France, overturned the government, and destroyed 
the hopes of freedom, may well be called a great earth- 
quake, m which the tenth part of the city fell. 

By tl^i fall of a kingdom or nation, we are not to under- 
stand the total destruction or extinction of it; but a change 
in its government, the destruction of its hopes, and the 
degradation of its character. There have been many revo- 
lutions in these latter days, many moral earthquakes; but 
in most of them, the nations or kingdoms who were the 
subjects, so far from falling, have actually risen to a greater 
degree of eminence than before. Even France has obtained 
a much higher and more illustrious standing among the na- ^ 
tions of the earth, than she occupied before the terrible and 
bloody revolution, which overturned the monarchy, and 
erected a republic on its ruins. By the late changes which 
have taken place in that nation, although her character is 
somewhat lowered, yet she cannot be said to have fallen. 
But Spain has fallen, in every sense of the word. She has 
fallen in the estimation of the world, and she has fallen 
under the yoke of tyranny, both civil and religious. Not 
many years since, and within the recollection ot the present 
generation, this kingdom excited the sympathy, the best 
wishes, and the fondest hopes, of the friends of civil and 
religious freedom, throughout the civilized world. The 
Spanish patriots were hailed as brethren, engaged in the 
sacred cause of liberty and the rights of man. The Spanish 
nation had begun to rise, in the estimation of all. They 
had established a free government, on the best foundation 
which this corrupted world can afford, the voluntary choice 
of the citizens. The lamentations and bitter wailings of 
bigotry and superstition, for the loss of their power, were 
drowned in the exclamations of freemen, rejoicing in the hap- 
piness and honor of their country. — But Spain deserved not 
to be free. She has been, for many ages, and still continues 
to be, the rancorous and bitter enemy of the " witnesses." 
She has watered her plains with their blood. It has flowed in 
torrents from the guilty hands of her kings, her haughty 
commanders, and her bigoted populace. It cried from the 
ground for vengeance, and its voice was heard. Therefore 
the cup of joy was snatched from her liand, and blood was 
given her to drink. Her high and brightening prospects 
were covered with the midnight gloom. She stumbled and 
fell, and the iron hand of political and religious bigotry still 
Kolds her to the earth. There is not a gl«am of hope for 



144 DISSERTATION ON 

this ill-fated country, until another mighty earthquake shall 
lay, not the tenth part only, but the whole city, in ruins. 
Then, " when great Babylon shall come in remembrance 
before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the 
fierceness of his wrath; when every island shall have fled 
away, and the mountains shall not be found," Spain shall 
be regenerated like the other kingdoms of the earth. 

Another proof, which shows still more particularly, that 
this event was intended by the prophecy, is the destruction 
of all the characters, who, by their virtues, were entitled 
to honor and estimation. The literal translation of the 
middle clause of the 13th verse is: " And in the earthquake 
were slain, names of men, seven thousand." The phrase, 
names of men, means men of name, — men of character and 
reputation. It would be easy to quote other places in scrip- 
ture, to show that this is the meaning of the phrasej but we 
presume it is unnecessary. As this country has attained 
an inglorious celebrity, by shedding the best and noblest 
blood that ever flowed through the veins of men, the blood 
of the martyrs^ so her best and noblest blood has been poured 
out, in this moral earthquake: her patriots are gone, " her 
honorable men are famished" and destroyed; and she has 
none left, but a base and corrupted herd of slaves, that are 
lit only for dragging the chariot of the despot. 

In order to see the full force of the truth which is here 
presented, we must keep our minds fixed on the emblem. 
A large and populous city was present to the mind of the 
apostle. Then, a great earthquake shook the tenth part of 
it, with a terrible concussion; the houses tumbled down; and 
in their fall crushed to death seven thousand of the most 
respectable and honorable of the inhabitants. Hence we 
see, that the number seven thousand, is not to be literally 
interpreted, any more than the other parts of the vision. 
By the tenth part of the city, a kingdom is meant; and by 
the fall of the houses, and the destruction of a large number 
of the best of the citizens, we are to understand suck a fall 
as is consistent with the nature of a kin^^dom: namely, a 
terrible revolution, and an overturning of its government: 
by which a very large number of the best and most honora- 
ble characters, are killed and overthrown, dispersed and put 
down. As the houses are thus left in ruins, and the own- 
ers of them destroyed, there is no ground of hope that this 
part of the city will soon be rebuilt, and recover its ancient 
splendor. Every one must see how exactly this description 
suits the present condition of the kingdom of Spain. It i« 



THE XI. OF THE RSYELATION. 145 

precisely in the condition of a city, the houses of which 
have crumbled down, by the violent concussion of an earth- 
quake; the men on whom any dependence could be placed 
for repairing the ruins, are all gone; scarcely one of them 
is left; and therefore this part of the city must continue for 
a long time in the same ruinous con<iition. -^ ;^ ' 

If the inhabitants of this ill-fated land &^Jffiot besotted in 
ignorance beyond all example, they mus^'^feel that they are 
cast into their present degraded condition by the righteous 
judgments of God. The best men of the nation have la- 
bored, for many years, to build up a free government. They 
have made frequent eftbrts for this purpose formerly, and 
every eftbrt met with some disappointment; this last exer- 
tion had every prospect of being crowned with success: but 
the fond and sanguine hope has been suddenly crushed, as 
by an earthquake. This last terrible disappointment must 
have been viewed by all reflecting men, with astonishment 
and consternation. The '* red right hand" of the divine ven- 
geance must have appeared as plain as the streams of light- 
ning in the heavens; they must have l?een affriglued, and 
for a moment at least, they must have given glory to God. 
There is nothing in this declaration which ought to suggest 
the unwarrantable, and most improbable conjecture, that 
the remainder of the inhabitants of this tenth part of the 
city, who did not perish in the earthquake, should immedi- 
ately become true christians, and give glory to God, by liv- 
ing according to the gospel. There is xio such idea as this, 
either expressed or implied in the prophecy. It is merely 
the consternation which would naturally seize on the mind, 
at the view of such a terrible calamity, by the evident hand 
of God. In such a situation, the most hardened in wicked- 
ness, would be compelled to give glory to the God of 
heaven. 

It is chiefly by the exact agreement of the event with (he 
description given in the prophecy, that the truth of the in- 
terpretation is to be tested. It is not denied, that a small 
degree of ingenuity, united with a fertile imagination, a 
weak head, and a strong bias of the mind in favo^' of its own ' 
offspring, may lead, and frequently has led expositors ot 
prophecy to give a false coloring to events; and they have 
appeared to them to agree exactly with some particular pro- 
phecy, while at the same time, other events, which take 
place in another part of the world, and at a different period 
entirely, are the real subjects described in the prophecy. 
But although many hare erred in this way, we ought not to 
13 



I"^ BMSERTATTON OW 

conclude that all expositions of praphecj are crroneoos. 
This event must take place, in some one of the ten king- 
<foms, which have given their power and strength to the 
beast: and therefore this kingdom must be found in the 
we-Mtern division of the ancient Roman empire: but none of 
those kingdoms have, as yet, fallen by a great earthquake? 
so as to answer the description given in the prophecy, unless 
it can be applied to the late terrible disaster which has be- 
fallen the Spanish nation. The prophecy must be applied 
to this event, or it must be confessed, that it has not yet 
been accomplished. Hence it becomes necessary for us to 
inquire whether, or not, this is the time in which the accom- 
piishment ought to be expected. On this part of the subject, 
it is possible we may not be able, in this place, to give full 
sa4;isfaction; but our arguments will be corroborated in eve- 
ry succeeding dissertation, to the end of the book. 

The period of the rei2;n of antichrist, and that in which 
the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, are each of them, 1260 
years; but we are not told that these periods exactly coincide 
eirher in their commencement or their termination. On 
the contrary, we may infer from the prophecy, that the 
reign of the beast is extended beyond that period, in which 
the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth; for it is said that when 
tt>ey shall have finished, or concluded, or terminated their 
prophecy, or their period of prophesying in sackcloth,the beast 
shall make war against them, and overcome them, and kill 
them. The beast, therefore, continues in great power, at the 
time when the witnesses are slain. Hence the period of his 
reign must extend beyond the period of the witnesses' prophe- 
sying in sackcloth. But as the two periods are of the same 
Ieng4:h, and as the one extends beyond the other, therefore the 
■witnesses must have begun to prophesy in sackcloth, some 
time before the beast received the dominion. It is impos- 
sible for us to know, from any particular era marked in the 
prophecies, or in the history of the times, the precise period 
when Antichrist arose, or when the witnesses began lo pro- 
phesy. Most commentators have, indeed, dated the former 
in the year 606, when Phocas, the Roman emperor, is said to 
have issued a decree declaring the Pope of Rome the su- 
preme arbiter, the superintendent and universal bishop of 
the christian churches. There is strong presumpiion that 
nvtrM a decree was really issued by this emperor; but stiJl 
this fact, however well it may be authenticated, will not 
prove that this was the commencement of the reign of the 
beast. We know from the character of Phocas, — one of 



THE Xl. OF TflE RETEIATIOII. 147 

the most worthless and abandoned profligates and tyrants, 
that ever disgraced the Roman sceptre, and who obtained 
it bj usurpation, that his object in issuing this decree, was 
to make the Pope his friend; and by this means to establisk 
himself in power. rhere was, at that time, a violent con- 
test between the Pope of Rome and the Bishop of Constan- 
tinople, which of them should be the universal governor of 
the church: it is very certain that Phocas would decide ift 
favor of the one who was the most powerful, and the most 
likely to |)romote his interests; and therefore from this, and 
many other circumstances in the history of that period, wc 
may infer that Antichrist did actually and virtually reign., 
at the time when this decree was issued. The Pope then, 
had much more power than he possesses at the present time. 
His rising into power, v/as a gradual and almost impercep- 
tible work, and the exact period of his rise is not to be 
learned, from any particular event which took place i« 
those days. But we have seen in the prophecy, that the 
power of the beast is to be overturned, and the sanctuary 
cleansed, at the end of 2400 years from the rise of the 
Medo-Persian empire. We hav« seen, also, that this 
empire arose in the year 550 before tiie christian era; aiid 
that consequently, we may expect the fall of the beast, or 
the antichnstian power, v^'hich pollutes the sanctuary, about 
the year 1850; as at that time the 2400 years will be ac- 
complished: then deductino; 1260 years, it will take us back 
to the year 590, for the commencement of his reii^n. This 
is only 16 years prior to the decree of Phocas. If, indeed, 
we had an impartial history of those times, we should be 
able to form some judgment from the facts; but it would 
probably be found, even from these, that the beast came 
into power about the year 590, and that in the reign of 
Phocas, men agreed to form an image of the beast, and give 
life to that image; so that he might inflict punishment on 
those that would not worship him. 

Here, indeed, we are met by a specious objection; for thi« 
year 590, was the time, when Gregory first entered on the 
popedom. Can it be thought, that the pious Gregory, who»€ 
whole life was one continued series of mortification of 
all the passions which corrupt the heart, and of the practice 
of the virtues which adorn the human character; that su€h a 
man could stand at the head of the church, which then be- 
came the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth? 
We are not disposed to contradict what has been spoken in 
praise of the piety and zeal of Gregory. Wet»elieve he 



148 DISSERTATIOX OIC 

had a large portion of charity. He used his utmost efforts in 
behalf of the poor, many of whom at that time were peri.sh- 
ing for want of the necessaries of life. He had a great de- 
gree of love for the souls of men, and he used his utmost 
efforts to send the gospel over the world: and yet none of all 
the bishops of Rome ever made more rapid strides towards 
unlimited power than Gregory. We cannot tell whether 
ambition was his ruling passion or not; but we have every 
reason to believe that he acted as if his judgment was infal- 
lible, and as if God had made him the supreme arbiter in the 
church. He burdened the church with a thousand rites and 
ceremonies, altogether of his own invention. He taught the 
worship of the saints, and of the dead bodies and relics of 
the martyrs. In short, Gregory made more innovations in 
the worship of God, and usurped more of the prerogatives 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, than any of the Popes that were 
before him. The reign of Gregory may be said to be the 
period, when the sovereign pontiff claimed and exercised 
arbitrary power, in the church of God. We do not say, nor 
even insinuate, that Gregory gave wrong decisions, or that 
in any respect he acted the tyrant; but he laid the founda- 
tion for tyranny and superstition, to reign with unbounded 
sway throughout the christian world. But we shall not now 
dwell on this subject, as it will come more properly before 
US, in our observations on the xiii. chapter. We think it is 
abundantly plain, even from such histories as we have, that 
tlte sixth century exhibits both the spirit, and the power of 
antichristian domination in the church of Rome. 

But as the witnesses are prophets, and of course men of 
discernment, who are able to form a right estimation of 
principles and practices; — men who are well acquainted 
with the prophecies of scripture, and who, by standing on 
this lofty eminence, are well qualified to be watchmen on 
tlie walls of Zion, it is not to be supposed, that their eyes 
could be shut, or their tongues sealed up in silence, when 
an inundation of eriors and wickedness was likely to over- 
whelm the church of God. They no doubt saw, and testified 
against, the man of sin, long before he entered and took his 
seat in the temple. In this way we account for the rising 
of the witnesses, when they began to prophesy in sackclotlu 
'^riiey saw the beast rising into power, and testified against 
him. But as each of these opposing parties, the witnesses 
and the beast, has power to remain in their station for 
1260 years; so we see how the beast can be said to retain 
his power after the witnesses are slain, and the dead bodies 



lying in the streets. Hence we shall defermine the perrod 
of the rise of the witnesses, in the same manner as we have 
determined the ri«e of the beast. In the summer or autumn 
of the year 1823, the French army marched into Spain, and 
then the earthquake commenced, in which the tenth part of 
the city fell. The witnesses had then been lying in the 
streets for three years and a half; and therefore they were 
slain in the beginning of the year 1820: let 1260 be deduct- 
' ed from this, and 560 remains, for the time when the wit- 
nesses began to prophesy in sackcloth, and when the bea<t 
b(gan to rise and make his appearance among mankind; 
30 years after this, or in the year 590, he came into power; 
and of course, the witnesses had then been prophesying 
against him for SO years, and their testimony is finished 
30 years before his fall. In this way., the difficulty in the 
xii. of Daniel is entirely removed, and we see how it can be 
true, tliat the beast reigns for 1260, and how the sanctuary 
can be defiled for 1290 years. The witnesses, therefore, 
have begun to rise, and stand on their feet, since the year 
lb24. It is not, indeed, to be expected, that their rise 
could be actually perceived, in the short period \\hich has 
yet elapsed; but the time is fast approaching, when they 
shall arrive at their proper degree of influence; and then 
the beast shall cease to reign, and the sanctuary shall be 
cleansed. 

The candid reader will observe, that in this expositioftj 
the mind has no room to expatiate in the regions of faacy. 
It is all matter of calculation, and this fronidata, which are 
fixed by the best authenticated chroTiology. It is assumed, 
that in the latter days, we ought to expect the fall and the 
rise of the witnesses; and for this assumption no proof is 
needed, because it is plainly asserted in the word of God. 
We have seen, that an event has happened in our own times, 
which answers exactly to the description given in the pro- 
phecy; and this marks the period of their fall and of their 
rise. It shows us, also, when they began to prophesy in 
sackcloth; and all this is corroborated by the propnecies of 
Daniel. These calculations arise from two sources, which 
are entirely independent of each other; and yet both of them 
agree to the utmost exactness. 

The fall of the tenth part of the city, marks the termina- 
tion of the sixth trumpet. This wo, which began with the 
first incursions of the Turks into Christendom, has continued 
more than 450 years. But the Turks are now a tailing 
power. They shall never more torment the christian m orid 



'150 BI5SERTATI0W OfT 

with their conquests, an<l the propagation of a false religion: 
but another wo is sounded, still more dreadful than any that 
have preceded it: and it shall also be quicker in ifs execu- 
tion. '* The second wo is past: behold the third wo cometh 
quickly." There are many terrible scenes to be realized, 
many great and tremendous judgments to be executed; but 
the things contained in it shall rapidly succeed one another, 
and the whole shall soon come to a close. From the com- 
mencement of this wo, to the commencement of the millen- 
nium, is not quite eighty years: but there are more wonderful 
works to be transacted within this short period, than have 
come to pass for many ages before. We are to look for the 
rapid advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and a hor- 
rible series of temporal and spiritual curses on his enemit^s, 
which shall gradually deprive them of all comfort in this 
world, and eventuate in their eternal misery. We have 
merely a sketch or intimation of these things, in the latter 
part of this chapter, but they are circumstantially described 
in the remaining part of the book. When the seventh angel 
sounded, the apostle heard great voices in heaven, saying, 
" the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of 
our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and 
ever." Then the four and twenty elders fell on their faces 
and worshipped God, saying, "we give thee thanks, &c. 
because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast 
reigned." This trumpet is sounded immediately after the 
falling of the tenth part of the city, when the witnesses are 
beginning to rise. The other circumstances, of their stand- 
ing on their feet, and ascending to heaven, are brought in 
for the sake of the connexion; but they are not realized for 
many years afterwards. The resurrection and ascension 
of the witnesses are, from their nature, plainly a gradual 
work, and cannot come to pass, but in a serits of years or 
ages after the sounding of the seventh angel: but in the 
vision, all appeared to be the transactions of a few minutes. 
The earthquake, and the sounding of the seventh angel, are, 
therefore, connected immediately with the spirit of life en- 
tering into the witnesses. Hence the church in heaven must 
here be meant by the four and twenty eldei*s; for we see by the 
circumstances, that the church on the earth is to be at that time 
in ignorance and darkness. It was known to the church in 
heaven, that when the seventh angel should sound, the Lord 
Jesus Christ would begin to brijig the world into subjection 
to him; and therefore, no sooner had the angel sounded, 
than all heaven burst fortii into a joyful exclamation, saying. 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 1^1 

*' the kino:(loms of this world," &c. It ought not to ha vie 
been rendered the kin^rdoms of this world; ;is tlie word this 
is not in the original, and the speakers are in heaven; but 
the kingdoms of Me world, as it is designed to show us the 
intense interest which the inhabitants of heaven take in the 
affairs of this earth. 

There is here a kind of antithesis, which ought not to 
escape observation. The kingdoms, or the governments 
established in the different nations, have been, for 1S6(> 
years, subjected to the beast, and subservient to his will. 
'I'he ten kings who govern the Roman empire, and have 
combined their powers for the support of Antichrist, are not 
very different, in this respect, from the other governments. 
Wliatever professions thev make, or whatever forms of 
government they establish, their power is exerted in oppo- 
sition to the true interests of the gospel. The lust of power 
has taken such deep root in the human heart, that, in gene- 
ral, when men are placed in authority, either in church or 
state, it is used for the promotion of their own selfish de- 
signs. Hence, in every government, where religion is 
established by law, it is made an engine for the support of 
the civil power, in its tyranny and oppression. In vain 
have the witnesses, in all these times, contended for the 
rights and prerogatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, against 
the abuses of the civil power, in every government under 
which they lived: in no country have they been able to effect 
any essential or permanent change. Wherever religion 
has acquired any authority or influence, it has always been 
in some way corrupted, and the leaven of Antichrist hat 
destroyed its purity. But these abuses have been tolera- 
ted, in the righteous government of God, for the promotion 
of his high and holy purposes. It is said, concerning the 
ten kingdoms of the Roman empire, *' that God hath put in 
their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their 
kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be 
fulfilled." The same things are true, to a certain extent, 
among all the governments of the world. They are all 
actuated by the same spirit. There is certainly a smaller 
degree of it in the land in which it has pleased God to cast 
our lot, than in many other nations: but still every one who 
has eyes to see, and ears to hear, must know that, in gene- 
ral, the officers of our government, from the highest to the 
lowest, are actuated by selfish motives, and whenever it is 
convenient, they make no scruple to use religion as an 
engine, to raise them into power, and to promote whatever 



152 DISSERTATION OS 

desi^s they may have in view. But in the governments 
of Europe, and especially in the ten kingdoms of the Roman 
e<npire, the religious establisliments are utterly opposed to 
tlie spirit of the gospel; and although some of theiri have 
separated themselves from the communion of the church of 
Rome, they have nevertheless established an antichristian 
system among themselves; so that they may still be said to 
agree, and to give their kingdom to the beast. 

In the reign of the Redeemer, a gradual, but important 
and permanent change, will be effected, in all the govern- 
ments of the world. Those that are established in oppo- 
sition to his kingdom, will be overturned from the founda- 
tion; and those which are not radically defective, will be 
purified from corruption, in principle and in practice. Thefl 
" the lofty mountains shall bring forth peace to the people, 
and the little hills, by righteousness." 

The sounding of the seventh trumpet is, therefore, a most 
interesting period in the providence of God. Christ then 
emphatically receives the kingdom, and restores it to Israel. 
When he first rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven, 
all power was given to him in the heavens and the earth. 
With this warrant in his hand, he commissioned the apos- 
tles, and the ministers of his gospel, and sent them foi th to 
make disciples of all nations: but it was necessary, in order 
to accomplish the high and holy purposes of God, that a 
power, in opposition to the true gospel, should be suffered 
to reign in the world for lxi60 years; and that, during this 
period, an antichristian system should be established among 
all nations. This is the mystery of iniquity which had be- 
gun to work, even in the days of Pau 1 , and which, in the course 
of a few centuries after those days, acquired a permanent 
establi'shment in the Roman empire: then it continued to 
extend its roots and its branches over the world; so that, like 
the great tree which represenied the mighty monarch of the 
Chaldeans, the top of it reached to heaven, and the sight 
thereof to the ends of the earth. All the beasts of the field 
had their shelter under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt 
in the boughs thereof. But at the sounding of this trumpet, 
it was ordered that the tree should be cut down, the branches 
severed from the trunk, the leaves shaken otf, and the fruit 
scattered; that the beasts might get away from under it, 
and the fowls from its branches: or, by another illustration, 
and one still more applicable, that the stone which was cut 
out of the mountain without hands, should smite the image 
upon his feet, which were of iron and clay, and break them 



i 



THE XI. or THE REVELATIOlf. 153 

to pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, 
and the gold, shall be broken in pieces together, and become 
like the chaft'of the summer threshing noor, and the wind 
shall carry them away; so that no place shall be found for 
them: and the stone that smote the image shall become a 
great nmuntain, and fill the whole earth. 

The first subject to which the attention is called, in this 
latter dispensation, is the terrible works of righteousness, 
by which God will answer the prayers of his people. This 
subject seems to have engrossed the attention of the elders, 
so soon as they had realized the truth, that the Almighty 
had taken to himself his great power, for the establishment 
of his kingdom. ** The nations were angry, and thy wrath 
is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judg- 
ed; and that thou shouldesl give reward unto thy servants, 
tJie prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy 
name, both small and great; and shouldest destroy them 
which destroy the earth. " The anger of the nations is con- 
trasted with the wrath of God. It is evident, that the chief 
of the calamities which have afflicted the human family for 
many ages, have originated from themselves. The pains 
and troubles which they endure, are not to much the penal- 
ty annexed to their crimes, as the natural consequences of 
tlieir sins. ** Whence arise wars and fightings among youP 
Come they not of your lusts, which war in your members?" 
The calamities of war are naturally succeeded by the famine 
and the pestilence. A bad course of policy in a government, 
arising from the pride and ambition of the ruling powers, 
frequently involves nations in terrible calamities. The 
selfish disposition of men frequently leads them to make 
aggressions on the rights of others. Wrath is engendered 
in the hearts of both parties. They come into collision and 
strife; and thus quarrels and wars are generated, and misery 
created, in every department of life. But there is a great 
difference between the natural miseries, which, in the com- 
mon course of Providence, are generally connected with 
crime, and the pains and penalties which are attached to it 
by tlie law. There is a difference between a judicial punish- 
ment, and the natural evils which result from the indulgence 
of lust. The anger of the nations has indeed brought many 
evils on the world; but the judgments of the latter days shall 
more resemble the final judgment, which shall seal up tha 
wicked in eternal wo. It is therefore called the time of the 
dead that they should be judged. The last judgment does 
not take place at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. T\w 



154 DISSERTATION ON 

subjects of this judgment are not those who are naturally^ 
but spiritually dead,— dead in trespasses and sins; but never 
to be quickened by the spirit of God, — never to have any 
christian life implanted in their hearts. On the contrary, 
they are to suffer the terrible judgments of God in this 
world, and afterwards be the subjects of his wrath forever. 
They are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; for they are 
the characters who destroy the earth. God will therefore 
destroy them from the earth, by a series of spiritual and 
temporal judgments. This truth is e\ery where presented 
to us in the word of God. In the latter days, when the 
Redeemer comes to establish his kingdom, *'fiie shall rage 
before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about 
him. He shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 
He shall judge among the heathen. He shall fill the places 
with dead bodies. He shall wound the head over many 
countries," &c., &c. 

But in the mean time, his faithful servants shall receive 
their reward. He will give a reward unto his servants the 
prophets, &c. By the prophets are meant the faithful 
ministers of the gospel: but the least, as well as the greatest 
of the saints, shall be acknowledged, and shall enjoy the 
manifestations of his favor, while these terrible judgments 
Bhall be abroad in the earth. It is recorded in authentic 
history, that when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, 
no christian lost his life; for they attended to the words of 
their Lord, and a way of escape was opened for them. In 
this book of Revelation, and in other places of scripture, the 
people of God are warned to come out of Babylon. These 
warnings shall operate on the minds of all true christians, 
and they shall separate themselves from the errors and de- 
filements of the churches anmnd them; and God will provide 
for them a way of escape from his judgments. Then, as 
from a place of perfect safety, they shall contemplate and 
admire his wonderful works. 

After the representatives of the church had offered up 
this effusion of praise and thanksgiving to God, for mercy 
and for judgment, " the temple of God was opened in heaven^ 
and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testimony; 
and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and 
an earthquake, and great hail." By the temple of God in 
heaven, is meant the church of God, in a state of honor and 
infiuence, in the world. The judgments which God shall 
execute after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, will exalt 
the witnesses, will cleanse the sanctuary, and prepare it 



THE XI. OF THE REVELATION. 155 

for the reception of all who desire to worship God in spirit 
and in truth. The circumstance of the ark of God's testi- 
mony being seen in his temple, shows us, that during the 
reign of the beast, the testimony of God, in the churches, 
has generally been kept out of view. This is indeed a fact, 
sufficiently obvious to all who are in the habit of bearing 
testimony to the truth. But when God begins to cleanse 
his sanctuary, — when the images and altars of human in- 
vention shall be broken to pieces, and taken out of the way, 
then the ark of God's testimony shall appear; and, like the 
book of the law, which was found in the house of God, in 
the daysof Josiah, it shall be viewed with astonishment and 
terror. The christian world shall then begin to have some 
correct views of the holy nature and majesty of God. It is 
an important, and, in the end, it will appear to be a tiemen- 
dous truth, that the book of God's law, and even the ark of 
his testimony, which contains that law, have been hst, or 
cast out of sight, amidst the idolatrous lumber which the 
inventions of ages have brouglit into the sanctuary of God. 
The church of Rome first set the example, and she has been 
sedulously followed, by all churches that have wished to 
rise to honor and popular favor. But they will not see nor 
attend to this trutli, until the wrath of God shall come, and 
the time of the dead, that they should be judged; — until a 
series of terrible judgments shall be inflicted on the de- 
stroyers of the earth. Then they shall be alarmed, as in 
the days of Josiah, and shall begin to cleanse the sanctuary 
from pollution; and then the ark of God's testimony shall 
appear. But this shall be only the beginning of sorrows, to 
the corrupted and idolatrous world. There are many judg- 
ments to follow the cleansing of the sanctuary. They shall 
not cease for nearly half a century afterwards. Hence, 
when the ark was seen, there were '' voices, and lightnings, 
and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." 

These tokens of God's displeasure are all explained in 
the latter part of the Revelation. As this chapter contains 
what was written in the little book which was open in the 
angel's hand, and we here find them condensed, and within 
a small compass; so they are opened and expanded in the 
chapters which follow, that every thing may be clear to the 
eyes of him that has understanding. Hence we may see 
the meaning of the declaration of the angel to the apostle: 
•* Thou must prophesy again, before many peoples, and na- 
tion.s, and tongues, and kings." 



PART 11. DISSERTATION IV. 

ON THE XII. OF THE REVELATION. 

The obscurity which is supposed to rest on this chapter, 
arises, partly, from an expectation that this book is like 
other histories, which generally exhibit a continued series 
of events, in the order of time; and partly from not know- 
ing what period to fix on, as the time when the events here 
described ought to take place. In this method of communi- 
cating knowledge, by symbols or emblematic representa- 
tions, it is not intended, that every thing should be fully 
understood, until most of the events have come to pass. 
Prophecy must still be like a light shining in a dark place, 
until the whole of it is accomplished. But when it is partly 
accomplished, and we are able to see some of the truths 
contained in it, and know some of the events, by comparing 
the representation given in the prophecy, with the facts 
which have become matter of history, we advance in the 
attainment of the knowledge, which makes wise unto salva- 
tion, and are enabled to see more and more clearly, the 
things that belong to our peace. In this way of communi- 
cating knowledge, it is neither necessary nor possible, to 
present a continued chain of description, in the same manner 
as facts are recorded in history. If we have read and stu- 
died the history of the world; and especially, if we have paid 
particular attention to the condition of the church of God, 
through the ages past, we shall be able to see many events 
represented in the prophecy, the history of which we have 
read: and from the knowledge of these events, and of the 
place which they occupy in the great chain of scripture his- 
tory, the mystery of God will be developed to our minds, 
and we shall see how the affairs of the world are conducted, 
so as to accomplish his purposes. This chapter gives us a 
concise, but conspicuous, view of the condition of the true 
church of God in the world, from the days of the apostle, 
until the fall of pagan superstition. It describes the suffer- 
ings which the christians endured from the ruling power, 
before protection was afforded to them, and Christianity 
established by law. It shows the prosperity, which the 
church enjoyed, for a short period; and then her precipitate 
retreat into the wilderness, where she is obliged to remaia 
in obscurity for 1260 years. 



THE XII. OF THE REVELATION. 157 

This prophecy limits itself to the early ages of the church. 
The very mention of the retreat of the woman into the wil- 
derness, to the place provided for her, in which she is nour- 
ished, for a time, times, and half a time, from the fall of the' 
serpent, is quite sufficient to prove, that the prophecy relates 
to times prior to the rise of Antichrist; and therefore must be 
intended to represent the condition of the church in those 
times. We see how the church conquered, and triumphed 
over tliis persecuting power, how the serpent fell, by the 
very means he had devised to destroy the church, his vari- 
ous attempts after his fall, to prevent the influence of Chris- 
tianity among mankind j all of which were rendered abortive, 
when the true servants of God relinquished all desires after 
the honors of the world, and descended to the obscure and 
unfashionable retreats of life. 

"There appeared," says the apostle, " a great wonder, or 
sign in the heaven : a woman clothed with the sun, and the 
moon was under her feet, and on her head there was a crown 
of twelve stars," The visible heaven, or the firmament, 
where the sun, moon, and stars appear, is the place where 
these things were transacted. We must observe, that the 
ancients had very different ideas of astronomy, from the 
moderns. In the days of the apostle the philosophy of 
Aristotle was generally received. This system represents 
the earth as a plain, extending in all directions, and the 
heavens, or what is called the sky, as a solid substance like 
glass or chrystal. It supposed the sun, moon, and stars, 
to be placed in the firmament, and carried round the earth. 
The scriptures are not intended to teach us philosophy or 
astronomy; and therefore when any reference is made to 
these things, the language which was best understood in that 
time, is always used as the medium of the communication. 
Thus Joshua addressed the sun and moon, and command- 
ed them to stand still, the former over Gibeon, and the lat- 
ter over the valley of Aijalon. It is said, indeed, that 
Joshua spake to the Lord in the first place. He obtained 
permission to give the command; but he addressed the sun 
and moon, as if they had in themselves the power of motion, 
and consequently of stopping that motion. They were ob- 
jects of worship by the heathen; because they thought them 
to be endowed with life and power. They supposed also 
that the heavens and the earth, are at such a small dis- 
tance from each other, that one might fall from heaven to 
earth, and life not be destroyed by the fall. The concep- 
tions of mankind on this subject, and especially the concep- 
14 



158 MSSERTATION 0» 

tions of John himself, seem to have been consulted in the for* 
mation of the symbols: and therefore, these things ought al- 
ways to be kept in mindy in every exposition of the prophe- 
cy. It is not very important whether we suppose the apostle 
to have been caught up to heaven, or standing on the earth, 
and looking up to heaven. We know he was placed in 
some situation, where he had a full view of the transactions: 
and the first object which struck his attention, was a wo- 
man, arrayed in all the brightness and splendor of the sun, 
the moon was beneath her feet, while twelve of the stars 
appeared to encircle her head, in the form of a crown or 
garland. Heaven is intended to represent a conspicuous 
situation in the moral world. It supposes a high degree of 
honor and moral elevation. By this woman is meant the 
church of God, in the times, or soon after the times, of the 
apostles,* and as she was raised to this exaltation by their 
instrumentality, so they are represented as stars in her 
crown. She is adorned with the sun as with a garment, 
and has the moon beneath her feet; to show the superior ex- 
cellence of the present dispensation, above the borrowed 
excellence of the former: for as the moon receives her light 
from the sun, and reflects it on the earth; so the former dis- 
pensation of the gospel, received all its lustre and glory 
from the heavenly things, which have since appeared in 
tlieir true nature and character. Hence when the church is 
adorned with these things, the former things are of course 
put under her feet. Although they were glorious in their 
time, as the moon in the night, when she appears walking 
in brightness, is a glorious object; but when the sun appears, 
she has no glory by reason of the glory that excelleth; so the 
former dispensation haslo^^t its glory, by reason of the glo- 
rious exhibitions of divine truth, which now shed their lustre 
on die church of God. 

By the labors and diligent superintendence of the apos- 
tles, and the succeeding ministers who followed their exam- 
ple, she rose to a high degree of respectability and honor. 
Christianity was not then degraded by the ungodly lives of 
its professors. It appeared in every thing to be a heavenly 
religion; and as much superior to all the heathen supersti- 
tions, as heaven is above the earth. The well-meaning and 
wej I -disposed part of mankind, in every place where Chris- 
tianity was planted, saw and admired its holy and heaven- 
ly fruits: and the gospel was rapidly spread over the world. 
Hence the woman is represented as pregnant, and ready to 
bring forth a child. She appeared to the apostle, a§ in la- 



THE Xri. OT THE REVE1.XTI0N. 159 

bor, cried out in her pains, and w^s in torment to be deliver- 
ed. The propagation of the gospel is in itself a pleasing 
work; but still there is great labor and pain to be endured 
by the church, while 'sbe is bringing forth her children. 
When Christianity was new in the world, it was treated by 
the men of the world like every other novelty. It excite'd 
their attention for the moment, and they no doubt supposed 
that like other novel doctrines,- it would at length fii'.l mto 
neglect and be forgotten. But when they saw the eifects it 
produced, and was likely to produce among mankind, il en- 
couraged or suffered to grow; that their temples would be 
deserted, the sacrifices neglected, and the altars fall to 
ruins; they soon began to '* set themselves, and to combine" 
against it: and the followers of Christ were hated and perse- 
cuted generally by the heathen world. Thus the churcn of 
Ood in those times, brought forth her offspring wdth great 
labor and pains. 

At length the powers that ruled the Roman empire, be- 
gan to be alarmed. The heathen magistrat-s, from the 
highest to the lowest, exerted themselves to prevent th« 
spreading, of what was thought to be "a nefarious super- 
stition." Edict after edict was published against the chris- 
tians by the Roman emperors; and their whole authority 
was exerted to put down the rising church of Christ. This 
was represented to the apostle, by a great i^d dragon ap- 
pearing also in tlie heavens. The dragon is a large kind of 
«erpent, and derives its name from the acuteness ©f its 
sight. We know, from the information of the most intelli- 
gent travellers, that serpents of this kind frequently grow 
to an enormous size in tbe sultry climates of the east; antl 
that the symbol is admirably calculated to express the skill, 
and cunning, and enormous power, which were exerted by 
the persecutors of the church in those days. But it is espe- 
cially intended to represent the great adversary of God and 
man, who is called the Old Serpent, the Devil, and Satan, 
and by whom every persecutor has always been actuated. 
This great red dragon, had seven heads and ten horns. 
The object of this representation is to designate the part of 
the world, where this persecuting power had its chief resi- 
dence. The seven heads are designed to represent the sev- 
en hills, which are well known to exist in the site of the 
city of Rome; and also the seven forms of government which, 
from time to time, iiave existed in the Roman empire. \n 
the commencement, or origin, of this empire, it was govern- 
ed like other nations, bj chiefs, possessing arbitrary power, 



160 PISSERTATION OJf 

to whom they gave the title of kings: hut for the abuse of 
this power, the kingly government was at length overturn- 
ed, and a republic was instituted, with two persons at the 
head of it, who were called consuls. But in times of emer- 
gency, when it became necessary to bring the whole power 
of the nation immediately into action, they were obliged to 
resort to the despotic principle, and create a dictator, who 
was, for the time, possessed of absolute authority. At one 
period, through the influence of power and corruption, ten 
men raised themselves to the head of the emph^e, and con- 
tinued to rule for a short period: — This is called the reign 
of the decemviri. Afterwards there was another form of 
goverment erected, by the tribunes or chiefs of the army. 
This is called the government of the military tribunes. 
Then the emperors succeeded, and finally the Fope. or the 
spiritual power which now exists in that city, and still gov- 
erns a large portion of the christian world. 

This remarkable nation cannot be celebrated for its high 
antiquity. Rome is said to have been built, and the em- 
pire founded by Romulus the first king, about 753 years be- 
fore the christian era. The Romans are a mixture of many 
nations, and not like the Chaldeans, the Medes and Per- 
sians, or the Grecians, descended from one original stock. 
Therefore they are represented in the dream of Nebuchad- 
nezzar, by the feet and toes of the image, which are said to 
be ''part of iron and part of clay." It is said also that they 
should mingle themselves with the seed of men, and hence 
the Romans admitted many other nations, besides their own 
people, to the privileges of Roman citizens: The Roman 
empire is therefore not one nation, but a number of nations 
combined for the support of one establishment^ and the 
seeds of this combination were in it from its earliest origin. 
This dragon had therefore ten horns, which are designed to 
represent a multiplicity of powers, combined for the sup- 
port of the empire, and particularly the ten kingdoms, 
which in latter ages united in support of the beast. These 
appeared in the heads of the dragon; but the crowns were 
on his heads, and not on the horns; and hence we see plain- 
ly, that the dragon represents pagan, and not papal Rome. 

The apostle observed that " his tail drew the third part of 
the stars of the heaven, and cast them to the earth." The 
power of the Roman government in those days of persecu- 
tion, is well known to have been exerted, chiefly against the 
ministers of the gospel, and all who held any kind of au- 
thority, or stood in any manner conspicuous in the church. 



THE Xn. OF THE REVELATION. 161 

Their great object was to put down the rising sect, which 
was spreading itself every where through the empire; and 
they pursued that kind of policy which was best calculated 
to effect their purpose. As an army without officers and com- 
manders can be easily dispersed; so the church, without her 
spiritual guides, could never attain to any honor or influ- 
ence among mankind. Hence in every period of persecu- 
tion, those who occupied any conspicuous station in the 
church, were the first objects of vengeance. Every kind of 
temptation was tried iti the fust place to seduce them frora 
their duty; and if this did not succeed they were either ban- 
ished, or put to a cruel death. Thus the dragon drew, with 
his tail the third part of the stars, and cast them down on the 
earth. 

The Romans in those ages, were the best and wisest of pol- 
iticians; and they foresaw from the rising influence of Chris- 
tianity, what did actually take place afterwards; that, if 
this new religion was suffered to grow, and spread itself 
over the empire, not only the worship of the gods must 
cease: but the whole machinery of the jb-overnment must be 
stopped. Religion and politics, or the civil and ecclesiasti- 
cal power, were so intimately connected in the ancient 
Roman empire, that one could not stand without the other. 
The great object therefore, was to prevent the increase of 
Christianity; and as Pharaoh, king of Egypt, dreading the fu- 
ture power of the Hebrews, gave orders that the male 
children, as soon as they were born, should be cast into the 
river; so the dragon stood before the woman, who was about 
to be delivered, that he might devour her child as soon as it 
was born. 

But the wisest policy of man turns out to be mere folly, 
when it comes in competition witli the designs of God, 
Notwithstanding all his watching and careful attention, the 
woman ''brought forth a man child, who was to rule all 
nations with a rod of iron." The offspring of the church, 
in that age, instead of being prevented from coming into the 
world, or of being weak and debilitated, like puny and un- 
healthy children, whose mothers have been sickly during 
their pregnancy, was strong, and vijj;ort!US, and healthy; 
and therefore it is representetl by a man child. It was not 
an efteminate, pusillanimous kind of Christianity, such as 
we have in our times, vvliich existed in the world in those 
early ages. The offqiring of the churches which were 
planted by the apostles, continued, for some ages, to bear 
the character of those by whom the churches were planted. 

14* 



162 



DISSERTATION ON 



The ministers were men of apostolic character. They re- 
fused no sufferings. Thev regarded no hardships or pains. 
Like Paul, thej counted not their lives of any great value, 
thatthej might finish their course with joy, and the minis- 
try which was committed to their trust. Hence the ministry 
of those times is represented by the first of the living crea- 
tures, whom the apostle beheld near the throne of God, and 
who had the face of a lion. It is represented, also, in the 
first seal, by **one sitting on a white horse, armed with a 
bow; and a sword was given to him, and he went forth, 
conquering and to conquer." The churches of those days 
had much of the same spirit which their teachers possessed. 
They were not discouraged from the performance of their 
duty, by the fear of persecution. They would not be se- 
duced by flattery, nor the prospect of honors and advantages 
in the world. They endured every evil with patience and 
fortitude. They despised the arts and allurements of the 
enemy; and thus they showed themselves worthy to be ad- 
vanced to honor. 

This man child does not signify any particular individual 
among the christians of those times. Some repectable 
commentators have indeed supposed, that by this man child, 
Constantine the great is particularly pointed out, and that, 
by the same rule of interpretation, the dragon means Gale- 
rius, one of the emperors, who most bitterly persecuted the 
christians. But symbolical representations seldom, if ever, 
relate exclusively to individuals. The Lord Jesus Christ, 
and, indeed, each of the persons in the Godhead, are fre- 
quently represented by symbols; but a human being is not 
considered as of so much importance and dignity, as to be 
made the exclusive subject of such a representation. When 
Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar, in the interpretation of 
his dream concerning the golden image, '• thou art this 
head of gold," he does not mean that this monarch was 
personally and exclusively represented by that symbol; but 
the government or dynasty, which com'menced before his 
time, and continued after him. This truth, that symbols 
are used in the prophecies, not to represent individuals, 
but public bodies ot men, associated and combined for cer- 
tain purposes, ought constantly to be kept in view, by every 
expositor of prophecy. The private life of Constantine, 
afid particularly his murderous policy in the latter part of 
it, together with his refusal to receive the ordinance of bap- 
tisn) until he lay on his death bed, show, in no very dubi- 
ou". manuei', that although he was an instrument, in the 



THE XII. OF THE REVELATION. 163 

hand of God, for effecting a great work in favor of his 
ctiurch, jet he had little knowledge of the gospel, and what 
he did know of it produced no slaving effects on his hearL 
But there was a large body of true christians*, who, in those 
ages, supported the christian name, by their acticuis and 
sufferings in the cause; and therefore, they are well repre- 
sented by a man child, who should rule the nations, and who 
was finally caught up to God and to his throne. 

Such christian characters as those who lived from the 
days of the apostles to the days of Constantine, are the same 
class of characters whom God shall raise up in these lattex 
days, to support his cause, and raise it to honor and exalta- 
tion. What we are to understand, by ruling the nations, 
&c,, was faintly represented in the days of Constantine. 
The christians had truly a great degree of power in the 
affairs of the empire. The child, in this sense, may be said 
have been caught up to God and to his throne, and to have 
ruled all nations with a rod of iron. But this part of the 

frophecy has been only figuratively and typically fulfilled, 
t is to be accomplished in the highest and most glorious 
sense in, the latter days. The Redeemer now says to us, 
for our encouragement, as he said to the church in Thyatira, 
•* He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, 
I will give him authority over the nations, and he shall rule 
them with a rod of iron, and as a potter's vessel they shaW 
be broken to shivers; even as I have received of my father." 
The times of Constantine, and of the emperors who suc- 
ceeded him, were, perhaps, more unfavorable to the growth 
of vital Christianity, than the times of bitter and bloody per- 
secution. The church is generally more corrupted by pros- 
perity than adversity. In the former condition, there are 
always great numbers brought into it, while in the latter, 
the corrupted members are cut off. But the time has not 
yet arrived, when vital Christianity can flourish in the sun- 
shine of worldly splendor. No sooner did the church arrive 
at this condition, than she began to be corrupted; and it 
t>ecame necessary for the faithful followers of the Redeem- 
er, who are properly the true church, to descend from that 
high station in the world,~and retreat into the wilderness. 
The circumstances of the church in those times, are de- 
scribed in the second chapter of Hosea, where the church hi 
represented by a woman who had been unfaithful to the 
marriage vow, but who was afterwards deserted by her 
lovers, and left in want and wretchedness. Amidst all 
outward splendor, and tht show of prosperity, true chris- 



164 DISSERTATION ON 

tianity was then in a state of starvation. Hence God says, 
•' Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilder- 
ness, and speak comfortably unto her: and I will give her 
her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a 
door of hope; and she shall sing there as in the days of her 
youth," &c. In the days of Constantine arid his successors, 
the mass of professing christians departed from the simpli- 
city of the gospel, and true cliristians found it necessary to 
retire into obscurity, that they might enjoy the pure and 
spiritual worship of God. 

Another representation here calls us to consider, more 
particularly, the state of the church in that interesting age. 
The apostle beheld two armies in the heavens: one of them 
under the conduct of Michael, the great prince, who is spo- 
ken of in the xii. of Daniel, and the other under the conduct 
of the dragon. Each of them appeared to be followed by a 
numerous army of angels. *' There was war in heaven. 
Michael and his angels warred against the dragon, and the 
dragon warred and his anjiels." This symbol is here used 
to describe the long and protracted contest, which continued 
from the days of the apostle until the days of Constantine, 
between the saints and the persecuting power of pagan 
Rome. It may, perhaps, be true, as has been conjectured, 
that this representation is taken from a real fact, which 
once did take place in heaven, when Satan and his angels 
were expelled. 

There are some traditionary revelations, which were 
known to the church in the very ancient ages, which are 
not embodied in the scriptures, and therefore have not come 
down to us entire. Such is the fact of Michael, the archan- 
gel, disputing with the devil about the body of Moses. This 
fact appears to have been known to the church in the days 
of the apostles^ but we have no particular account of it in 
the scriptures. It may therefore be a fact, that there was 
such a war in heaven, and that the same thitigs were pre- 
sented to the apostle, as symbolical of the spiritual contest, 
which took place in the Roman empire, when the church 
struggled for existence against the power which threatened 
to destroy her. But whether this be true or not, it^is plain 
that Michael and his angels, are a symbol of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, the true ministers of his gospel, and all his servants: 
and that the dragon and his angels, are the head of the Ro- 
man empire, with all the ministers of a false religion; all of 
whom stood in array against the armies of the living God. 
It was not such a war, as we are* generally accustomed to 



THE XII. OF TilE REVELATION. 165 

see in this world. The victory was not gained by superior 
prowess and skill, as victories are generally gained by con- 
tending powers on the earth. It was such a war as was 
carried on by the Lord Jesus Christ, single handed, against 
tlie united legions of darkness, and the power of the Jewish 
nation. In that war, *' he conquered principalities and pow- 
ers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them 
in his cross." If the sufterings which the Redeemer endured, 
or the prospect of sufferings, had induced him to deviate 
from the path of duty: if Satan had succeeded, in any of his 
temptations to lead him into sin, then he, and not the Redeem- 
er, would have gained the victory. But as he still adhered 
to his integrity, and his mind could not be conquered, either 
by the allurements held out to him, or the sufferings inflict- 
ed on him, so he gained the contest, arose, and ascended, 
with tlie trophies of victory, to his Father's throne. This, 
tlierefore, was the way in which he and his church conquer- 
ed tlie dragon and his angels, when the power of pagan 
Rome was put down. The christians then gained the vic- 
tory, by their inflexibility in defending the cause of truth. 
They could not be influenced by bribery or corruption. They 
could not be bought by any worldly advantages, and they 
could not be frightened into compliance with a false reli- 
gion, by the gibbet or the stake, or any kind of torture which 
might be invented, either by human or satanic ingenuit}'. 
Thus the dragon and his angels prevailed not. 

But as the Jews comforted themselves with vain hopes, 
when they had crucified the Redeemer, that their power was 
established, and that they had no reason to fear the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, or his cause j so the Romans thought to exter- 
minate Christianity; and they had great and sanguine hopes 
of success, by the last persecution in the reign ofGalerius. 
It was planned and concerted with a great degree of skill, 
and carried into eftect with the most bitter and persevering 
crueltj^jand would probably have been successful, had not 
He that controls the raging waves of the ocean, issued his 
mandate, and said, *' hitherto shalt thou come, but no fur- 
ther." At that period Constantine succeeded to the powerj 
the Roman world flocked to his standard, victory crowned 
his arms; and not only did persecution cease, but the per- 
secutors lost the power, and were driven from the head of 
the government. Thus the serpent was cast out of heaven. 
The powers of heathenism never regained their influence. 
They made many attempts to rise, but a Supreme power 
defeated them all: and the old serpent was obliged to de- 



166 



DISSERTATION ON 



tIsc a new plan of policy, that he might continue to deceive 
mankind. 

The triumphs of Christianity, and the hostility and hatred 
of the dragon, increasing in proportion to the declension of 
his power, and his want of success, are detailed in the re- 
maining part of this chapter. When the dragon and his an- 
gels were cast out of heaven, the apostle heard a voice pro- 
claiming: "Now is come the salvation and might, and the 
kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; because 
the accuser of pur brethren is cast down, who accused them, 
before our God, day and night. And they conquered him 
through the blood of the Lamb, and througli the word of 
tlieir testimony," &c. It is evident that something great- 
er, and more grand and glorious, than all the victories which 
w»re gained by the church in those days, or in any prece* 
ding age, is here presented to our view. We are to look 
through the symbols, and contemplate a much greater victo- 
ry, than that of Constantine, or any of his successors, or any 
success, which in those days was gained for the chris- 
tian cause. This prophecy is to be viewed in the same 
light, as the prophecy of our Lord, In which he shev/ed the 
destruction of Jerusalem, and the triumphs of the gospel, 
in the times which immediately succeeded his death and re- 
surrection: while under the same similitudes, he predicted 
tJie future judgments which should be executed on the wick- 
ed, and the future triumphs of the gospel, until the judg- 
ment day. This emblem of victory over the dragon, is in- 
tended to prefigure, all future victories, which shall be ob- 
tained by truth over error, and especially the time, which is 
not far distant, when the accuser of the brethren shall be cast 
down, shut up in darkness, and confined a thousand years. 
Rehiring those things in our minds, we shall be the better 
enabled to understand the symbol, and to make a right ap- 
plication of it to the times that are past. 

it was a real victory which the church gained, by adhering 
to the truth in opposition t(5 error. Satan did then fiill like 
lightning from heaven. The agents and abettors of false 
religion, were then truly covered with confusion. They 
saw their cause sinking, and to raise it was far beyond their 
power. Some attempts were made by the emperor Julian, 
who succeeded the sons of Constantine in the government, 
to renovate and bring into power, the ancient and decayed 
superstitions: but the efforts ceased with his life, in tbe 
Persian war; and he is said to have exclaimed in anguish 
and despair, when he received his mortal wound^ ♦* O 



THE XII. OF THE REVELATIOW. 167 

Galilean, thou hast conquered." It was, in fact, an im- 
portant conquest of the Lord Jesus Christ, over a power, 
which, as long as it continued in the world, would have 
formed an impassable barrier in the way of the gospeL 
Therefore he took the great dragon, and cast him down from 
heaven to earth. .. Heaven and earth are both used as sym- 
bols. The former as the place of honor and power, and the 
latter as the phice of the dragon's dishonor and degradation. 
The dragon and his angels were driven out from honor and 
power in the moral world, and obliged to take up their resi- 
dence in low stations, among the uncivilized and barbarous 
people, Vvho had no heavenly views and no spiritual desires; 
but whose minds were altogether fixed on earthly things. 
These were the only characters, on whom they could have 
any influence; or with whom they could be suffered to dwell. 
This is the earth to which the dragon and his angels were 
cast down. The same things take place with all impostors, 
from the highest to the lowest, after their powers of decep- 
tion have come to an end. The great dragon exerted his 
power over the whole world for many ages, and was exalted 
to heaven, or assumed the highest station in the moral world. 
There he exerted all his power, to prevent the influence of 
true Christianity: but he was finally overcome, and cast 
down from his lofty seat. Thus every little deceiver has 
his time of success and triumph: but he finally falls by the 
force of truth, and his influence, immediately after his fall, 
is confined to the ignorant and degraded class of mankind, 
who are very properly represented by the earth: and even 
among those, his influence will last only for a short period. 
Hence we see the reason of this joy in heaven. It is always 
reiterated when error falls, and truth gains the victory. 

There is joy in heaven, because the accuser of the breth- 
ren is cast down, &c. It is evident that something more is 
meant here, than the accusations which were brought against 
the christians before the Roman magistrates. The edicts 
which were issued by the emperors, from time to time, 
brought indeed a host of accusers; and the judges were 
busied almost day and night, in receiving accusations and 
passing sentence on the accused. The christians, who were 
accused, could not possibly escape punishment without de- 
nying the cause of Christ; for as soon as an accusation was 
brought against any ope, he was taken to the pagan altars, 
commanded to sacrifice to the gods, and to blaspheme, by 
cursing Christ. If he would not agree to the demand, his 
guilt was inferred from his disobedience, and he. was led 



158 DISSERTATION Oir 

immediately to punishment. But the Roman power was 
only the instrument in the infliction of those sufferings, which 
the christians endured. The great agent was the devil, who 
did in fact accuse them before God. We are not so wel^ 
acquainted with the spiritual world, as to know how thfe 
old serpent, who is called the devil and satan, gains admit- 
tance into the divine presence, and dares to bring accusa- 
tions against the servants of God: but that such a privilege 
is sometimes granted to him, will not be denied by any who 
believe the holy scriptures. It is related as a fact, in the 
book of Job, and the fact, no doubt, did actually take place, 
that on a certain time, when the sons of God came to pre- 
sent themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among 
them; and that God did actually say to Satan, *' hast thou 
considered my servant Job," &c. Then Satan brought his 
accusations, by insinuating, that Job had cause suthcient, 
even from worldly considerations, to live in the practice of 
duty to God. " Doth Job fear God for nought.^ Hast thou 
not put an hedge about him, and about all that he hath?" 
&c. This accusation was soon proved to be false and 
groundless; for when all his property was destroyed, and 
he was deprived, in one day, of his servants and his sons, 
by a sudden and terrible visitation of the enemy, so far 
from cursing his Maker, he only blessed him. But still, 
after all this, Satan was permitted to enter the divine pre- 
sence, and bring another accusation against this faithful 
servant of God. " Again, there was a time when the sons 
of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and 
Satan came also among them, to present himself before the 
Lord." Immediately his attention was turned to Job. 
*' Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none 
like him in all the earth, &c.: and still he holdeth fast his 
integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy 
him without cause." But Satan again jnsinuated his accu- 
sations, by presuming, that although Job did not curse his 
Maker for the destruction of his property and the loss of his 
children, yet he was prevented only by the fear of personal 
suffering. " Put forth now thine hand, and touch his bone 
and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." Then 
Satan was permitted to exert all his powers, in torturing both 
the body and the spirit of Job, and to go to every extremity 
in gratifying his malevolence, except that of ciepriving Job 
of his lite. The same truth is proved from the words of our 
Lord to Peter, on that evening before he was given into the 
handfrof his enemies. '* Simon, Simon," said the Redeemer, 



THE XII. or THE REVELATION. 169 

** Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as 
wheat; but I have prayed for thee," &c. — Luke xxii. 31, S!2. 
The word which is here rendered desired, properly signifies 
asked, and asked with a great degree of earnestness. It 
ought therefore to have been rendered, ** Satan hath asked 
earnestly to have you,*' &:c. It was, in Fact, a particular 
request of the accuser, that he might be permitted to shake 
the fiiith of the disciples. This request extended, not to 
Peter alone, but to them all. Satan requested to have the 
privilege of sifting them all as wheat, and his request was 
granted. In the garden of Gethsemane, all his disciples 
forsook him and fled; and although Peter followed him into 
the hall of the high priest, yet he denied that he knew him. 
It was then, the hour and the power of darkness, when the 
god of this world was permitted to triumph. From these 
facts, we may learn that the Old Serpent, who is called the 
Devil, and Satan, does actually bring accusations before 
God, against his true servants. In that period of the church 
which is the particular subject of our consideration, he had 
no doubt insinuated, that the christians did not follow Christ 
for nought^ and he obtained permission to try their faith by 
a severe and cruel persecution. 

But the faith of the christians remained firm and unmoved 
by the trial. They still persevered in the path of obedi- 
ence, and thus gained a victory, not only over their accusers 
and tormentors, but over Satan himself. They overcame, 
in the first place, by proving themselves to be possessed of 
the true spirit of obedience to God, and that they had the 
love of Christ in their hearts^ but they overcame afterwards, 
^vhen their opponents were put down. As Haman was 
overcome by Mordecai, who finally obtained all the honors 
and advantages which were lavished on his enemy; so the 
christians of those days triumphed over their bitter and in- 
veterate foes, and were advanced to the same honors in the 
empire from which they had fallen. 

This victory is said to have been gained ** by the blood of 
the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." There is 
an^fiicacy in the blood of Christ, in cleansing the heart from 
sin, and communicating holiness, which is unknovvn uud 
imperceptible, even to those who are the subjects of its in- 
fluence: but there is also in it a power, which streiifijthens 
the heart in a perceptible manner, for the endurance of 
temptation. Christians are enabled, and they knou- that 
they are enabled, to follow the example of that true and 
faithful witness, who loved ihem, and washed them from 
15 



ITO DISSERTATierK OW 

their sins in his own blood. The sufferings of Christ are 
always present to their view, in the exercise of faith; and 
bj this view, a spiritual power is generated within them, by 
which they are enabled to bear testimony to him, througl> 
every kind of trial. Thus they overcome by his blood, and 
by the word of their testimony; and in the last agonies of 
torture, life is not so dear to them, that, for the sake of living 
in this world, they would deviate, in the smallest degree,, 
from any known duty. 

This great voice, which the apostle heard in the heavens, 
expresses the sentiments and feelings of the church, in those 
times of joy and triumph. "Rejoice, O ye heavens, and 
ye that dwell in theml Wo to those who inhabit the earth 
and the sea; for the devil is come down unto you, having 
great wrath; for he knoweth that he hath but a short time.'* 
These acclamations of joy did, in that period, actually re- 
sound through the church of God. They were realized, in 
some degree, in that period; although they are intended 
also to express the joy of the church at the fall of the beast, 
as well as at the fall of pagan superstition. The highest 
part of the moral world was then occupied by the church of 
God; and therefore the heavens, and they who dwell in them, 
are especially called to rejoice: but those parts of the em- 
pire where the gospel had not been received, and where the 
inhabitants still adhered to the ancient superstition, are re- 
pjesented by the earth; because they were still established 
m earthly principles and practices. There v/as nothing in 
the religion of the heathen, to raise the mind to heaven, — 
nothing to exalt and purify the heart. All who were still 
established in that earthly religion, are designated by the 
** inhabitants of the earth:" and for the same reason we are 
to understand, by " the inhabitants of the sea," that class of 
mankind, who had some knowledge of the gospel, but had 
not fully received it, so as to have their hearts established 
in the truth. Their minds were still in an unsettled, fluc- 
tuating condition. They had not fully resolved, whether to 
espouse the cause of Christ, or that ol his enemies. As the 
man whose mind is thus fluctuating, like the waves of the 
sea, driven with the wind, and tossed, has no right to hope 
tljat he shall receive any thing from the Lord; so those cha- 
racters, as well as *' the inhabitants of the earth," were still 
left under the dominion of Satan. He fell among them when 
lie was cast out of heaven, it was not, indeed, to be ex- 
pected, that the pagan superstition, by which he had so long 
deceived the world, would continue always to deceive, even 



THE XII. OF THE REVE1.ATI0W, 171 

tlic most ignorant: but as he saw that his power was to be of 
short duration, so he was determined to effect the spiritual 
destruction of as many of them as he could. The wrath of the 
devil does not rage particularly against any class ot man- 
kind, more than another. He hates the whole human family, 
and desires, if possible, to destroy them all. He is as really 
the enemy of those who do, as of those who do not listen 
to his deceptions; and he was determined to make the most 
of the power which was still left to him, as he knev/ it must 
be of short duration. He foresaw that it would soon be 
necessary for him to assume another form of deception; but 
he was resolved to use his power, in that form, to the utmost 
of its extent. Thus every deceiver, when he finds that his 
evil designs are discovered, will be filled with wrath, and 
will exert himself to the uttermost, to k«ep those in dark- 
ness who have not discovered the truth. 

But although the dragon was, in this sense, cast out of 
heaven to the earth, he did not entirely lose either the power 
or the will to injure the church. "When the dragon-saw 
that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted, (or rather fol- 
lowed,) the woman who brought forth the man child.'' \n. 
this representation, the apostle saw the dragon on the earth, 
and being stunned and hurt by his fall,' it required some 
time for him to recover himself; but when he saw his condi- 
tion, and the woman preparing for her flight to the wilder- 
ness, he immediately pursued her, in hopes of eftecting her 
destruction. We see here the malignity of that persecu- 
ting spirit among the heathen, which did not desist for many 
years after the empire became christian. The spirit of in- 
tolerant hatred to Christianity was not put to rest by the fall 
of the great system of superstition. The true church of 
God was hated and opposed by ail those characters who pre- 
tended to receive the gospel, while the spirit of the world 
still had possession of their hearts. The woman, we must 
remember, represents the true church, and the man child 
represents that particular race of christians whom the church 
brought forth in the days of persecution, while the serpent 
stood ready to devour her oCspring. But this man child 
was soon taken to heaven, and the woman remained on the 
earth; and therefore, when the serpent was cast down, she 
soon perceived that much was to be feared from his wrath. 
The tiansition from heaven to earth, and from earth to 
heaven, is what ought to be expected in a vision. The 
woman, when in labor, appears in heaven; and afterwards, 
she is seen on the earth, ayiag before the serpent. ** Andi 



ir2 DISSERTATION ON 

tliere was given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, 
that she might fly to her place, where she is nourished for a 
time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the ser- 
pent." Some suppose that these wings signify the protec- 
tion which was given, by the government, from persecution; 
but the object in giving her the wings, was to save her, by 
adding celerity to her speed. The seipent was unable to 
rise from the surface of the ground; but still he could follow 
her, and her safety consisted in the quickness of her flight 
In fact, the spirit of heathenism, under the outward appear- 
ance of Christianity, made, at that time, as strong opposition 
to the true church of God, as in the times when Jupiter and 
Juno ruled the world. False doctrines were invented. 
Religious parties were formed in the empire, and the party 
in power persecuted the others, with all the bitterness which 
had formerly raged in the times of heathen domination. A 
multitude of idle ceremonies and absurd superstitions were 
introduced into the church, and those who would not con- 
form to them were branded with the name of heretics. There 
was little peace for those who would not adopt the religion 
of the men in power. The governors of the church became 
lords over God's heritage; and it soon became necessary for 
those who determined to keep their consciences pure, and 
to worship God in the way he had appointed, to shun the 
places of fashionable worship, and to go into obscurivy. 
This is what we are to understand, by the emblem of the 
woman retreating into the wilderness from the face of the 
serpent. We may see it exemplified in our own times, as 
plainly as in the history of the times which are the particu- 
lar subject of the description: for the church was to remain 
and be nourished in t!ie wilderness for 1^360 years. This 
period has not yet expired; and therefore we have no need 
to go back to ancient ages, to learn the meaniuir of this re- 
presentation. We see that when any sect of christians be- 
comes popular and fashionable, it becomes corrupted. No 
church can rise to honor and influence, in the present state 
of the world, without conforming to the fashions, and eitlier 
winking at or encouraging the pojuilar errors and vices of 
the times. This is, in truih, the real cause why some of the 
christian sects become numerous and powerful, and why 
others are cast into the shade, and tlieir existence almost 
forgotten. The one determines to keep a clear conscience, 
adh^eres to the truth of the gospel, preserves the worship 
pure from the inventions of men, and testifies against all 
the errors and delusions which tloat on the surtace of the 



I 



THE Xn. OT THE mEVErATION. 173 

rcTlglons woHld, and is therefore driven into obscurity: the 
other conforms to the ways of the world, and rises to honor 
and influence. In the ancient ages, when this spirit was 
growing, and gaining influence in the religious world, true 
christians needed wings, to enable them to escape with ra- 
pidity from the fashionable evils; and ever since that time, 
the true church has settled down in the obscure retreats of 
life; and she has never come out of them, without the loss, 
both of her honor and her purity. 

But the dragon was so wi*athful against the woman, that 
he could not allow her any resting place on the face of the 
earth. " And the dragon cast out of his mouth, after the 
woman, water as a flood, that he might cause her to be car- 
ried away by the flood.'' This is generally supposed to 
mean, the Huns, Goths, Vandals, and other barbarous na- 
tions, who, in those days, made terrible incursions into the 
best, and most populous and civilized parts of the empire. 
They came like an overwhelming inundation; and it seemed 
as if every thing valuable, especially every moral and reli- 
gious institution, should be swept away, and that the Roman 
world mast return to the same state of ignorance and bar- 
barism from which they had escaped by receiving the gospel. 
This was the highest gratification to the enemies of Christi- 
anity; for they hoped that the church would be carried away, 
and all the institutions of the gospel destroyed, by this flood 
of barbarians. But, contrary to all expectation, these de- 
predators settled down among them, and obeyed the religion 
and laws of the empire. "The earth helped the woman, 
and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed the flood 
which the dragon cast out of his mouth," 

But although this attempt failed, the wrath of the dragon 
was by no means abated. On the contrary, his rage was 
increased by every repeated disappointment. *' The dragon 
was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the 
remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, 
and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." He ceased from 
following the woman, because her flight was too rapid, and 
the place of her destination beyond his reach: but she had 
children, whom he was determined, if possible, to de.strov. 
She had not only broui^ht forth the man child, who had con- 
tinued for a time in the world, and then was caught up to 
God and to his throne; but she had other children, who 
were still in the world, who kept the commandments of 
God, and had the testimony of Jesus Christ. We mny learn, 
from this representation, that the great body of true cliris- 

15* 



174 DISSERTATION OJT 

tians, who lived in that period, hastened away, as fast as 
possible, from the corrupted churches, and formed small 
societies, in which the ordinances of the gospel were kept 
pure; and that many of them removed into other parts of 
the empire, where religion was not so much corrupted, as 
in the populous cities. If this is not particularly noticed 
by historians, it is because the facts were not much attended 
to, or because they thought them unimportant. It is as 
certain that they did exist, as that there were then true 
christians in the world. It i& impossible they should all be 
deceived, and equally impossible that they should comply 
with, or show approbation to the errors and vices of the 
times. This has, in fact, always been their conduct in 
times of corruption; and almost all the historians testify 
that those were times of corruption, beyond any former 
precedent. Christianity had become almost entirely ob 
scured and lost, by a cloud of errors, and absurd ceremonies 
and superstitions; and it cannot be supposed, that the body 
of true christians would countenance or approve of them. 
It is, therefore, perfectly natural to suppose they would 
make their escape, in these ways, from the reigning corrup- 
tions. But as christians had not, in those times, that pruri- 
ency, or itching desire, which they have in the present time, 
for breaking and splitting the church into sections and sub- 
divisions, there were still numbers of the true servants of 
God, who kept his commandments and his testimonies, and 
yet continued in the popular and corrupted churches; still 
bearing testimony against their errors, and endeavoring to 
lead them back to the simplicity of the gospel. This is 
matter of history. Even Augustine, who lived in the fourth 
century, a very conspicuous character in those times, com- 
plains that the church was burdened with useless rites and 
ceremonies, and loudly inveighs against the errors and cor- 
ruptions into which his brethren had fallen. He, and others 
of the same class, were the woman's seed, who still remain- 
ed after she had retreated to the wilderness, but who still 
kept the commandments of God, and carried the testimony 
of Jesus Christ along with them, while they remained in the 
midst of error and corruption. It was against them that 
the dragon, in his rage, went away to make, war, when the 
woman had escaped beyond his power. He contrived to 
render their lives a scene of labor and sufferings; and his op- 
position did not cease until they also were driven into the 
wilderness. 



THE XII. OF THE REVELATION. 175 

This chapter contains a prophetic history of the scenes 
of trouble and persecution, of violence and blood, through 
which the church of God wa<^ obligjed to pass, in her ascent 
to the honors and power of the Roman empire; and also of 
the quick and precipitate retreat which she was obliged to 
make, so soon as her offspring was taken to heaven. The 
succeeding race of chri.-tians was feeble, enervated by pros- 
perity, and unable to contend with the adversary, even after 
he was cast to the earth. The dnigon did not cease to 
exist after Christianity had obtained the ascendenc}' in the 
empire, nor even after the worship of the hi'athen gods was 
discontinued, and their altars and temples had crumbled to 
ruins. He exists even at this moment, and has the power of 
deceiving a large number of mankind. He then changed 
his form, but not his nature. He adopted the modern form 
of philosophic infidelity, and continues, under this form, to 
oppose the progress of the truth of the gospel, until this 
very day. The next chapter will show us the rise and 
progress of another power, which, under the form of Chris- 
tianity, and of great professions, and zeal for the propaga- 
tion of the gospel, has the same nature, and acts in perfect 
congeniality and friendship with the dragon; has, in fact, 
received his authority from him; has made havoc of the 
church, put down the witnesses, and left Christianity amass 
of ruins. 



PART II. DISSERTATION V. 



ON THE XIIL OF THE REVELATION. 

TrfE fifth century was remarkable, on account of the in- 
cursions of the barbarous nations into the Roman empire. 
There was then an incipient accomplishment of that prophe- 
cy, which is recorded in the 50th and 51st chapters of Jere- 
miah; and which is yet to be more terribly fiilfilled, on the 
spiritual Babylon. '* Set ye up a standard in the land, blow 
the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against 
her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, 
and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the 
horses to come up as the rough caterpillars." The northren 
nations, who, in the last end of the indignation, shall be the 
instruments, in the hand of God, for overturning and root- 
ing up the Roman empire, from its very foundations, did in 
that age, give a pledge of what shall be done by their hand, 
in the latter days. The Goths and Vandals, the Suevea 
and Alani, and various other hordes of barbarians, rolled 
their mighty waves successively on Italy, Spain and Gaul; 
they covered the most fertile provinces of the Western em- 

Eire, and threw all things into confusion. They were in the 
rst instance, invited by those who still adhered to the an- 
cient pagan religion, in the hope of destroying the christian 
church; but h'avir^g observed the superior fertility and salu- 
brity of those delightful climates, and the luxury and sloth 
of the inhabitants, they continued their incursions and set- 
tlements from generation to generation, until that part of 
the world became a mixt multitude of peoples, nations, and 
tongues. This was the sea, on the margin of which the 
apostle stood, when the beast arose. " I stood upon the 
sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having 
seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, 
and on his heads the name of blasphemy." It is agreed by 
all Protestant commentators, that this beast is the emblem 
of an idolatrous and tyrannical power; that this power rose in 
the Roman empire, after Rome became christian; and has 
continued in existence until this day. But if we look for a 
moment to the condition of the Roman world in those timesj 
and remember that we must select some period of instabil- 
ity and fluctuation, for the rise of the beast; we shall find 



THE XIII. OP THE REVELATION. 177 

that it cannot, with any degree of propriety, be dated later 
than the latter part of the sixth century. After that time 
the Western empire was comparatively in a settled condi- 
tion» Some have supposed that this beast rose in the eighth 
century, when Charlemagne spread abroad the fame and ter- 
rors of his arms; reduced the Saxons; extirpated the Hunsj 
terminated the kingdom of the Lombards; and contirmed the 
Pope in his authority both temporal and spiritual. It is 
very true, that the kingdom of the Lombards was one of the 
horns of the beast, as it is described by Daniel. While 
Daniel was considering the horns with fixed attention, he 
observed a little horn, which had sprung up in tlie midst of 
them; and before which three of the first horns were plucked 
up by the roots. The meaning is, plainly, that this little 
horn first sprung up, and afterwards three horns fell before 
it. This little horn is intended especially to represent, that 
spiritual power, of which the Pope is the head, and the visi- 
ble image. It was small at the beginning, and made no pre- 
tensions to any thing but spiritual authority; yet after- 
wards, as his ambition grew with the increase of his power, 
he also assumed the temporal sovereignty. Then the three 
sovereignties of Rome, Lombardy, and Ravenna, fell succes- 
sively under his dominion. These things took place in 
the settled state of the empire, and many years after the 
beast rose out of its fluctuating state. 

The commencement of his rise, was immediately after the 
ten kingdoms became independent sovereignties. It will be 
recollected, that the dragon had seven heads and ten horns; 
but the crowns were on his heads. This beast has also 
seven heads and ten horns, but the crowns are on his horns. 
If then, we could determine the time, when these ten king- 
doms had all become independent sovereignties, we may he 
certain that the beast arose very soon afterwards. Mr. 
Mede, as quoted by Bishoj) Newton, reckons up the ten 
kingdoms, as they stood in the middle of the fifth century, 
and soon after Rome was pillaged by Genseric, king of the 
Vandiils. 1. The Brittons. 2. The Saxons. 3. The 
Franks. 4. The Burgundians. 5. The Wisi-goths. 6. 
The Sueves and Alans in Gallicia and Portugal. 7. The 
Vandals in Africa. 8. The Alemanni in Germany. 9. 
The Ostro-goths whom the Longobards succeeded in Pan- 
nonia, and afterwards in Italy. 10. The Greeks in tho 
residue of the empire. Bishop Lloyd, as quoted by the 
same writer, exhibits the following list, together with the 
time of their rise. 1. The Huns, about A. D. 356. 2. Os- 



irS DISSERTATIOV ON 

tro-goths, 577. 3. Wisi-goths, 378. 4. Franks, 407. 
5. Vandals, 407. 6. Sueves and Alans, 407. 7. Burgun- 
dians, 407. 8. Herules and Rugians, 476. 9. Saxons, 
476. 10. The Longobards, who began to reign in Hun- 
gary, 5^6. 

Other authors have enumerated these ten kingdoms in a 
manner somewhat different: for the times were so very con- 
fused, and the empire in such a state of fluctuation, that even 
the historians of those times, do not exactly agree, as to the 
internal boundaries, by which these kingdoms were divided: 
but all agree, both Roman Catholic and Protestant writers, 
that ten independent sovereignties were combined for the 
STipport of the Western empire of Rome, and that these sov- 
et-eignties were all in existence in the year 526. These, 
therefore, are the times in which we are to look for the rise 
of the beast. The emblem of the beast ascending out of the 
sea, supposes a state of much greater fluctuation than exist- 
eil in the days of Charlemagne. The very fact of the unset- 
tled condition of the empire in these times, and t!ie uncer- 
tainty of historians as to the boundaries of these kingdoms; 
Tvhile all agree in the enumeration often; when at no other 
period, either before or after this, the empire was in such 
a state of fluctuation, amount to evidence almost conclu- 
sive, that this was the period in which the beast rose out of 
tlie s^a. 

This beast, when the apostle first saw it, had some name 
of blasphemy written on every one of its heads; and when 
he saw it afterwards carrying the woman, as recorded in the 
Reventeenth chapter, it was full of names of blasphemy. 
This shows the increase of blasphemous titles, which have 
been assumed by that power from age to age. Rome has 
often been called, the goddess of the earth, the heavenly 
city, the eternal city, &.c. In the beginning of the sixth 
century the Pope Was proclaimed universal bishop, the 
judge in the place of God, the vicegerent of the most High, 
the infallible arbiter of all doubtful questions; with many 
other titles equally blasphemous, and even at this time, he 
assumes the blasphemous title of HIS HOLINESS. But it 
will not be difficult to see the same characters, written on 
the head of many other denominations of christians; and 
perhaps a discerning eye might discover something of it in 
all. We shall not, however, dwell on this subject at the 
present time. 

The various symbols used in this chapter, are designed to 
give ua a full view of the Roman power, under this last 



THE XIII. OF THE REVELATION. t79 

form ; as it rose to maturit J, and attained its full dimen- 
sions, and all its appendages. It was like no other govern- 
ment on the earth. Some have been represented bj a lion^ 
others by a bear; and others by a leopard; but tiiis govern- 
ment had the leopard, the bear, and the lion united. Likfl 
tlie lion, it was ambitious and tyrannical: like the bear, it 
was cruel and perfidious: and like the leopard, it was artful, 
malicious, and quick in the execution of its purposes. We 
must bear in mind, that this beast is not the emblem of any 
particular individual; but of a combination of men, who gov- 
erned the Roman empire,* and continued to be supported in 
their power, by the ten kingdoms. It was also a religious 
combination; professing to the world that its views were all 
directed to the advancement of the kingdoio of Christ, while 
in reality the promotion of its own power was the chief 
object. 

The dragon, who was still on the earth, making war with 
the remnant of the woman's seed, no sooner saw this great 
beast rise out of the sea, than he voluntarily resigned to him 
his power, and his throne; and thus he was endowed at once 
with a great degree of authority. The heathen generally 
hated the true gospel, and very few of thena comparatively, 
could be brought even to profess Christianity, so long as the 
church continued pure, and free from the corrupting inven- 
tions of men: but as soon as the beast was invested with 
the powers of the dragon, Christianity spread rapidly over 
the world; and whole nations were converted at one time. 
But these conversions were generally effected by power, 
and not by any real illumination of the understanding, or re- 
newal of the heart. The king, or chief of the nation, was 
induced to profess Christianity, and perhaps to receive bap- 
tism from some of the emissaries of the beast; and then his 
subjects generally followed his example. Christianity be- 
came indeed the fashionable religion of the world; but it 
was generally little more than a change of names, and re- 
ligious ceremonies: while the substance was the same as be- 
fore. The dragon lost nothing of his power by giving his 
throne to the beast. He was really an agent of Satan 
while he professed to be the vicegerent of the most High.' 
The apostle saw that one of the heads of this beast, had 
received a mortal wound: but the wound had been healed 
in a manner that appeared to be miraculous. There were 
many events which concurred in those ages, to depress and 
even to destroy for a time, the supreme power of imperial 
Rome. When Constantine became the lord of the world, he 



ISO DISSERTATION OS 

thought proper to transfer the seat of his government to 
Bjzantium, on the banks of the Bosphorus; being the most 
central situation in the empire, and affording the best facili- 
ties for commerce. There he built a city, which he called 
Constantinople, and which, for many ages, rivalled and even 
surpassed the city of Rome in splendor and power. Thus 
the government was transferred from the west to the east, 
and Rome was at length divided into the eastern and west- 
ern empires. By the incursions of the northern barbarians, 
who erected independent sovereignties in various parts of 
the western empire, and burned and sacked the city of 
Rome, that government was entirely overturned; and thus 
one of the heads uf the beast was. wounded to death. But 
by the union of the ten kingdoms under the spiritual power, 
which resided at Rome, the beast was reinstated in all his 
authoiity, and soon became an object of wonder and admi- 
ration to the world. " The deadly wound was healed, and 
all the world wondered after the beast." 

As many circumstances had before combined, to depress 
the power of Rome, so afterwards, when she began to rise, 
there were many circumstances, which contributed to her 
exaltation. The bishops of Rome, from the days of Con- 
stantine, seem to have thought themselves entitled to pre- 
eminence, among the churches throughout the world: and 
no doubt, if the seat of the government had not been re- 
moved, and Rome had still preserved its pre-eminent stand- 
ing, the church of Rome would have maintained the superi- 
ority without a struggle. But by the removal of the govern- 
ment to Constantinople, another church rose m that city, of 
equal, if not superior splendor and dignity, and the bishops 
of Constantinople thought proper to dispute the title to pre- 
eminence with the Roman pontiff; and he was frequently 
obliged to yield to superior power. The government of the 
church in those days, was what is commonly called episcopal. 
Very soon after the days of the apostles, the churches 
departed from the scriptural plan of government; which 
plainly declares the governors to be all of equal authority. 
When the apostles, actuated by the same desire of pre- 
eminence, disputed among themselves who should be the 
greatest, the Redeemer commanded that he who indulged 
this (li position, should be depressed to the rank of a servant. 
" He that will be greatest among you, let him be the least of 
all, and >ervant of all." It is also sufficiently obvious to every 
unbiassed mind, that the scriptural bishop and presbyter, 
mean the very same kind of officer in the church of God. 
The bishops are frequently called presbyters, and the 



THE XIII, OF THE REVELATIOW» 181 

presbyters bishops. But degrees of rank and dignity arc 
so common in the other departments of life; and the desire so 
congenial to the minds of men, that it need not at all appear 
strange or wonderful, that episcopacy was so soon intro- 
duced. As there were some among the apostles, who aspired 
to pre eminence, so it is natural to suppose there would be 
a degree of that same feeling in every presbytery; and as 
they either did not understand, or did not regard the direc- 
tions of the Redeemer, to discourage and depress every one 
who aspired to pre-eminence, they of course found it neces- 
sary to exalt some one member of their presbyteries above 
the others, and to invest him with authority not only to 
preside in their meetings, but to superintend the whole 
concerns of the churches within certain boundaries. This 
was, no doubt, the origin of our modern bishops. 

But the introduction of grades among the clergy, laid the 
foundation for the supremacy of the church and bishop of 
Rome. When the principle was admitted, that one of the 
ministers of the gospel might rise above another in authority, 
diflferent titles, expressing superior power, were soon invent- 
ed; and the officers of the church rose one above another, 
like ranks in an army. There were deacons, and archdea- 
cons, presbyters and archpresbyters, bishops, archbishops, 
metropolitans, and patriarchs; with a whole tribe of inferior 
officers, such as acolytes, readers, catechists, &c. &c.; and 
thus every superior officer was a kind of sovereign in his 
own dominions; with a large number of officers under him, 
who were ready to obey all his commands. Some of the 
bishops and patriarchs had many provinces, and kingdoms, 
under their ghostly jurisdiction; and they were almost al- 
ways infringing on the prerogatives of each other. Thus it 
was at length found necessary to have some supreme arbiter, 
before whom the causes should be tried, and decided with 
effect. In the fifth century there rose no less than five of 
these superior rulers in the church, who claimed the supre- 
macy. The bishop of Rome, of Constantinople, of Alexan- 
dria, of Antioch, and of Jerusalem. These lordly prelates 
could not be contented with ruling over a number of pro- 
vinces or of kingdoms; they wished to have the world at 
their feet. But it was obvious, that one of them only could 
succeed; and a train of occurrences, seemingly fortuitous, 
finally enabled the Roman pontiff to succeed in his ambitious 
designs. It is true the other bishops refui^ed obedience; 
but they gradually sunk into insignificance, and Rome grew 
into power. Thus at length " the world worshipped the 
16 



183 DISSBRTATIOJr OW 

beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? who is able to 
make war with him?" 

In religion as in politics, a large majority of mankind, 
will follow that leader, who is the most successful, and 
whose party is the most numerous and powerful. By a long 
series of fortunate circumstances Rome recovered her an- 
cient splendor; and established a government much stronger 
and better able to ensure success to all her designs, than 
aoy other that had ever been established in the empire. 
She had the conscience of her subjects completely in her 
power. She taught them that the keys of heaven were in 
her hand, that she had power to open and to shut the gates 
of paradise, that out of her pale there was no communion 
with the Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently no salvation, " 
She arrogated to herself supreme authority. Whatever in- 
terpretation she was pleased to give to the scripture, was 
received as the truth; because it was believed that the 
church could not err. She made the scriptures first prove 
her infallibility, and then made the world believe that all 
her decisions must be right. Hence it is not at all surpri- 
sing, that the ignorant world should hold her in the highest 
admiration, and view her with awe and reverence: for in 
their opinion, she was invested with authority, which made 
her equal to the most High. Thus ''the man of sin ex- 
alted himself above all that is called God or that is worship- 
pedj'' &c. This kind of honor was really rendered to the 
Roman church, as far as her dominion extended; and this 
was over all the earth, or over all earthly minded men with- 
in her empire, for the phrase, **all the world," is literally 
all the earth, and means all men whose hearts were not en- 
lightened and purified by heavenly wisdom. They were as- 
tonished and fell down and worshipped both the dragon and 
the beast. The ancient idolatry, which had formerly been 
the object of great abhorrence among christians, was no lon- 
ger looked upon with the same feelings of aversion. Chris- 
tianity and paganism began to resemble each other in a great 
many particulars. The heathen Gods and Goddesses were 
merely exchanged for the Holy Virgin, and the Saints and 
Martyrs. The place of the heathen images was supplied by 
orucinxes, pictures, and other representations, which they 
either used as objects of worship, or to excite in their minds 
the feelings of devotion. The wood of the cross, the relics- 
and' bones of martyrs and confessors of former times, 
together with a multitude of amulets, and charms, and ex- 
^>roisms, fully supplied the room of the tutelary gods; altars, 



THE Xm. OF THE REVELATIOH, t^S 

masses, and a hundred empty ceremonies, were invented H 
supply the place of the heathen sacrifices; so that the dragon 
was really worshipped as much as before. He had givea 
his power to the beast, and the beast used it for his interest; , 
and thus both received the homage and adoration of a vaim 
and deluded world. 

In the ancient Jewish dispensation, there were many rites 
and ceremonies instituted by Jehovali himself; and they 
were all calculated to display his majesty and glory. *' !•» 
his temple every thing declared his glory;" and when hig 
worshippers contemplated the grand and sublime spectacle, 
they naturally exclaimed, *' O Jehovah, who is like unto 
thee," But the inventions of men are not calculated to de- 
clare the glory of God. However well they may be intended, 
they can only show the thoughts that men have had concern- 
ing him. We can see his glory, only in his own ordinances. 
But the votaries of the church of Rome, transferred that 
honor to the beast, by whose contrivances a certain outward 
splendor and dignity had been thrown over the v/orship. 
Whatever devotional feelings may be produced in the hearts 
tof worshippers by any human inventions, the inventors re- 
ceive the honor, and not the Almighty- Men in all ages have 
been fertile in inventions, contriving new ways of honorin'^ 
their Maker, and introducing them into the churches: but 
there is always so much glory taken from their Maker, and 
given to themselves, as corresponds with the invention. 
Those that worship according to th€ inventions of men, and 
aot according to the authority of God, always take his glory 
and give it'to another. In this s«*nse, titey all cry out, 
^* who is like unto the beast?" — and while the invention is 
viewed with admiration, and multitutles are deceived by it: 
— while opposition to it is discouraged, and the witnesses 
of the truth are not heard, th-e beast is successful by their 
sneans; and they also cry out, "who is able t© make war 
with him?" 

When deceivers and impostors are thus successful \m. 
their plans, and works of deception, they always become 
vain and inflated; *'and there is given unto them a mouth 
speaking great things and blasphemi-es. " Sometimes in- 
deed, men w^k) have good intentions, as far as they know 
their own hearts, but not sufficiently considering the great- 
ness and majesty of Go<l, are induced to make changes and 
alterations in the appointed ordinances of worship, because 
they think an improvement can be made with propriety, 
and th& glory of God, and tlie spiritual benefit of tlie wur- 



184 MSSBRTATION OK 

shippers, better pronwted by the new invention: but in all 
such cases, whatever apparent benefits may be enjoyed, and 
however their devotional feelings may seem to be revived 
and strengthened, the ultimate effect of such inventions 
will be that of ** speaking great things and blasphe- 
mies." This beast has power to make war with the saints, 
forty and two months, or 1260 years. Therefore as this period 
is not yet expired; so he actually does make war at this mo- 
ment, in all parts of the christian world, by creating and cher- 
ishing in the hearts ot the worshippers, an attachment to hu- 
man inventions; and consequently a proportional disregard 
to the ordinances appointed and given by Jehovah. Al- 
though the local seat of this monster of iniquity is in the 
city of Rome, and the ten kingdoms; yet the spirit of innova- 
tion operates every where and prevails. The reformation 
of the sixteenth century was deservedly hailed, as an auspi- 
cious and happy change, in the minds of men; by which 
the light of truth shone into their hearts for a time, and their 
minds were in some degree enlightened in religious and po- 
litical knowledge; while the fetters with which civil and re- 
ligious tyranny had bound them, were loosened: yet it has 
afforded only a temporary and partial relief. Those parts 
of the christian world, who renounced the authority, and 
forsook the communion of the church of Rome, did not en- 
tirely forsake her errors. The tree was cut down; but the 
roots remained in the soil. A thousand shoots have grown 
from the stock, and instead of a large and overgrown mon- 
ster, there is a little beast, of the same species, every where 
to be seen in the christian world. 

But "evil men and seducers always grow worse and 
worse, deceiving and being deceived." It seems almost 
incredible, and did not the other parts of this description, 
apply so exactly to the church of Rome, as to leave no 
doubt on the mind, as to the subject presented, we could not 
believe that any christian church could arrive at such a de- 
dree of impiety, as to " open its mouth in blasphemy against 
God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them 
that dwell in heaven." But let us recollect that this des- 
cription is symbolical. The apostle saw the beast sitting 
on his throne, and the world falling prostrate belore him in 
worship; and then he became so greatly inflated with vani- 
ty, as to speak blasphemous things against God, against the 
worship which he had appointed, and againt those who wor- 
shipped according to his ordinances. Viewed in this light, 
it is a striking emblem, not only of the conduct of tlie Ro- 



"^HIB XI li. <i F TH1E BEVEIrinrO N , 1 85 

man church 5 but of many otlier churches, who won Ul iiiJt 
wish to hav>e any affinity with the papal see. Blasphen^y is, 
properly and stri-ctly, the uttering of hurtful or injurious ex- 
pressions, either against God or man. This is the scriptu- 
ral and literal meaning of the word. In the common use 
«f it, sometJiing horrid and disgusting is supposed to be ut^ 
tered, immediately against our Maker. Hence common; 
readers do not immediately recognize the true import of the 
apostle's meaning. But the truth is, that men blaspheme 
-their Maker wlien they preacli false doctrines, or when they 
^tter false sentiments, eithf^r in prayer or praise. They are ' 
guilty of blasphemy against his tabernacle, when they 
•speaker wnte against the ordinances of worship which he 
has appointed. They are guilty of blasphemy against those ■ 
who dwell in heaven, when they utter injurious expressions 
against any of the true servants of God. But this kind of 
conduct which we see daily practised, was carried to an en- 
ormous extent, when Rome was in the zenith of her power. 
We may see it in theformsof her Bulls and Anathemas, which 
are sometimes issued from the Vatican, even in the present 
time. But her blasphemous language need not here be re- 
peated. Let us look at home and we shall see enough of the 
■same kind of blasphemy all around us, and even in the con- 
duct of those whose fathers have been conspicuous in the 
ranks of the defenders of ti-uth. 

The worship of our Maker, according to the dictates of 
our own conscience, is one of the most important and pre- 
cious of human rights. In this respect, no man ought to 
use even the smallest degree of conipulsion with his neigh- 
bor. He ought not even to use motives of self interest, in 
order to persuade him to adopt anj- religious opinion, or any 
mode of worship. No worldly favors, nor any worldly in- 
convenience, ought to be held out, to induce him to accept 
the gO'pel, or to be a member of any particular church. We 
find no encouragement for this practice in any part of the 
word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ preached the truth to 
those who voluntarily attended on his niinistiy; the apostUs 
travelled through the world, preaching the gospel to t!io>e 
who were disposed to hear it: but there is not the smallest 
reason to believe, that the Redeemer or his apostles ever used 
any kind of compulsion, or held out any worldly motives, to 
induce mankind to receive the gx)Sj;el. They never com- 
mitted even the small-est evil, although the greate.-it good 
might have been accomplished by it. But such is iv)t ihe 
general metiiod, by which the gospel is attempled lo be 

3 6* 



iS6 DISSfeRTATIOK Oir 

pi-opagated in the present time. Tliere is such A strong 
Hesire for making proselytes, or of bringing others over to 
tlieir opinions, that tliej gt nerally resort to every means 
within their power. But while they are thus endeavoring 
to iucrease the number of their sect; while they flatter one 
man, and threaten another, appeal to the vanity of a third, 
and the self interest of all, they do not see that they are 
acting on the very principle of the Roman church, and are, 
in fact, *' making war against the saints." This is taking 
an undue advantage of our neighbor, and is the very prin- 
ciple which produces the private animosities, the resent- 
ments and quarrels, which take place in families and neigh- 
borhoods; and when operating in a more extensive manner, 
produces national and civil wars, by which the most exten- 
sive miseries are inflicted, and the face of the earth c(ivered 
with blood and desolation. The man who takes any advan- 
tage of his neighbor, even although he may intend to do him 
good, is, in fact, makin<i; war on society and the rights of 
man. This principle was acted on, to its full extent, by 
the Roman harlot, when she drank the blood of the saints, 
and of the martyrs of Jesus. Encouraged and supported 
by the beast, she sent forth her emissaries every where 
through the world, ostensibly to propagate the gospel, while 
they carried on a system of warfare against righteousness 
and truth. But it is very obvious to every one, whose mind 
is at all exercised in discerning between good and evil, that 
the same dishonesty, intrigue, and cunning, are now as gene- 
rally practised by almost all the sectaries in the christian 
crhurch, while they attempt to propagate the gospel. The 
only difference is, that the harlot of Rome had the power of 
the sword, and could inflict civil pains and penalties on 
those who would not submit to her authority: but her 
daughters have not this power, and therefore they are obliged 
to multiply the arts of intrigue and deception. This is the 
way in which the beast now makes war with the saint?, and 
is able to overcome them. The true servants of Goil are 
also endeavoring to propagate the gospel. Th( re are two 
great parties in the church; the p;irty of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and that of the beast. Both of them have the same 
oetensibie objoct in view. But the party of the beast brings 
mankind into bi ndage to human inventions, in doctrines 
and worshij ; and they are not at all scrupulous in the use 
of means for the accomplishnient of their purposes; while 
tie pjirty of the Redeemer endeiivors to briiig uiankind un- 
lier his;ru!i:oi-ity; and they use, for this purpose, the means 
o;.:ly wliich he himself has appointed. 



trtE xiri. OF the hrvklatioi^. 18f 

Tn the present moral condition of mankind, where there 
is so little correct knowledi»e of the scriptures, and so little 
ngard for tlie authority of God, it is easy to se^that the 
party of the beast will generally prevail. It is, in fact, 
given to him that he should prevail, and that he should have 
power, for 1260 years, over every tribe, and ton^rue,- and 
nation; and that *• all who dwell on the earth should worship 
him, whose names are not written in the book of life, of th« 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." It is impos- 
sible to exhibit, more plainly than is here done by the sacred 
writer, the universal prevalence of error and deception in 
religion, tliroughout ihe christian world, and through tha 
whole of this period. If the Roman power was exclusively 
meant, the description would not be correct, for in many 
of the nations of Europe, and in the United States of Ame- 
rica, the Roman catholics not only make few or no convert;8 
to their faith, but are scarcely able to keep their churches 
in existence. Therefore, since it is given to the beast to 
continue in power for 1260 years, and during the whole of 
that period, to make war with the saints, and prevail against 
them, we must conclude, that the beast makes us^of other 
sects as his instruments; and when, any sect has risen 
to great power, and has become very numerous and influen- 
tial among mankind, it may be fairly presumed that they 
have been actuated by other principles, and have used other 
means, than the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ will 
justify. 

If this doctrine is true, and it is the plain meaning of the 
scripture, that all those whose names are not written in the 
book of life, should worship the beast for 1260 years, then 
it must follow, either that all, except Roman catholics, hav^ 
their names written in the book of life, or that the beast is 
found among other sects and denominations, as well as in 
the church of Rome. But truly it is obvious, from the 
moral condition of mankind, and the spirit tiiat reigns in the 
world, that no church can prosper and advance to honor and 
influence, or escape opposition and persecution, unless thej 
have a portion of the same spirit, and use some of the sanie 
means, by which the church of Rome acquired influence, 
and rose to eminence. It ought, therefore, to give pain, 
rather than pleasure, to hear and to read the pompous and 
boastful accounts of the prevalence and the triumphs of tlie 
gospel, of revivals in religion, and of multitudes of converts 
flocking to the standard of the cross, when we know, from 
the word of God, that nothing but error can prevail and 



188 DISSERTATION ON 

triumph, during this unhappy period, and fespecialiy during 
lliepartofit in which the witnesses are slain, and their 
bodies lyi^g:in the streets. God himself has branded these 
hiyjh colored and glowing descriptions with tiie mark of 
falsehood and blasphemy. Instead of the voice of triumph 
from the lips of the saints, it is the beast opening his mouth in 
blasphemy, against God, against his tabernacle, and them 
that dwell in heaven. 

These are subjects which ought to be well considered and 
wmghed by those who have understanding, and are possessed 
ofinfiuence in the church of God. All this description of 
tl»e beast partakes of the nature of a parable. It is obvious 
that such a monster of iniquity has established himself in 
the christian world, — that he has his chief residence in the 
city of Rome, and that he prevails over all opposition 
which can be made by the witnesses in that part of the 
world: but it is not so obvious that he prevails also over the 
witnesses in other places; especially where his authority is 
publicly renounced, and where men have professedly obeyed 
the divine command, "come out of her, my people." But 
God teaches us also this truth, no less truly and certainly 
than the former, wherv he tells us that all shall worship the 
beast, whose names are not written in the book of life. 
Hence the mark of importance, and of the interesting nature 
and character of this description, is here presented to us. 
*' He tliat hath ears to hear, let him hear. He that leadeth 
into captivity, shall go into captivity. He that killeth with 
the Bword, shall be killed with the sword. Here is the pa- 
tience and the faith of the saints." 

This declaration is obviously not intended to be literally 
understood. It is not true, that every one who leads another 
into captivity, is himself made a slave in the literal sense: 
and we know that many have put thousands to death with 
tlie sword, who themselves have died apparently in peace. 
But, like all aphorisms, it is designed to teach a great and 
important truth, connected with the operation and progress 
of religion among mankind. The operation of true religion 
on the hearts of men, brings them into obedience to God 
alone. They are truly servants, but they enjoy the only 
rational kind of liberty, which can be possessed by any be- 
ing, whose existence is derived, and not in himself. True 
religious liberty exists and flourishes only in the hearts of 
those who receive the Lord Jesus Christ, are regulated in 
their faith, and in their worship, by the divine authority, 
ai;d refuse all subjection to the commandments or inven- 



THE XIII. OP THE REVELATIOK. 189 

tions of men. But all deceivers, of every description, in- 
troduce something of man's contrivance into their worship; 
and under the pretence of honoring their Maker, they ac- 
fjuire influence over those who follow them in their way of 
worship. Thus they become fascinated by error and delu- 
sion, and much more strongly attached to false principles 
and false worship, than they are to the truth; so that they 
are really brought into bondage or captivity. We see this 
truth most clearly presented, in the strong and powerful in- 
fluence which the church of Rome possesses over the mem- 
bers of that communion. All the absurd dogmas of that 
church, and all the rites and ceremonies she has invented, 
have the most unlimited power over the hearts and affections 
of her votaries. The inventions of other churches have also 
a proportional influence on those who use them; and thus 
every man is brought into captivity, who is led by any hu- 
man invention. But the leaders are no less in bondage to 
some sinful lust, than those whom they lead. There are, 
indeed, many of them, who wilfully and knowingly deceive, 
and who are not themselves attached to any kind of religion; 
but they are in bondage to the lusts of the flesh. Their god 
is their belly, their glory is in their shame, while their end 
is destruction. But we are here chiefly informed, that the 
church of Rome, and all other churches that lead mankind 
into bondage, shall, in the end, be brought to ruin and de- 
solation, by those very deceptions which they have practised 
on others. They shall finally be caught in their own snare. 
In the net which they have laid for others, shall their own 
feet be taken. 

The truth contained in this aphorism, has exercised the 
patience and the faith of the true servants of God in every 
age. It would truly be a doleful prospect for the true 
church of God, if she could see no end to her sufferings: if 
there was no period in this world in which the church mili- 
tant should become the church triumphant: if the war should 
always be successful on the part of the beast, and the true 
servants of God should be oppressed and cast down in every 
succeeding age, to the end of the world. Such a dark and 
dismal prospect would cause a kind of despondency in their 
hearts, and in some degree hinder the exercise of patience: 
for this virtue cannot exist where there is no hope. But 
we have the promise, that in the latter days, the saints shall 
possess the kingdom 5 and it is also promised that they shall 
acquire this kingdom by conquest. They shall overcome 
by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimo* 



19Q DtSSEHTATIOir ON 

ny. The witnesses, after being slain shall rise from the 
dead, and ascend to heavenj and the Lord Jesus Christ 
shall come forth in his tremendous judgments, to avenge 
their cause and cast down those by whom they were op- 
pressed. This is the object of their faith and patience; the 
chief motive which keeps up their spirits, incites them to 
diligence in action, and teaches them not to refuse suffer- 
ing in the cause of their Lord. 

But a full description of this spiritual power, which en- 
slaves and finally destroys the souls of men, could not be 
given by one representation. While these reflections were 
passing through the mind of the apostle, his attention was 
arrested by another beast rising out of the earth; and that 
which appeared most remarkable in this beast, was, that he 
had two horns like a lamb; and yet he spake as the dragon. 
His first appearance indicated mildness and gentleness; but 
he showed afterwards the same spirit of his predecessors. 
The first beast ascended out of the sea, or from the unset- 
tled and fluctuating condition of the Roman empire, when it 
was covered by the inundations of barbarians. All things 
were at first thrown into confusion; but in a few genera- 
tions, they began to assume a settled order; and after the 
government was established and consolidated, the second 
beast came into power. It is evident that these. representa- 
tions are intended, to give us a clear and comprehensive view 
of that spiritual power, which has its seat in the city of Rome. 
The first beast is intended chiefly to represent the civil pow- 
er, as connected with, and supporting the religious establish- 
ment; and the second beast represents the spiritual or cleri- 
cal power, engaged in teaching mankind to respect and hon- 
or the government, which had already been established. It is 
well known that there are two kinds of clergy in this church, 
the regular and the secular. Indeed, every church that has 
any desire of extending its influence among mankind, must 
also have two classes of ministers: one class to be stationa- 
ry in particular local situations; and having some part of the 
church in their charge: the other not fixed and settled; but 
to itinerate and continue for a short period, wherever their 
labors may be required. These classes are found in the 
very first organization of the church, and in the scriptures 
are denominated pastors^ and evangelists The one is sent 
to preach the gospel through the world5 the other to be fix- 
ed in particular congregations. In the church of Rome, 
these two classes of the clerg}^ are so organized and estab- 
lished, as to possess and exert a great degree of power, for the 



THE XIII. O* THE REVELATION. t^l 

support of the whole establishment; atnd therefore they are 
represented by a beast with two horns. The monks and 
friars are of various orders; such as the Dominicans, Fran- 
ciscans, Jesuits, &c. who are subject to the command of su- 
perior officers, and thus their power is concentrated: while 
the local clergy are also combined under the bishops, arch- 
bishops, &c. so as to act with concentrated power, when 
any important object is to be accomplished. Although this 
beast had somewhat of the appearance of a lamb; yet it was 
also a ferocious monster, and when it began to speak, the 
aposthi discerned its real character. It had the nature of 
the dragon, and was altogether as hostile to the true inter- 
ests of the gospel, as infidel or pagan Rome. The Roman 
clergy have always been the most violent, and bitter perse- 
cutors of the true servants of God. It is true, that their 
power went no farther in appearance than their speech. 
They did not profess to have the power of inflicting any 
other punishment than that of excommunication: but the 
suiferer was then delivered over to the civil power, and fre- 
quently did not end his sufferings but with his life. Thus, 
this beast spake as a dragon, and *' all the power of the first 
beast he exercised before him." The great object of the 
Roman clergy is to promote the influence of the establish- 
ment, and therefore this second beast, is said "to cause the 
earth, and them that dwell therein, to worship the first beast, 
whose deadly wound was healed." The Roman clergy have 
always exerted themselves, with all their powers, lor this 
purpose. With them the establishment of Roman Catholi- 
cism is every thing; and this is not at all to be wondered 
at; for they believe that a union with their church is essen- 
tial to salvation: and therefore it is very natural, they should 
exert all their powers to bring the world into it. But after 
all, they only teach them that dwell on the earth, the wor- 
ship of the beast whose mortal wound was healed. 

Their influence over the men of the earth, was chiefly 
gained, by miraculous works, real or pretended. We 
know that the elergy of the Roman church, have always 
professed to work miracles: and we know that there are 
some of those works, which have all the marks of real mira- 
cles; so that if we deny the reality of them, and act on the 
same principles in every other part of our conduct, we must 
throw aside the evidence of testimony altogether. We 
know also, that many of their miracles have been proved 
to be mere deceptions, practised on the credulity of the ig- 
norant. But whether these miracles are real or pretended, 



19^ DISSERTATION Olf 

they agree entirely with the description here given of the 
beastj and therefore none of their works can have the ap- 
probation of God. We know not how far the Almighty 
may suiFer the powers of darkness to aid them, in their de- 
ception. The magicians of Egypt performed miracles, as 
well as Moses: but this fact did not prove that they, like 
Moses, had their commission from God. They were suf- 
fered, in that way, to deceive a wicked man to his ruin. 
The miracles of the Roman clergy are only another proof, 
in addition to many, that they belong to that establishment, 
here designated by the second beast. The powers of dark- 
ness are permitted to assist them in their works of decep- 
tion, that they who have turned away their ears from the 
truth, may be led still further into error, and bring them- 
selves to final destruction. The prophet Elijah commanded 
fire to come down from heaven, and those soldiers were de- 
stroyed, who had come to execute the unjust commands of 
an idolatrous and wicked king: but this beast is said to bring 
down fire from heaven in the sight of men, to persuade them, 
by the evidence of their senses, that he had the divine com- 
mission for all his works. We do not read in history, that 
any miracle of this description was ever publicly performed 
by the Roman hierarchy^ but we know, that in all their pub- 
lic works, they have uniformly acted on the principle of 
showing forth their own glory; and that their great object 
was to induce mankind to worship the first beast. As, 
therefore, the fire which Elijah brought down from heaven, 
was intended to prove him to be a man of God; so the fire 
which the apostle saw the beast bringing down from heaven, 
is intended as an emblem of all his public works, by which 
he convinces the men of the earth that he has his authority 
from God. 

But the glory of the beast was not completed, until he had 
a visible representation of himself, to be placed always be- 
fore the eyes of his worshippers. As the heathen idolators 
could not be satisfied with an invisible god, and therefore 
they made images of wood and stone, to represent the ob- 
jects of their worship; so, also, the worshippers of the beast 
required a visible object; and they found this object among 
the Roman hierarchy. The miracles they performed gave 
them so much pow er over the minds of men generally, that 
they were completely deceived, and had no doubt that the 
power of the clergy was from God; and therefore they re- 
ceived and obeyed all their mandates without hesitation. It 
is said, concerning this second beast, that he deceiveth 



THE XIII. OF THE REVELATION. 193 

them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles, 
which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, '< saying 
to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an 
image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and 
lived." The making of this image was a work of time, and 
the beast was long in existence and power, before the image 
was made. The western empire acquired its power by 
degrees, after it had almost sunk into ruins, by the separa- 
tion of the east from the west, and by the inundation of the 
barbarians. It received its power and splendor by the union - 
of the ten kingdoms. Then the clergy grew into power, 
and became a constituent part of the government^ and af- 
terwards the bishop of Rome became the visible head of 
the empire: and all these things took place when the mortal 
wound, which the empire had received, was fresh in the^ 
memory of all. The recovery of the beast from his wound, 
is here adduced, as a reason why so much honor should be 
paid to him. The healing of this wound appeared, in the 
eyes of all, to be miraculous; and this, combined with the 
miraculous works of the clergy, enabled them to persuade 
the world, that the bishop of Rome was appointed by heaven 
to be the visible head of the church. Thus he appeared to 
be clothed with divine authority, and became, by the voice 
of the people, and not by any decree of the Roman emperor, 
the infallible judge of controversies, and the vicegerent of 
the most High. It is, indeed, very probable, that the de- 
cree of the emperor Phocas might have increased his autho- 
rity. It was not Phocas, however, that made the image to 
the beast, but those that dwell on the earth. His power was 
admitted by Phocas in the year 606, when he declared him 
the universal bishop; and it was afterwards still more gene- 
rally admitted, in the eighth century, when he became a 
temporal prince, and three of the ten kingdoms were put 
under his control. 

Thus the great antichristian system was completed, and 
the man of sin was seated in the temple of God. But still 
it must be kept in mind, that the 1260 years of the reign 
of the beast is not to be reckoned from the time in which 
the image was made, nor from the time in which the second 
beast rose out of the earth. It commenced immediatolvv 
when the first beast rose out of the sea. Under the reign 
of the first beast, the fluctuating and perturbed conditioii°f 
the empire was composed; the waters assuaged, and the 
dry land appeared. Then the second beast arose, and 
afterwards the image was made by his influence: and hence 
17 



19^ BlftSERTATICm 0» 

U appears plainly, tfrat the year 590 is not at all too carfy 
for the date of the rise of the beast. Gregary the first, wlio 
i^stimed the pontifical robes in that year, may perhaps have 
been too humble and too good a man, to suffer himself to 
be formed into an image for the beast; but his immediate 
successors were not so scrupulous. They were generally 
ambitious enough to grasp at any thing which would increase 
tlieir power; and the honor of being the head of a govern- 
uaent that ruled the world, was a bait too precious not to be 
caught at with avidity. 

Every one who is at all conversant in the history of those 
times, must be struck with astonishment, at the agreement 
between the facts and the description given in the prophecy. 
The Roman clergy did make the most strenuous and per- 
severing exertions, to put life or spirit into this image of the 
beast. They labored to give him influence and authority 
among mankind. They carried his bulls and decretals over - 
the world, and proclaimed their divine authority every 
where in their preaching; and if any one refused to reve- 
rence them as divine, their whole power was exerted to 
destroy him. He must either lose his life, or his influence 
among mankind. He mustdie, either literally or politically. 
Tiius " it was given to the two horned beast to give life 
unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast 
should both speak, and cause that as many as would not 
worship the image of the beast should be killed." 

This two horned monster, with the living and speaking 
image, proceeded to impress their mark on all who were 
under their authority. '• He causeth all, both small and 
great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in 
their right hand, or in their forelieads; and that no man 
might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name 
of the beast, or the number of his name." Those that 
would not receive the mark in some way, either in their 
fi^reheads or in their hands, were deprived of the common 
prtvileiies enjoyed by the civil community. They were 
not only cutoff from the church, but they were placed under 
teti'.poral disabilities, by which they were deprived of 
n)any of the comforts of life. If at any time we find 
obscurity in this prophecy, and do not clearly see the mean- 
ing, we should always recur to the emblem, asa perspective 
glass, through which the object may be viewed: and there 
IK no doubt that we shall find it, and see it plainly after a 
few trials. This is a descrij)tion of things which the apostle 
saw in the vision. He beheld the two horned beast, and 



THE XIM. QT THE REVEl^ATION, W^ 

ti^e living image of the beast with seven heads and, ten 
horns, sitting on the throne of the dragon. He saw aU 
classes and denominations of men, gazing, with wonder, 
astonishment, and delight, at the new authorities which 
were placed over them. When, therefore, they saw i\ie. 
second beast performing so many wonderful works, and 
especially when they saw him bringdown fire from heaven, 
in the presence of all, tfPfey immediately recognized him us 
the commissioned messenger of God, and set about the 
execution of his orders with the greatest alacrity and cheer- 
fulness. They soon made an image of the first beast, and 
he immediately put life or spirit into it; so that the image 
could speak and act, as if it were the beast himself. Thtri 
he proceeded to impress a mark on all the multitude, that 
they might be known to be his subjects. There appeared to 
be some who were not willing to receive this mark, and 
they were immediately disfranchised, and not suffered to 
buy or sell. This is the scene which the apostle beheld in his 
vision, and we also may see it by the description he has given. 

Tlie first beast is that combination of temporal and spirit- 
ual power, which formed the government of Rome, after 
the ten kingdoms were united. The second beast is th« 
body of the clergy, who united for the support of the former 
power: the image is the pope, or the visible head of the 
cler<5y and of ti.e government; and the mark is the outwa^•d 
profession of attachment and obedience to the reigning re- 
ligion. It appears to have been customary, in those times, 
fer slaves to be branded with the name of their master, for 
-soldiers to be marked with the name of their commander, 
and even for different trades and professions to have some 
mark, by which they might be known; and the symbol i.s 
therefore taken from the common custom of the times. 
But the meaning is, plainly, the profession of attachment; 
anditis of little importance how or where the mark appear- 
ed, whether on the forehead or the right hand. Every one 
must show his attachment to the reigning pov/er, or else 
forfeit his claim to the rights and privileges of the otkcr 
members of the community. 

We can readily conceive of the operation of this princi- 
ple, from what we see in the world at the present time, and 
from the feelings which operate in our hearts, when we are 
tempted to forsake our duty, by the pi'ospect, on the one 
hand, of honor, profit, or pleasure, and on the other, of 
shame and persecution. Although none of the religious 
sects of die present time iia^verisea to the same degree of 



195 DISSERTATrOK^ OW 

power to which the church of Rome formerly attained, and 
therefore are not able to bestow on their votaries so many 
worldly advantages, or to cause those who refuse to unite 
with them to suffer so many inconveniences and troubles; 
yet we see the same spirit operating, to a certain extent, 
among almost all classes of christians, and especially among 
the numerous and powerful sects; and thus, in proportion 
to their power, they also cause all men to receive their mark. 
Such a mark is frequently a passport to office in the state; 
and therefore the wise politicians, who have no real regard 
for any religious sect, but only desire popular favor, that 
they may be the better able to accomplish their purposes, 
will frequently take the mark of sonje numerous and pow- 
erful sect; and by this means the}'- are sure of the suffrages 
of a large number of the community. This lure is as often 
held out, under various forms, by the different sects of 
christians, as ever it was in any age; and the mark of the 
beast is as certainly received, in this way, by immense 
multitudes, as it- was received in Rome, when she ruled the 
world. Some wear the mark on their f )reheads, and thus 
openly and boldly avow their attachment 1o the reigning 
fashionable religion of the times; and others have it on their 
right hands, that they may bring it forward when they judge 
it proper or convenient: but the fact is evident, that the 
mass of those who profes* an attachment to any kind of 
Christianity, have nothing more than the mark of the bea?t. 

The beast is not to be considered merely as an emblem of 
the Roman church; but also of other churches, who act from 
the same spirit, and follow the same corrupt practices. It 
is true, there are not many of these beasts, that have grown 
to such enormous dimensions, and have their povv'ers so well 
organized for deceiving the woild, and leading them into 
captivity: yet it is a fact, that some of them have the second 
beast with two horns, and others have gone so far as to 
make a visible image; while most of them endeavor, by the 
same methods practised in the Roman church, to impress 
their mark on all classes of mankind. 

The apostle, having described this spiritual and mystical 
power, by these various symbolical representations, gives 
MS a kind of enigma, in the last verse of this chapter, in 
order to exercise the ingenuity of those who have under- 
standinir, and love to develop the mysteries of prophecy. 
*• Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count 
the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: and 
his number is six hundred three score and six." In tha 



THE Xin. a? THE K£V«LXTrt)S. J 97 

-i^ajs of the apostle, the ten Arabic characters, by whicii 
numbers are now generally expressed, had not come into 
universal use among the Greek-s and Romans. It was the 
universal practice in the ancient ages, to express numbers 
by the letters of the alphabet. Hence every letter had the 
idea of some particular number attached to it; and thus, 
when figures or cyphers came into use, the names of persona 
and things were sometimes expressed by them also. As 
■every letter corresponded to a certain number, when those 
cumbers were added together, the sum was said to be the 
number of the name. The beast is therefore described, not 
only by symbols, but the numbers corresponding to the 
letters of his name are added, and the sum is 666, This is 
tlie amount, v/hen the letters in the Greek alphabet have the 
numbers corresponding to them added together. The wis- 
dom or ingenuity is therefore discovered, by finding a name, 
tlie letters of which, when added, will amount to the number 
666. The discovery appears to have been made soon after 
the days of the apostle. Irenreus, bishop of Lyons, who 
flourished in the second century, tells us, that the Greek 
word Lateinos, answering to the Latin name Latinus, 
which, in English, we call Latin, will, when the numbers 
corresponding to the letters are added, exactly make 666. 
The same is the fact with respect to the Hebrew word Ro- 
miith, which has the same signification. It has, indeed, been 
objected to this way of solving the enigma, that the word 
Lateinos ought to be written Latinos. But this, every one 
who is conversant with the Greek and Latin languages, 
knows to be erroneous^ for the longi, in the Latin, is always, 
by the ancient Greek writers, expressed by the diphthong ei: 
therefore, the word is properly written Lateinos. But Doc- 
tor Adam Clarke, a late expositor of scripture, wishing to 
remove every ground of objectiou, has shown us, that the 
Oreek phrase, he Basileia Latine, (the Latin kingdom,) will 
also make the number 666. But as this is said to be the 
number of a man; and as the word Lateinos designates 
every individual of that kingdom, the ancient interpretation 
ought to be prefered. The meaning will appear plainly 
from the following form: 

L A T E I N O S. 
S0 + l-f300 + 5-f-10 + 50-f 70+200 = 666. 
R U M I I TH. 
200+64-40 + 10 + 10+400 = 666. 
But although there can be no doubt nor hesitation in any 
unbiassed mind, with respect to the chief and prou.incnt 

17* 



198 DISSERTATION OX 

strbject of this description; it must also be seen, that everj 
»ther church, which follows the example of the R-man har- 
lot, by introducii g man's inventions into God's worship; 
thus •' devising to change times and laws," and taking into 
her own hands the authority which belongs only to the liOrd 
Jesus Christ, is also implicated in this description. The very 
name, ** Babylon the great," shows, that there are smaller 
Babylons scattered over the world;- and the phrase, ** mo- 
ther of harlots," shows that she has many daughters, who 
follow the same evil practices. As the church of Rome is 
called the Antichrist, by way of eminence; so there are also 
many other Antichrists: and where shall we expect to find 
them, if not in the large popular churches, wlio take every 
means in their power to induce the world to join their com- 
munion; and for this purpose corrupt the worship of God, 
that it may please the popular taste. There are, it is true, 
and there always have been, also some singular characters, 
who interpret the scriptures differently from the rest of the 
world, and lay hold on some doubtful passage, which seems 
to suit their views; and thus endeavor to form parties in 
religion, and become the leaders of different sects. In all 
times there have been heresies, and these always increase 
as the larger bodies become corrupted. But there is a cer- 
tain §tage in corruption, in which it may be said, *' the 
whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint; when from the 
sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness 
in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifyin^ sores, that 
have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified 
svith ointment." According to the tenor of prophecy, this 
last stage of moral corruption is to be expected in the latter 
days, or in the period just preceding the millennium. This 
time, therefore, in which we live, is that very period- The 
exertions which have been making to circulate the scrip- 
tures, to propagate the gospel, and to convert the heathen 
to Christianity, is no proof to the contrary. When we give 
all these exertions their full weight, and their full degree 
of praise, thev amount to very little. Perhaps there never 
was a time wfien greater exertions were made to convert the 
world to Christianity, than in that period when the beast 
first was rising into power. They were then much moi-e 
iuccessful in making converts than they are at this time. 
But the gospel, which they preached, was mingled with the 
wine of Babylon, and this rendered it palatable; and the na- 
tions drank of it, with avidity. Had not those ingredients 
been mingled with it, they would have cast it aside in dis- 



THK XHl, O? THE RRVELITION. ^99 

gust. This is precisely the case with the world in the pre- 
sent davs. The worship of God, and the doctrines of reli- 
gion, which are propagated, are all mingled with the wine 
of Bab_) Ion: hence the pro|)agat()rs appear to be successful, 
and are much applauded for their zeal and their labors; but 
if the truth were fully knoM'n, it would appear that they 
have extended the kingdom of the beast, more than that of 
tiie Lord Jesus Christ. 

From the facts which are constantly exhibited before us, 
there can be drawn but one of two conclusions: either, that 
many truths of God's word are of no great importance, and 
that he has given the churches full latitude, to offer any kind 
of worship they please to him; or else the christian church is, 
at this moment, a mass of error and corruption: and there 
are almost as many beasts as there are sects and denomina- 
tions. No honest and intelligent mind will be at a loss which 
of these conclusions to adopt. What then, can we expect 
in these latter days, but a series of terrible judgments, which 
shall purify the church, by cutting off" the corrupted parts of 
it. It is altogether vain to hope for any radical change, bv 
pointing out the errors of mankind. Every thing of this 
nature is supposed to proceed from disappoii.ted ambition. 
Every thing that savors of religious controversy is offensive 
to the public mind; and when men fall into error, and be- 
come attached to a false religion, there is scarcely a possi- 
bility of conviction ever reaching their hearts. In fact, the 
only ground of hope for the regeneration of the world, is in 
the last plaguesjor the vials of the wrath of God. When these 
are poured out, and multitudes swept away in their wicked- 
ness, after being made a terror to themselves, and to all 
around them; and all others who shall see their plagues, the 
inhabitants of the world will begin to learn righteousness, 
and know that there is a God whojudgeth in the earth. 

In the following chapters, we shall see the means which 
God has appointed for the renovation of the world, by the 
destruction of the wicked. 



Part ii. dissertation vi. 



ON THE XIV. OF THE REVELATION. 

And T saw, and behold, a Lamb was standing on the mount 
Zion, and with him 144,000, having the name of his Father 
written on their foreheads: and I heard a sound from the 
heaven, as a sound of many waters, and as a sound of great 
thunder; and I heard a sound of harpers harping with their 
harps: and they sang, as it were a new song, bifore the 
throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders; 
and no one was able to learn the song; but the 144,000, who 
were redeemed from the earth. These are they who were 
not defiled, &c. 

The xi. and xiii. chapters may, according to the technical 
language of some commentators, be called synchronous; for 
they point out the condition of the world during the period 
of 1260 years. In the former chapter we see the true ser- 
vants of God opposed and persecuted; and at the end of this 
period, or 1260 years from the time in which the witnesses 
began to prophesy, we see them put down, and driven out 
of power. In the latter, we see ihe triumph of error and 
falsehood, during the same period. We have seen that the 
witnesses began to prophesy, when the beast began to rise, 
and that they were prophesying about 30 years before he 
came into full power; and that therefore, as the witnesses are 
said to be slain at the end of 1260 years, after they began 
to prophesy, and that the beast continues in power for 1260 
years: so the whole period of his influence among mankind 
is 1290 years. *' After this, he shall be slain, and his body 
destroyed, and given to the burning flame." But it will 
be seen, according to this calculation, that, during the latter 
SO years, the witnesses are to be slain, to rise, and to ascend 
to heaven. In the first part of this period, they are to lie 
in the streets, for three years and a half. During this short 
t me, truth is trampled under foot: but for the^remaining 
part, or twenty-six years and a half, it will rise into influence 
and respect, and the true church of God shall be a large 
and respectable number of all christian nations. This is 
the period to which this chapter particularly relates. 

Most commentators indeed, suppose, that this first vision 
m this chapter, is intended to exhibit the condition of the 



m 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATIOW. 201 



true church during the whole reign of the beast; the second 

vision to the times of the reformation; and the last to times 
that are still future: but there is strong reason to believe, 
that if these respectable commentators were all now living 
in the world, they would see cause to change their opinion. 
In the year 1758, when Bishop Newton published his dis- 
sertations, the benefits of the reformation were still seen 
and felt, in the religious world. There was not so much 
corruption in the protestant churches, as there is in the pre- 
sent time. The current of fiishionable charity did not then 
run over the world, iike'an overwhelming torrent, and 
sweep away the landmarks between truth and error. It 
was then generally believed, that true religion would still 
have a large number to support it, in the very worst of times; 
and that the reformation was such an important event as to 
deserve a particular notice in the prophecy. But although 
the era of the reformation is deservedly hailed, as the time 
when truth burst the bars of the prison, in which she had 
been confined during the dark ages; yet, like all persons 
who have been kept for many years in the dark, she could 
not see the objects with that degree of distinctness and ac- 
curacy, which is always necessary to produce a correct and 
permanent impression. Some of the prominent doctrines 
of Christianity were indeed clearly seen and understood by 
Luther and Calvin, and the other fathers of the reformation? 
but on many important subjects, their views were dark and 
obscure, and their opinions erroneous. As they themselves 
differed in many things, and pursued different courses, so 
their followers continued in the sanie paths of error, and 
proceeded from bad to worse, until at the present time, there 
is but little difference between catholics and many pro- 
testants. Religion is every where corrupted with human 
inventions, and, as to morality, we are but little superior to 
the members of the Roman cliurch. The reformation con- 
tained in itself the seeds of its declension. The fruit has 
now come to maturity, and we know the kind of seed which 
produced it. It would have scarcely been possible for all 
the power of satan, to have put down the witnesses, had it 
not been for the divisions which took place among them in 
the time of the reformation. That same sectarian zeal> 
which now operates among large bodies, did tlien work in 
the hearts of the leaders; and as their views on certain sub- 
jects were dift'erent, they soon began to oppose one another; 
and their opposition was frequently carried on with much 
rancor and bitterness. They knew that they were bound 



3IH DISSERTATION QK 

**to contemd earnestly for the faith once delivered to the 
saints:" but their own selfish passions were frequently min- 
gled in the contention, and they too frequently contended 
for victory rather than for the faith. We have seen the 
faults of our fathers, and have discovered, that nothing can 
be gained, either for ourselves, or the cause of truth, by 
biting and devouring one another: but like the pendulum in 
its vibrations, we have not continued for a moment, in the 
safe and happy medium; but have moved to the extreme of 
charitj: and this has occasioned the slaying of the wit- 
nesses. 

But still the efforts of the reformers were an important 
preparation, in the providence of God, for the scenes which 
are soon to be realized in the christian world. It was like 
the dawning of the morning, in which the verge of the hori- 
zon is tinged with light; but afterwards all becomes obscure, 
by the collecting and thickening clouds, which are too gross 
and dense to be dispelled in a moment. Thus the darkness 
becomes greater than before, until at length the sun rises, 
and all obscurity is driven away. In this view the reforma- 
tion may be considered as a preparative to the accomplish- 
ment of this prophecy. Tliere were then a large number 
comparatively, who may have been seen standing with the 
Lamb on mount Zion; and then also the angels were seen 
fljing in the midst of heaven, proclaiming their different 
messages to mankind. It was the dawning of the great work, 
which shall appear, and spread rapidly over the world, ia 
the latter days. 

The accomplishment of this prophecy is yet future, but 
it is fast hastening on; and we may see so much of the com- 
mencement of it, as may serve to show us its true nature. 
The apostle beheld a lamb, no doubt the same which he had 
seen near the throne of God, and the same who opened the 
seven seals. This lamb was standing on Mount Zion; and 
there were with him 144,000 persons, who were marked in 
their foreheads with his Father's name. The Sun of God ia 
here represented in his character of Redeemer; and the large 
company who were with him represent the true servants of 
God, some short period after the witnesses shall have risen 
from the dead. There has still been, in the worst of times, 
and there is at present, a respectable number of such charac- 
ters in the world, who have not joined in the corruptions of 
the church: for the witnesses, who prophesy in sackcloth, 
are not the whole church of God; but a certain class of chris- 
tians, whom he prepares and endows with gifts for this par- 



THE XfT. OF THE RBYELATION. 20S 

ticular purpose. In one sense, thej may be said to compre- 
hend the whole church, as the apostles were, for a certain 
time, the church: but still, at the same time, there were 
many thousands of the true servants of God scattered over 
^e land of Judea. So, also, at the time when the wit- 
nesses were siain, there were many true christians besides 
them; and when they rise from the dead, there are, of 
course, many besides them, who have not arrived to the 
same degree of light, and of knowledge of the scriptures, 
as to be able to stand up and exhibit the truth in the face of 
all opposition. These 144,000 represent those christians, 
who, in the times of corruption, and the declension of Chris- 
tianity, have not suffered themselves to be led away, by the 
vices and fuliies of the christian world. In this latter 
age, as soon as the witnesses shall have risen, and be 
ascenciino; to heaven, there will be seen a large and re- 
spectable number of this kind of christians. In the present 
state of degeneracy, every true witness is apt to complain, 
with Elijah, '' I have been very jealous for the Lord God 
of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy cove- 
nant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with 
the sword; and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my 
life to take it away." But even in this age of degeneracy, 
God says, '*! have reserved for myself 144,000 in Israel; 
all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth 
which hath not kissed him." There is still a number, out 
of all sects and denominations, who have not fully consent- 
ed to, and approved of, the errors and corruptions whiqli 
have been introduced into the worship of God; and when 
the witnesses shall stand up, and vindicate the truth, they 
shall find many more of the friends of truth than they had 
anticipated. God has marked his people for himself; and 
although they may not appear when the churches are scat- 
tered, yet, like an army which has been defeated and dis- 
persed, there are many who still continue faithful to their 
commander; and when the standard is again raised, and the 
banners unfurled, there will stiJl be found a large number to 
rally round it. Thus, when the Redeemer was taken, 
condemned, and crucified, there was not one of his disci- 
ples who could stand up to support his cause. They were 
dispirited and dejected, but they were far from consenting 
to the wicked works of the high priests and the Jews; and 
we find that when the standard of the Redeemer was after- 
wards raised, and the truth proclaimed, by the apostles, 
iftany thousands came forth, and avouched the cause, which, 



S04 DISSERTATIOW ON 

a few weeks before, was laid prostrate in the dust. Such 
things will appear, on a still larger scale, in these latter 
times. Whenever the truth shall find witnesses and de- 
fenders, God will find a large number of christians, who 
have not reallj departed from his true worship, nor have 
been corrupted in their faith bj the errors of the times. 

Mount Zion does not signify any particular part of the 
earth. It was the place where the Israelites met for wor- 
ship. The temple, and the city of David were both built on 
it. It was therefore considered as holy ground. But in this 
dispensation of the gospel, no part of the earth is more sa- 
cred than another. " The hour cometh," said the Redeem- 
er to the woman of Samaria, " when ye shall neither in this 
mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But 
the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers 
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Mount 
Zion is therefore the emblem of the true church of Christ, 
and of all the parts of the earth where they assemble. The 
dispersed of Israel shall again be collected, the worship 
shall be restored to its ancient purity, the inventions of men 
shall be discarded, and God shall be worshipped by his peo- 
ple, in spirit and truth, according to his own ordinances. 
We may infer, from the mentioning of a certain number, 
that there will be some such proportion between the true 
worshippers and nominal christians, as between 144,000 
and the whole number of the Israelites, at the end of certain 
periods of declension, and when the truth was beginning to 
prevail. As,- in the times of Elijah, there were 7000 who 
were not seduced into idolatry, by the errors which prevail- 
ed in the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, and it is very natural 
to suppose that when Baal's prophets were destroyed, the 
number would greatly increase; so in this period, which is 
just at hand, the number of true worshippers will be greatly 
multiplied. God writes his name on the foreheads of his 
people, in the same sense in which the beast puts his mark 
on his followers, only the mark of God's people is always on 
their foreheads. He not only marks them for his own, but 
shows them to the world as his true servants; and he sends 
forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts, whereby they cry 
Abba, Father! There is a powerful effect produced on the 
heart and habits, and even on the outward appearance, by' 
faithful and diligent attendance on the true worship of God. 
Meekness and simplicity, the practice of the christian vir- 
tues, the constant exercise of true devotion, and the study 
of the word of God, will at length form such a character. 



THE XIV. or THE REVELATION. 205 

and even give such a visible aspect to the countenance, that 
it might be said the name of God is written on the foreheads 
of those who live in such practices. It was thus that the 
primitive christians were distinguished; and we are here 
informed that many such characters shall spring up in the 
world in these latter days. 

After the apostle had seen this multitude of true worship- 
pers, standing with the Lamb on mount Zion, his attention 
was drawn to the heavens, where the throne of God was 
erected, and the four and twenty elders and the four living 
creatures were assembled. The worshippers of God in the 
heavens, and the 144,000 on the earth, seemed to unite in the 
praises of God, and in the most lively and animated devo- 
tion. It seemed, in the first place, like the noise of the 
ocean, or the rushing of some mighty cataract; and again a 
thundering noise was heard, from the loud hosannas and 
the swelling notes of praise. The harps of David were there, 
and many were engaged in playing on those instruments. 
The whole seemed like one of the great annual festivals at 
the temple. The apostle remarked, that they all joined in 
a new song before the throne, and before the four living 
creatures, and the elders. God and his church in the 
heavens, are represented as listening with attention to this 
performance, and even sitting as judges; for it seems there 
were other persons besides the 144,000, who attempted to 
join in this new song; but they were not able to learn it. 
It is very important for us to consider and understand the 
meaning of this represeiitation; for it certainly relates totihe 
praises of the church in these latter days. It relates to-4he 
substance of the worship, and not to the artful tuning, of ^c 
voice, the harmony of sounds, or the melody which pleases 
the ear. It is the internal melody of christian devotion- in 
the praises of God. By learning this song, we are not to un- 
derstand the learning of the words, or the manner of sing- 
ing; but the sentiments contained in it, and the tuning of 
the heart to offer up spiritual melody. It is learning to sing 
to the true glory of God. 

In the performance of this delightful exercise of devotion, 
the chief regard must be paid to the sentiments which we 
sing, and the agreement of our hearts with those senti- 
ments. In this song the sentiments are said to be new, and 
of such a nature, that they cannot be learned by any but 
those who stand with the Lamb on mountZion; that is, with 
those who are in the habit of worshipping according to God's 
own ordinances. As there is no authority given in any part 



tfOlS OXSSBRTATIOir Olf 

of the word of God, for the making of a new sang to he sung 
in his worship, and as this song must have been made ana 
learned before it could be sung; so it may be fairly inferred 
that they did not make it themselves; but that it is to be found 
in the devotional songs of the scriptures. It certainly does 
not mean any devotional songs of human contrivance; for 
none of them, in the sense of the scripture, could be called 
a new song. We have indeed many compositions, every 
where in the churches, which profess to be new; but the 
novelty with which they recommend themselves, is certain- 
ly very different from the scriptural sense of the word in this 
place. They are much more suitable for those worshippers 
who have itching ears; who turn away from the truth and 
are turned into fables, than for those who love the word of 
God, and desire to worship him in spirit and in truth. The 
composition may be new, it may have a certain smoothness 
<>f language, and something which charms the ear and the 
ftincy, which is not to be found in the songs of inspiration; 
b«itthey do not continue to be new. They soon become 
like a garment that has been worn, and is not only faded, 
but threadbare. But this new song is one, that continues to 
he new. This is a representation of the worship of the true 
ckurch of God, not for a day or for a short period; but for 
years and ages; and their song is always new and always the 
tame. It is not a series of hymns made for one particular oc- 
paaionandcircumstanceofthechurch, but a series of inspired 
g^igs, which shall be the subject matter of the praises of the 
church, both in this world and through eternity. In a word, 
ika» new song is the old song, which God made for the 
«imrfih, as he made the commandments: in one sense it is 
old, and in another it is always new. "Brethren," says 
tiiift same apostle, '' I write no new commandment unto 
jmL, but an old commandment, which ye had from the 
beginning. — Again, a new commandment I write unto you, 
which thing is true in him and in you; because the darkness 
is j>ast, and the true light now shineth." This is the sense 
in which christians in these latter times, will sing a nevv 
soHgt while they sing the same song, which was sung by the 
apostles and prophets, and the true church of God, in all the 
ages that are past. In fact, the darkness which has cover- 
e<3 those divine songs is even now passing away, and the 
true light is already beginning to shine into the understand- 
ing and the hearts of the true worshippers of God. There 
in ft beauty and glory, as well as an adaptation in them, 
for christian worship, which has not generally been seeu i^ 



THE XIV, OF THE REVELATION. ^7 

t^e ages that are past. In this respect, as well as in imkoj 
©thers, darkness has covered the earth and gross darkn«»» 
the nations. It is more than a century, since this darkness 
began to cover the minds of christians, with regard to 
these sacred songs. It has long since been observed bj 
one, who was very capable of making correct observations 
on christian worship; although he unhappily made a bad 
use of his powers; that/' to see the dull indifference, the neg- 
ligent and the thouglitless air, that sits upon the faces of 
a whole assembly, while the psalm is on their lips, might 
tempt even a charitable observer, to suspect the fervency 
of inward religion; and it is much to be feared, that the 
minds of most of the worshippers are absent or unconcern- 
ed." These observations were made before human inven- 
tions in the praises of God, v/ere brought into the churches 
generally; and the psalms of scripture supplanted. Men of 
observation saw and deplored the darkness, which in this 
respect, was then spreading itself over the, minds of the 
worshippers: but the means they took to remedy the evii, 
increased it beyond measure, and rendered it incurable. 
Instead of explaining the psalms, and calling the attention 
to their spiritual meaning, they cast them out of the 
churches, as if they were not fit for christian devotions, 
and adopted the composures of darkened and blinded mor- 
tals like themselves; and thus while they thought they were 
learning to sing this new song, they were only indulging a 
vain and enthusiastic dream. 

There is, pei-haps, no part of worship, which so power- 
fully aff'ects the heart, as the sentiments we sing in the 
praises of God. In this part of worship, we must always have 
the sentiments reduced to some form, and addressed to the 
eye as well as to the ear. They must not only be received 
into the heart, and thus made our own; but they should be 
used with a certain fervor of feeling, by which a deep iro- 
pression will be made on our minds. Therefore, it is a most 
important consideration, to have such sentiments to offer t« 
Ood in our devotional songs, as are agreeable and pleasing 
in his sight The man who understands this subject, aad 
knows the danger of error, will not take the sentiment* he 
sings in God's worship, from any human being. He will 
never dare to use any songs in God's worship, but those 
which he knows to have proceeded from God, and to have 
been given by him for this very purpose. 

The latitudinarian principles which have prevailed, for 
*© many years, on this subjectj have produced themost fatal 



208 DISSERTATION ON 

effects on the christian world. The very feelings which lead 
men to think, there is no danger in laying aside the book, 
which we know was given by divine inspiration, and prefer- 
ring other books, all of which have erroneous sentiments in 
them, manifest a kind of pride and self-suiFiciency, which 
prove that the heart has already begun to be corrupted. But 
the corruption proceeds, with powerful and fatal influence, 
from generation to generation; and by these novel inventions, 
a new religion is finally produced, which is essentially differ- 
ent from that of the ancient saints of God. The Psalms of 
scripture are truly not suited to express the feelings of mo- 
dern devotion: but this very fiict, so far from proving the 
correctness ofthe present popular devotional feelings, proves 
that christians generally have not learned the new song of 
the 144,000. This new religion, which has crept, unawares, 
into the churches, does not proceed from more enlarged and 
luminous views of the scriptures than our forefathers had 
attained, but rather from ignorance ofthe scriptures, and a 
false illumination, which affords a temporary brightness, but 
leaves the mind in thicker and blacker darkness than that 
in which it was formerly involved. The Lord Jesus Christ 
exhorts his disciples to strive to enter in at the strait gate; 
for, says he, I say unto you, many shall seek to enter, and 
shall not be able. From the very same cause, men are not 
able to learn this new song. Their understandings and their 
hearts, their feelings and their habits, all have acquired 
such a bias, such a fatal tendency, that without some more 
powerful operations of the Holy Spirit than God has usually 
given, they cannot be changed, and brought back to the scrip- 
tural standard of devotion. Their minds are so greatly 
darkened, that they cannot see the spirit and meaning of the 
Psalms of scripture^ and as they have not labored, in this 
sense, to enter in at the strait gate, so they become, at 
length, entirely incapacitated for that kind of labor. It is 
one thing to repeat the words of the Psalms, and another 
thing to enter into their spirit. In this sense, there are, 
even now, many who cannot, and many who will not, learn 
the new song of the 144,000. 

Errors in religion are very frequently the fatal conse- 
quences of errors in morality. Men of impure minds, and 
•immoral habits, when they turn their attention to religion, 
are always ready to fall in with the prevailing errors ot the 
times; and they are suffered to deceive themselves, in their 
religious feelings and sentiments, as a just punishment for 
the iniquities of the former part of their lives: but on the 



^tPta'%tY, t)^ TH-E riE\ ELATION. ^^^ 

other hand, those who study to keep their consciences piire> 
und void of oft'ence, botli towards God and man, are never 
siirtered to fall into any fatal religious enor. In the present 
«tate of i\\e world, there is, perhaps, no greater barrier in 
the way of pure and undefiled religion, than those impure 
and lascivious desires, which are generated in the minds of 
youth, and which have a powerfurinfluence in their hearts, 
through the remaining part of their lives. In this respect, 
the vouth of the present age are corrupted beyond all prece- 
ding example. The unlawful intercourse of the sexes, and 
the impure desires v^hich are indulged by many, who are-, 
perhaps, not guilty of the actual sin, contribute more to de- 
file the heart, and unSt it for the reception of the pure gospel^ 
than perhaps any other vice. But those who stand with 
the Lamb are persons, who cither have not been guilty of 
this sin, or have been purified from its corrupting influence. 
^ These are they who wefre not defiled with women; for they 
are virgins." The word rendered virgins, is of both gen- 
ders. It signifies that those persons are of both sexes, apd 
are really uncentaminated by the abounding and prevailing 
vice of incontinence: and as fornication is frequeivtly used 
to signify the corruption of the worship of God, so we are 
also taught, that in all their religious principles and prac- 
tices, they are pure and uncorrupted. 

'« These are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever he 
goeth." By this emblem, we see their character as disciples 
of the Lord Jesus Christ. The representation of this large 
number following the Lamb, is designed to show us the life 
of true christians in their public capacity. Like all large 
bodies of mankind, they must be divided into smaller com- 
panies, and be under the conduct of different leaders; but 
they still keep their eyes fixed on tlie Lamb, and foilovv' their 
leaders, only as they follow him. They will not sutler any 
spiritual guide to have an undue influence over their princi- 
ples or their practice They will be directed, in their wor- 
ship, only by the authority of Jesus Christ, and will not be 
seduced by tlie inventions of men, 

" These were redeemed fiom among men, being the first 
fruits unto God and the Lamb." The word redemption, as 
used in the scriptures, is nearly of the same import with the 
word salvation. The latter, in its full extent, signifies de- 
liverance fi^om all and every kind of evil, but has respect 
chiefly to the divine power, which operates on the heart <jf 
the saved sinner, and by which he is enabled to ovei co-ne 
the whole power of the adversary: the former has reference 

18* 



210 DISSERTATION ON 

to the price which was paid for our deliverence. Those who 
are redeemed are purchased by the blood of Christ, and de- 
livered or saved by the power of God. These characters 
are said to have been redeemed from the earth, or ransomed, 
and brought out from the power of earthly, carnal principles, 
and all the influences of the corrupted christian world. 
God has determined, that in the latter days, the whole world 
shall bring forth the fruits of righteousness to his glory: so 
these characters are the first fruits of this blessed and glori- 
ous dispensation. As the Israelites always presented the 
first fruits to God, before the harvest was ripe, so these are 
the first fruits preceding the last joyful harvest of the gos- 
pel, when the whole world shall be consecrated to God and 
the liamb. 

" And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are 
without fault before the throne of God." It is an important 
and consolatory truth, although it was pronounced by a 
wicked prophet, that " God has not beheld iniquity in Ja- 
cob, neither has he seen perverseness in Israel." He looks 
on his people in the face of their Redeemer, and their sins 
are imputed to him; and therefore, in this sense, they are 
faultless before the throne of God. But this is a description 
of moral character. We are not told that they had no sin; 
for there is no man that sinneth not. The most perfect of 
the family of Adam must confess, with the apostle, " I know 
that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." 
" If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the 
truth is not in us." But still it is a truth, that no guile is 
found in the mouth of those who stand with the Lamb on 
mount Zion. Guile, or craft, or fraud, is not found in them. 
Their profession exhibits a just view of the state of their 
hearts. They profess to be the followers of the Lamb, and 
they have really determined to follow him. Every man 
has guile in his mouth, who indulges any kind of iniquity, 
or rolls any sin, as a sweet morsel, under his tongue. Such 
a man can never be spotless before God, because his heart 
is defiled. He cannot say, with truth, " I delight in the 
law of God afier the inv/ard man;" for he loves sin, and his 
prayer is impure. But these are the characters of whom 
the Psalmist describes the blessedness, when he says, 
*' Blessed is the man, to whom the Lord will not impute 
iniquity, and in whose heart there is no guile." 

This pnn)hecy shall be fully accomplished, when the wit- 
nesses shall have risen and ascended to heaven. We may 
see a lilLle of the accoinplishment of it at this moment. 



THK XIV. OF THF. REVELATION. fill 

The first step towards purifving; the church, is to give chris- 
tians a full view of the corrupting influences which operate 
on their minds. This is to be done, in the first place, by 
the witnesses, whom God will raise up and qualify for this 
purpose, and send them through the whole church, com- 
manding theu\ to cry aloud and spare not; to show his peo- 
ple their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. 
Something of this kind is now beginning to operate, and the 
iniquities of men are coming to light. As this work conti- 
nues and grows, some will forsake their sins, and turn to 
the Redeemer with perfect hearts: and thus the number who 
stand with the Lamb will always increase, until they shall 
become a great multitude, that no man can number. 

From this view of the subject, it is not difficult to seethe 
truth presented in the second vision contained in this chap- 
ter. *♦ I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, 
having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell 
on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, 
and people; saying, with a loud voice, fear God, and give 
glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come; and 
worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and 
the fou v.< lins of water." It is plain, that if the first pro- 
phecy be still future, the second must also present things 
that are at greater distance in futurity. But if we loik, 
with any kind of accuracy, at the condition of the world, 
and not'suffer ourselves to be blinded by that spurious cha- 
rity, which mistakes error for truth, and puts darkness for 
light, and light for darkness, we must be convinced that the 
present worshipping assemblies of professed christians are 
not generally coni posed of such characters as those who 
stand with the Lamb. But this is a description of chris- 
tian assemblies, who keep the worship pure, who discounte- 
nance all error, and yet have brilliant prospects before them, 
and are increasing in number continually. It will evidently 
require many years, before the true church of God shall 
arrive at such a degree of purity, respectability, and honor, 
as is here represented; and not until that change be effect- 
ed, shall the angel be seen flying through the midst of 
heaven. But still, as there is an obvious preparation now 
making, in the providence of God, for the accomplishment 
of the lirst prophecy, so the preparation for the second is no 
less obvious. 

In the present unhappy condition of the world, the truth 
is so much mingled with error, light with darkness, and re- 
ligion with enthusiasm, that it is impossible for any one to 



212 DISSERTATION 01? 



tell, how far the religious excitements, and the exertions 
which are now making, for the propagation of tlie gospel, 
are calculated to promote the kingdom of God; and how far 
they have a tendency to destroy it. We know that in all 
these things there is a mixture oTgood and evil; and there 
is great reason to fear that the evil predominates. The va- 
rious and numerous excitements, which are called revivals 
in religion, are well known to exist only where the gospel is 
in some degree cotrupted, by the inventions of men^ and 
that it is chiefly by sucii inventions they are excited. They 
C(mtinue for a short period, then pass away, and leave the 
district, where they have operated, in a worse moral con- 
dition than before. Some indeed may think the}^ have re- 
ceived a great degree of spiritual benefit from them, but 
the Community is always a sufferer. The missionaries, 
who are sent through the world, to propagate the gospel, 
are very few of them witnesses for the truth. Errors are 
mingled, in no very small portions, v/ith the doctrines they 
preach; and human inventions with their worship. Even 
the bible itself, unaccompanied with a system of psalmody, 
fitted for true worship; altho^igh it may enlighten the minds 
of individuals, will not enable them, for many Vears to 
come, to conduct public worship according to God's com- 
nnandments. It is true, that where the bible is received 
and studied, truth will finally prevail; error must at length 
fall, and the churches be purified: and although all these 
works are mingled vvith corruption; yet there is some 
preparation making for the final success and triumph of 
truth. 

But the full accomplishment of this prophecy, is evident- 
ly subsequent to every thing, which has yet been done for 
the promotion of tiie gospel. The profession of Christiani- 
ty must first be made honorable, by a corresponding prac- 
tice among christians; and a uniformity of worship must be 
established, according to the authority of God, before any 
permanent good effects can be produced. We have alrea- 
dy proved that where an angel is used as the symbol of any 
being less dignified than the Son of God, we must always 
understand a plurality, or a combination of individuals. 
This angel signifies a number of ministers of the gospel, 
who shall go forth, like John the baptist, to prepare the 
minds of men for the reception of truth, and to show the 
judgments, which are coming on the world. John is in- 
deed called a messenger, or an angel; but this is not an em- 
blematic representation. This angel is plaiidy an emblem; 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATION. 113 

and the ministers whom he represents, shall go foith in the 
spirit and power of Elias, teaching men to fear God and 
give glorj to him; because the hour of his judgment is at 
hand. As he is represented flying in the midst of heaven; 
so those ministers shall be exalted to a high degree of ex- 
cellence in the moral world, and they shall make rapid pro- 
gress in their work. There is something peculiar in the 
original words, which are here rendered, ** having the ever- 
lasting gospel to preach," &c. It seems to mean the 
preaching of the gospel, with power and eifect. I hej shall 
not be like the witnesses before thej rose from the dead, 
the objects of hatred and contempt air.ong man ki fid. A 
certain power shall accompany their preaching, which shall 
show, that they are not barely giving their testimony in fa- 
vor of the truth; but carrying on an aggressive war against 
error and iniquity. They shall not be defenders ol" their 
own territories merely, but shall advance into the territory 
of the enemy, and lead the captives out of his dominions; 
while there shall be no power capable of making any effec- 
tual resistance. They shall march with power through the 
nations, and every where the truth shall be triumphant. 

Their message has something in it more powerful and 
alarming, than the usual method of preaching the gospel. 
It is not the rant of enthusiasm, which can ies the mind 
through the imaginary scenes of terror, and paints horrors 
that have no existence; nor is it the whining cant of hypoc- 
risy, which prophesies smooth things, and leads men to 
hope for salvation by a constant routine of ceremonies and 
forms: but it consists in calling the attention of mankind to 
duties which have been long neglected, and to real causes 
of alarm and terror. The call to mankind *' to fear God 
and give glory to him," supposes that they have in a great 
degree lost the fear of God, and that they do not give glory 
to him as they ought. The call is addressed chiefly and es- 
pecially to the christian world. It is true that all peoples, 
kindreds, and tongues, are included; but the address is 
made chiefly to them that dwell on the earth; that is, to 
earthly men, who are nominally christians, or who live in 
christian countries. This will be abundantly evident, 
when we come to consider the messages of the two following 
angels. It destroys the whole force of the message, and 
distorts and dislocates every joint of the prophecy, to sup- 
pose that this angel means missionary exertions or attempt* 
to convert the heathen exclusively. This indeed is a part 
of the message, and ought not to escape our notice; but it is 



314 DISSERTATION 01» 

chiefly And especially addressed to the christian world. 
It is supposed, they have gone into such errors, as have in a 
great degree obliterated the fear of God from their minds; 
and that they do not give glory to him in their worship. 
It is a fact that the present yn^evailing opinions in the religi- 
ous world, do lead to the doctrine of universal salvation, 
by which men cast oft' the fear of God entirely; and it is 
no loss true, that every system of religion, which leads men 
to rely on their own works; or to use in their worship any 
forms which God has not appointed, 2;ives the glory to the 
creature, and not to the Creator. But there is nothing 
which will effectually teach men to fear God, and give him 
glory, but his judgments. When the important truth is 
proclaimed, and full proof brought forward to convince the 
world, that the terrible judgments of God are at hand; then 
some eff*ect will be produced by the preaching of the gos- 
pel. Those ministers who stand on the watch-tower of 
prophecy, and are thus elevated above the rest of the world,- 
will be enabled to see the judgments before they are exe- 
cuted, and will sound the alarm. Then the sinners in Zion, 
who have cast off the fear of God, will be afraid; tearfulness 
shall seize on the hypocrites. They shall ask with trem- 
bling and consternation, ''who among us shall dwell with 
the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with ever- 
lasting burnings?" 

This message also supposes, that the christian world have 
forsaken the true worship of their Maker: for they are com- 
manded to *' worship him, who made heaven and earth, and 
the sea, and the fountains of waters." Worship ought al- 
ways to be rendered to God as the Creator of all things. 
Although it may appear strange, yet it is nevertheless true, 
that a very small number of worshippers, comparatively, do 
render to God, in their worship, the glory which is due to 
him, as the Creator of all things. Most men, when they 
think or speak of creation, mean nothing more than the six 
di»ys' work, or the formation of the heavens and the earth. 
But creation, in its full sense, comprehends the formation of 
all creatures, and the ordering, directing, and bringing to 
pass, of all events. It comprehends even more than the 
ideas which are generally attached to creation and provi- 
dence. *'I create," says God, ** the fruit of the lips." 
" This people have I formed for myself: they shall show 
forth my praise." ** The Lord hath made all things for 
himself; even the wicked for the day of evil." So the four 
and twenty elders proclaim, in tlieir worship^ " Thou art 



THE XIV. OF THE RfiVELATIOX. 215 

worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power; 
fur thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure thej 
are, and were created." Hence, when the world is com- 
manded to worship him that made the heaven, &c., it is 
added, and the fountains of waters, or the fountain of the 
great deep; the springs at the bottom of the ocean; the reser- 
voirs by which the sea is supplied. He not only created 
the natural fountains or springs of the ocean, but the moral 
springs, from which all events proceed. We should always 
endeavor to realize the great and fundamental truth, that 
all creatures, and all events that take place in the course of 
providence, derive their existence from God, and that his 
glory shall be promoted by his judgments, as well as by his 
mercy. The great system of creation and providence, com- 
prehending all good and all evil, proceeds originally from 
him; and while he is in no sense the author or approver of 
any evil work, in any of his creatures, yet all works, and 
all events, come into existence precisely as he had appointed 
them. We are here commanded to take this subject into 
serious consideration, in every act of worship; and thus to 
live in the constant practice of rendering to God the glory 
which is due to him. 

The worship of God is the most important of all the 
works in which men can be engaged; for it shall be the em- 
ployment, through eternity, of all who are saved. Our 
condition and circumstances, in this world, are so ordered, 
that we have the opportunity of learning the true method of 
worship, and of habituating ourselves to the service of our 
Maker, while we live on the earth: and thus the true ser- 
vants of God, when they pass from the sanctuary below, en- 
ter immediately into the sanctuary above, where they shall 
be forever engaged in the same delightful and glorious work. 
But the grand adversary, who delights in destroying the 
works of God, and who has been suffered to reign in this 
world, for nearly six thousand years, has always succeeded 
to lead the mass of mankind away from the true worship of 
God. This he has accomplished by various methods, in 
different ages. In these latter days, he has gained his object 
by corrupting Christianity. He began this work of corrup- 
tion even in the days of the apostles; and as Christianity 
increased, and grew into power, the corruption also increias- 
ed, until the outward visible church became, like ancient 
3abylon, the corrupter of the world. Instead of sending 
forth the streams of the waters of life among mankind, she 
baa opened the fouptainsof death. There is deadly poisoA 



216 DISSERTATION OIC 

mingled in the worship of most of the churches, which 
j5rst intoxicates, and then destroys, every good principle 
out of the heart. But in these latter days, God has deter- 
mined to destroy these works of wickedness, and to teach 
the world to worship him in truth and holiness. He will 
perform this work, in the first place, by showing mankind 
their errors, and exhibiting the true nature and method of 
worship: in the second place, he will lessen and destroy the 
influence of those who corrupt his worship, and lead the 
world into errors and delusions: and in the third place, all 
those who still continue and persevere in these works of 
evil, notwithstanding all the admonitions and warnings of 
his word, and the dispensations of his providence, shall be 
wasted and destroyed from the earth, by a series of judg- 
ments, and finally ca>t into the lake that burns with fire and 
brimstone, where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not 
quenched. 

The second messenger, therefore, announces the fall of 
Babylon. '' And there followed another angel, saying, 
Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made 
all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornica- 
tion." This is the first place where Babylon is mentioned 
in the Revelation. In the xi. chapter, the corrupted church 
is denominated the great city, which spiritually is called, 
Sodom and Egypt, &c. In the language of symbols, as in 
alphabetical language, there are various words which have 
nearly the same ideas attached to them^ and although they 
are not used indiscriminately^ for the writer has always 
some design, in using one word rather than another; yet 
with some little variation, the^ convey the same ideas to the 
mind. The symbol of the city of Babylon, shows us the 
subject somewhat more clearly than the former similitude; 
especially as a full description is given in the xvii. andxviii. 
chapters. The same subject is there represented, by a 
woman on whose forehead was written. Mystery, Babylon 

THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS 

OF THE EARTH. The church of Rome is presented to the 
mind, under the similitude of a harlot, who has succeeded 
in corrupting the whole world; and who has many daughters 
engaged in tlie same abominable practices. It is true, that 
the protestant churches have professedly separated them- 
selves from this mother of abominations; but if they still 
follow the same practices of the Roman church, and seduce 
mankind into errors, their professed separation is nothing; 
they are still the daughters of the Roman harlot. Hence, 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATION. SIT 

when Babylon falls, all her daughters shall fall with her. 
The emblem of a city, as it presents the idea of a combina- 
tion of men, associated for political purposes; and especially, 
when this city extends its power over a great number of 
kingdoms, shows us still more yjlainly, that the design of the 
spirit of God, in this annunciation of the fall of Babylon, is • 
to show us the ruin of a great antichristian system, which 
has extended itself over the christian world. The fall of 
Babylon, is the fall of error and deception in all parts of the 
earth. Tliis fall will probably commence in those parts of 
the world, where the church is the least corrupted; or where 
the mystery of iniquity has the least influence: and perhaps 
it may not be improper for us, to indulge the hope, that as 
the land in which we live, was th^birth place and the nurse 
of civil liberty; so also in America, true religion shall first 
begin to flourish, and this spiritual and mysterious Babylon, 
shall first begin to lose her power. But wherever it may 
commence, and however it may operate, one thing is plain, 
that the fall of Babylon is the fall of false doctrines, and 
human inventions, in the worship of God. It is the putting 
down of every thing which has not the sanction of God's 
authority. 

This fall of error commences with the discovery of truth. 
The time in which we live has been very properly called the 
age of discovery. Natural science has undergone almost a 
total revolution. A thousand important truths, that have 
been hid for ages, are now brought into light. The same 
process is going on, with respect to political science. The 
old systems, which have held the world in bondage, and 
riveted the chains of oppression on the poor and the igno- 
rant, are now become old and feeble, and their power fast 
hastening to decay. The false systems of religion, which 
have every where been established, have also begun to ap- 
pear in their true colors; and have already lost a consider- 
able portion of their power. But the discovery of error is 
the first step to the discovery of truth. These discoveries 
may indeed be said generally, to go hand in hand, in their 
march over the world: but in religion, men generally come 
to the knowled2;e of their errors, while the true path is si'M 
covered with darkness. The intelligent and thinking p;irt 
of the religious world, generally see that the churches are in 
bondage under antichristian systems; but they know neither 
the remedy, nor how it is to be applied. These discoveries 
are yet to be made, or rather the truth on these subjects 13 
yet to be revealed. But still we may see, that preparation 
19 



216 DISSERTATION ON 

is making in the providence of God, for the accomplislimeiit 
of this prophecy, as well as those which preceded it. It is- 
cnW a short period since the witnesses began to rise; but the 
effects are beginning to become visible, to all those who 
have kept their eyes fixed on the light, that shineth in a 
dark place. The progress of these latter ages, in the disco- 
very of religious truth, will be more rapid, than any thing 
of the same kind, which has ever been seen in the world. 
It i« now not quite seventy years, until Babylon shall be 
hrought to utter desolation, — until the beast shall be slain^ 
8nd his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 
So, with becoming reverence, we may use the words of our 
lord, '' Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not 
] 8s.«, until all these things shall be fulfilled.^' 

Babylon shall fall as a just punishment for her sins; because 
&he corrupted the world. We are not to suppose. that this 
spiritual power which has ruled the world, for so many ages^ 
i^ a mere abstract principle; and ihat mankind shall be de- 
liyered from errors in religion, in the same manner as dis- 
coveries in natural science are generally introduced, and 
old sj^stems exploded and abolished. In this sense, the fall 
of Babylon would mean only her loss of influence over the 
minds of men; and the world would be rescued from spiri- 
tual bondage, without the destruction of them that destroy 
the earth. But this is by no means, the meaning of thi* 
judgment, which is here announced by the fall of Babylon. 
If is not merely the fall of a spiritual poM'er; but of a power 
that is embodied in the hearts and lives, of a large number 
of tlie most powerful and influential among mankind. The 
kin^s of the earth have committed fornication with this spiri- 
tual harlot; and the merchants of the earth are grown rich 
through the abundance of her delicacies; and all nations are 
made drunk with the wine of her fornication. All those 
vho have given her their support, and have lived, and still 
continue to live, under the influence of her intoxicating 
principles, and idolatrous inventions, must fall with her. 
They shall fall in the first place into a greater and greater 
degree of moral evil, then into temporal calamities, and 
ftnally, into eternal destruction. This truth is presented to 
us still more plainly, in the xviii. chapter; where it is said, 
*' Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of 
devils, the liohl of every foul spirit, and the cage of every 
liiiolean and hateful bird." All who voluntarily put them- 
selves under the influence of human inventions in their 
worship, who receive false doctrines, or countenaace aud 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATION. 219 

encourage any kind of false religion, shall be left under the 
power of iniquit}^, without the restraining grace of God: and 
tlius they shall becoiue exceedingly corrupted, in their 
hearts and lives. Every church of this description, shall be- 
come a synagogue of satan. God's holy spirit will for- 
sake them, and they shall be left under the influence of the 
spirits of darkness. 

This being t'u^ luiture of the fall of Babylon, it is of great 
importance to the world, to be warned of her fatal infiuenee, 
and contatJ-ious example. Her fall- is deep and dreadful, 
and she will drrii^- down multitudes with her, to everlasting 
ruin. But when the punishment is just, and men are warn- 
ed of the danger, if they sliould still continue in the sajoe 
course, they will have no excuse whatever. The third an- 
gel is therefore seen in the heavens, declaring with a loud 
voice, that all may hear, and no one have the excuse of ig- 
norance: ''If aity m.tji worship the beast, or his imag«\ 
and receive his mark in his forehead," or in his hand; tlic 
same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is 
poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: 
and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the 
presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the 
Lamb: and the smo'.e of their torment ascendeth up for 
ever and ever; and hey have no rest day nor night," &c. 
The worship of the hjist in former times, when the Roman 
church had power over the world, consisted in subjectioa 
and attachment to tlvit spiritual authority, which usurped 
the place of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the man of sin 
took his seat in the temple of God, he imposed new laws on 
the church, by his own authority; and those who would not 
obey those laws, nor recognise the authority from which 
they proceeded, were not admitted to the common privile- 
ges of citizens. Hence every man who loved this w^orld so 
much, as to sacrifice the sense of duty to his regard for tem- 
poral things, always received the mark of the beast. But 
the very san^e principle operates at this time, through the 
whole christian world, and under every form of civil gov- 
ernment. The man^ who regards the authority of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, will always show his disapprobation, of every 
tiling contrary to the truth; and will take a determined 
stand against every kind of error and corruption of the wor- 
ship of God. But such a character, in this age, as well as 
in former times, will always find a torrent ot troubles, row- 
ing its waves in opposition to him. Almost every day of 
^is life, he will be obliged to -make some sacrifice of his tem- 



220 DISSERTATION OIT 

poral interest or comfort, in order to keep his conscience 
pure: and therefore the temptation to forsake the authority of 
the Redeemer, and receive the mark of the beast, is now as 
powerful as in any preceding age. The weak minded and un- 
steady, who have a great regard for the fashionable and pre- 
vailing religious opinions and practices, are in great danger 
of being led into errors while those, who stand at the head 
of society, are almost always actuated by a supreme regard 
for their own interest and standing in the world. They, of 
course, pursue those plans which have a tendency to 'pro- 
mote their own viewsj and they always carry along with 
them, the mass of the ignorant and unreflecting: and thus 
the laws of the Redeemer are set aside, while the authority 
of man prevails. 

The churches are filled with human devices and contri- 
vances, and such is the force of the popular current that 
very few in any community, are possessed of so much mor- 
al courage as will enable them to resist it. Some are so in- 
fatuated by those false doctrines, and vain inventions in 
worship, that they openly boast of their attachment; and 
others express their feelings, oidy where they know they 
^111 be well received: thus some have the mark on their 
foreheads, and others on their right hands. Indeed, if we 
consider the principles by which the minds of men are gener- 
ally actuated in their religious feelings, and compare them 
with the principles of those who first received tlie mark of 
the beast, it must appear evident that this beast, under the 
various and multiplied forms, which he now assumes,* has 
more worshippers, than he had in any former age. The 
worldly interests of men, their own personal gratifications, 
their social enjoyments, their prospect of worldly honors, or 
some such carnal motives; and not submission to the Re- 
deemer, and a conscientious sense of duty, seem to direct 
them in their choice and in their practice of religion; and 
whatever will not agree with these is cast aside and discard- 
ed for ever. 

In the long-suffering and forbearance of God, the world 
has gone on in this sinful course from generation to genera- 
tion. He has so long been silent, that they have begun to 
think him altogether such an one as themselves; and that he 
approves of, or winks at their sins. They have charity one 
for another, and cannot believe that such a vast number of 
the human family are in the road to destruction. The 
scriptures are so little studied, and when they are studied, 
they are generally so tortured, as to be mude to speak iii 



f He "Xtu . or Ttin. uevelxt i o> . ^'^^ 

such a manner, as to suit every opinion; and thus tlie plain- 
est declarations of the word of" God pass unregarded, when 
they seeni to contradict any popular sentiment. We may 
DOW see plainly the force of that truth: " because sentence 
a2;ttinst an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore 
the hearts of the sons of men, are fully set in them to do 
evil." 13ut although the vengeance of God, may slumber 
for a time, it will finally awake in dreadful terrors, to them 
who continue in the practice of iniquity; and the time is at 
hand, when he will cause his stroke to fall on the hinder 
parts of his enemies, and cover them with everlasting sb-ame- 
By the loud voice of these three angels, he proclaims the 
terrible doom which awaits them. In the first place, they 
shall drinkofthe wine of the wrath of God, &c. We must 
not for a moment harbor the thought, that this warning i# 
given only to the deluded votaries of the church of Rome. 
There are in fact many of them much better characters, 
than many others, who call themselves Protestants. 1 he 
distinction between Protestant and Catholic, is, in this age, 
more nominal than real. The question is not, whether a 
man worships the great beast, and his image, who has his 
seat in the metropolis of the ten kingdoms: but whether he 
acts on the same principles with those who worship him. 
It is very certain that those who imbibe erroneous princi- 
ples, and fall into errors and vices in this part of the world, 
would do the same things, if they lived under the inspec- 
tion of the see of Rome; and that their deliverance from the 
dominion of the Pope, has not in the least altered their na- 
ture, or their character. These degenerate Protestants, 
are in fact greater sinners than the Papists; because, in tne 
good providence of God, they have been delivered from that 
yoke of bondage, but have voluntarily gone back iiito e: rors 
of a similar nature. It has therefore happened unto them, 
according to the true proverb; the dog has returned to his 
own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to he*- wal- 
lowing in the mire. 

This punishment is denounced against all classes of man- 
kind in the christian world, those excepted, who are the 
true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ: for it is \eiy plain 
that all men, except those who are actuat'^d by a paramount 
sense of their duty to God, will, under the intiueuce of 
temptation, act on the same principles of those who receive 
the mark of the beast. The man who does not believe in 
the Lord Jesus Christ, will not sufter for his Sake. He wiio 
does not so much as profess to keep his commandments, 

19* 



222 DISSERTATION OW 

will not, of course, feel the obligation of his authority. AfT 
men, who are destitute of christian principle, will act from 
a regard to their own interest, and therefore they will all re- 
ceive the mark of the beast, under some form of religion, 
rather than yield to the truth. The scriptures do not speak 
80 much of the outward forms of actions, as the principles 
from which they flow; and there can scarcely be a doubt, 
that every worldly minded man, every ambitious man, every 
man of pleasure, and, in fact, all men who have not taken 
up the cross of Christ, to bear if after him, are in principle, 
if not in the outward form, either worshippers of the beast 
or his image, or receive his mark in their forehead, or their 
right hand. The commandments of God are all spiritual, 
and all respect the principles of actions. Hence every man 
worships the beast, who suffers any other power to rule in 
his heart, besides the God that made him. There are de- 
grees in the actings of this sinful principle. As the sin of 
murder is committed in principle, by every man who in- 
dulo:es a malevolent and spiteful disposition against his 
neighbor, so a man may be said, in this sense, to worship 
the beast, who indulges any dislike or hatred against the 
true worship of God. But this part of the scripture chiefly 
respects the habits which are already formed. It means, 
that if any man shall have formed such habits of disregard 
to tlie authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and embraced 
any false principle?, by which he has been led into some 
idolatrous practices, giving the creature the place in his 
heart, which is due to the Creator, and shall continue in 
these practices, until that period in which God shall begin 
to execute these tremendous judgments, then there is no 
longer any hopt for him: he is cut oft' forever from the favor 
of God, and devoted both to temporal and eternal destruction. 
The tirstpart of the punishment will be executed in this 
world, when God shall pour out the vials of his wrath. 
Then every character of this description shall drink of the 
wine of the wrath of God, wliich is poured out without mix- 
ture, &c. It was customary for the ancients to mingle 
their vrine with some strong ingredients, to give it an intoxi- 
cating powei, and then to mix it with water. This phrase, 
which is here rendered, " poured out without mixture," 
signilies the strongest wine, unmixed with water; and the 
punishment, as hv as it is temporal, is the confiimation of 
the sinful hnb'ts which any one has formed. We frequent- 
ly see s'lch jinlgments executed, to a certain extent, on 
tiiuse w 10 have lived fur a lung time in the practice of vice 



THK XIV. OF THE RKVELATION. 2^ 

Even the love of the world continues to gmw stronger, a« 
life draws nearer to its close. The drunkard cannot resist 
the powerful influence of habit, nor divest himself of the 
love of intoxicating liquors; although he knows that his own 
ruin, and the ruin of his family, must be the consequence 
of his fatal indulgence. The man who, from long habit, 
has become attached to any vice, continues to indulge his 
vicious propensities, although, at the same time, he has the 
fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation. ThU 
is drinking of the wine of the wrath of God. It was thu« 
that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, by suffering the 
ein which he had already indulged, to have such power over 
his heart, that he followed the Israelites into the Red Sea? 
although the least degree of reflection must have taught him, 
that by this step his ruin was inevitable. Such is also the 
eff(^ct of every false practice in religion. Men fall into er- 
rors from ignorance or deception; but they afterwards be- 
come so much enamored and intoxicated with their own 
ways, that when the error is discovered, and clearly pointed 
out to their minds, so as to produce conviction, they will 
still persevere in the course they have chosen. God says, 
concerning all such characters, *' they have chosen their own 
ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I 
will also choose their delusions, and will bring their fears 
upon them," &c. Such was the conduct of the Jews, pre- 
vious to the destruction of Jerusalem. The prophets had fore- 
told the divine judgments. There were signs in the heavens 
iind in the earth, all evidently portentous of the ruin which 
was coming on the nation. Their hearts were failing them 
for fear, and they saw and heard the swelling and raging 
waves of God's indignation: but amidst all their troubles, 
they continued to indulge, more and more, in every kind of 
wickedness; and thus they drank of the wine of the wrath of 
God. We have nothing to expect, but similar judgments, all 
over the v/orld, in these latter days; and thus the wicked shall 
be wasted and destroyed gradually from the earth. Thus ' * Zi- 
on shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with 
righteousness: and the destruction of the transgressors and 
of the sinners shall be together; and they that forsake the 
Lord shall be consumed." But if in this sense only, the 
man that worships the beast should drink of the wine of 
God's indignation, and then be struck out of existence, it 
would ba a small punishment, compared with that which he 
must afterwards endure. " He shall be tormented with fire 
and brimstone," &c. It is very certain, that no pain corres- 



S24 DISSERTATION OH 

ponding to this description has ever been endured in this 
world. The torment of fire and brimstone, or that pain 
which must beinflictrd, by takii)«: a human being, and cast* 
ing him into a vessel filled with liquid fire, from which a 
sulphureous stench is always rising, in volumes of smoke, 
is the most horrible ainl dreadful of vviiich the human mind 
can conceive. If we imagine to ourselves a number of 
wretches, cast into the crater of a burning volcano, and still 
to remain living, amidst smoke, and flame, and liquid fire, 
where there is no cessation from torture, we have then some 
adequate ideas of the meaning oftliis terrible representation. 
To suppose that any one ever endured, or ever can endure, 
such tortures in this life, is contrary to all experience and 
all crt dibility. Let it be granttd, that the description is 
figurative and emblematic, it stil! supposes a condition, in 
which there is the most horrible torture, where there is no 
comf(jrt, and no alleviation of misery. There is not a drop 
of water to cool t!ie tongue. But in this world, pleasure 
and pain, rest and labor, are always mingled in some pro- 
portion. There is no man so miserable, that he does not 
enjoy some comfort, or some cessation from his tortures; 
and no man so happy, that he does not endure some sorrow 
or tribulation. It is only in a future world, that happiness 
and misery shall be completely and eternally separated. 
There will, indeed, be many degrees of both: some will be 
more miserable, and some more happy than others: but as 
there is no pain in heaven, so there is no comfort in the 
regions of despair. It is pain without ceasing, and forever. 
If the declaration of this angel is not intended to give us a 
description of the torments of hell, it is vain for us to think 
of attaching any definite meaning to any part of the word of 
God; for there cannot possibly be a clearer and more defi- 
nite description It is the highest degree of torment, — tor- 
ment without ceasing, and forever. The latter phrase is, 
indeed, sometimes used to signify an indefinite period, or a 
state without change; as the earth is said to continue forever, 
amidst all the changes and revolutions which take place 
among its inhabitants: but it is evidently the word which is 
generally used to signify eternity; and it ^i ways does signify 
eternity, when there is nothing in the subject to limit or re- 
strictit. Thus God is said to reign forever. Jesus Christ 
is said to be the same, to-day, yesterday, and forever. The 
seven vials are said to be full of the wrath of God, who liv- 
eth foreveranfl ever: and thus it is said, the smoke of their 
torments ascendeth up foiever and ever. Here tiiore is 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATIOIT. Q^5 

plainly no limitation, — nothing to lead us to suppose any 
shorter duration than eternity. Shall it be said, that fire, 
and brimstone, and smoke, are among the elements of na- 
ture, and therefore must come to an end, so soon as the 
combustibles are destroyed? Or shall it be said, that no 
human being could continue a moment living amidst such 
tortures? There is the very reason why the phrase, forever, 
is here used. It is intended to show the nature of the fire 
of the wrath of God, in a future world, and the nature of the 
human body after the resurrection. It is a fire which shall 
burn forever, and a body which shall not be dissolved by 
everlasting burnings. Shall it be said, that all this is in- 
consistent with the goodness and mercy of God? It is that 
very God of goodness and mercy, who has sent his angel to 
make this declaration. Men practise a palpable deception 
on themselves, when they take their ideas of God from their 
own imagination, and then bring forward those imaginary 
ideas, in opposition to the declarations of his word. They 
first make a God of their own, and invest him with such at- 
tributes as are pleasing to their own minds, and then assert 
that such and such doctrines are inconsistent with the nature 
and attributes of God. But the God who endited tlie scrip- 
tures has declared, that t'oe wicked shall be turned into 
hell, and all the nations that forget God: that every one 
whose name is not found written in the book of life, shall 
be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death: that 
every worshipper of the beast shall be tormented with fire 
and brimstone; and that the smoke of their torments shall 
ascend forever. These are the declarations of the God of 
mercy; and let it be remen»bered that he is also the God of 
truth. 

We have every reason to believe, that the punishments 
in the eternal world are more horrible and excruciating, than 
we can possibly conceive of in this world. We know that 
they are just, because God inflicts them: but we do not know 
the magnitude of the evil of sin. Our first parents, instead 
of knowing good and evil, as they were told by the tempter 
would be the effect gf eating the forbidden fruit, did, from 
that moment, lose l|fe power of discriminating between good 
and evil: and although this loss is in some degree restored 
to all, who, by receiving the gospel, and living under the 
influence of the laws of Christ, have their perceptions ex- 
ercised to discern between good and evil; yet the most per- 
fect and holy man on the face of the earth, has no adequate 
views of the evil of sin. We become acquainted with its 



226 DISSERTATION ON 

nature, just in proportion as we advance in the practical 
knowledge of Christianity; but neither man nor angel, is able 
to see the full extent of the evil. None but he who is infi- 
nitely holy can fully see the nature of this malignant princi- 
ple: but all holy creatures are every day learning the nature 
of sin, and the nature of holiness. This is a kind of know- 
ledge in which they shall be advancing through eternity; 
and the everlasting punishment of the wicked, is one of the 
means of their instruction. As it is said, that " when the 
judgments of God are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of 
the world will learn righteousness;^' so by the judgments of 
God on the wicked, through eternity, all creation, the Son 
of God not excepted, as to his h,uman nature, will learn 
righteousness. All will see more and more of the evil of 
sin, and of the righteousness of God in its punishment. 
Therefore it is here declared, that the worshippers of the 
beast, " shall be tormented in the presence of the holy an- 
gels, and in the presence of the Lamb." The holy angels 
could not be gratified, nor could any holy being receive 
pleasure from such an exhibition, in any other way than as 
a means of learning ihe evil of sin, and the justice of God 
in its punishment. This is one reason, why the doctrine of 
the eternal torments of the wicked ought to be believed, and 
brought frequently before our minds, in our religious me- 
ditations; as it will always be a help to us, in understanding 
the nature of sin, and of holiness. But as we cannot fully 
Dnderstand the evil of sin, so v/e cannot have an adequate 
view of the torments of the wicked, even by all the terrible 
descriptions, which aie given in the v/ord of God. We 
ought, therefore, to beware of indulging the thought that 
there will be no punishment in a future world, that it will 
not be eternal, or that it will not be so horribly excruciating, 
as we are led to believe from these representations. The 
very thought, that sin will not be punished with great sever- 
ity, leads to the opinion, that it is not a great evil; and when 
men do. not think sin to be a very great evil, they will not 
be very solicitous to keep a conscience void of effence to- 
wards God and man. It will, no doubt, be objected by 
some, that this sentiment is contradicted by facts, and that 
there are many universalists as regular in their habits of 
religion, and as moral in their practices, as other christians^ 
but if this were even a fact, it ought not to be inferred from 
itj that their good habits are the fruits of their present 
principles. Although nothing is more true, than that men 
shall be known by their fruits; ytt we ought to consid^er, 



THE XIV. OF THE REYELATIOJf. ^9,7 

that moral as well as natural fruits, require some time before 
they come to maturity. If it is a truth that because sen- 
tence against an evil work, is not executed speedily, there- 
fore the hearts of the sons of men are fully set in them to 
do evil: what will be the consequence, if the sentence is 
never executed? Let any man examine what effect such 
opinions would naturally produce on his own heart, 
and he may be assured, that they do produce those 
very effects, on the hearts of those by whom they are 
adopted. Let the sanctions be taken from the civil law, — 
let criminals escape with impunity; and what horrible ef- 
fects would be produced in a few years in t)ie moral world. 
So, let tlK^ sanctions of God's law be taken away, so far as 
they relate to a future world, and the sense of moral obli- 
gation soon becomes weakened, sin is divested of more than 
half its horrors; the mind settles down into a kind of carnal 
security; a false peace is generated, and the internal prac- 
tice of relij;ion is gradually laid aside. In the first place, 
all painful duties are neglected. There is no self-denial, 
— no cross-bearing in this kind of religion: for why should 
they suffer gratuitous pain. If they can escape suffering, 
and enjoy the comforts of this world, while there is nothing 
to be feared in the next, it would be the height of folly to 
put themselves in a situation in which they must bear the 
cross. According to these principles, the confessors and 
martyrs of ancient times, were not men of enlightened un- 
derstandings: for it is certainly much wiser to fear them 
who kill the body, than to fear Him, who is indeed able, 
but will not, cast either soul or body into hell. 

Nothing is gained on this subject, by admitting that the 
wicked shall endure some punishment in a future world; 
but at the same time, denying that this punishment shall be 
eternal. When men have a strong desire after any object, 
they will seldom be deterred from pursuing it, by the fear 
of punishment, which they think will come to an end. In 
this view of the subject, the present enjoyments, although 
they should be only momentary, would counterbalance ages 
of torments, which are at such a great distance, and perhaps 
might never be inflicted. Nothing but the idea of eternal 
misery, in a future world, can operate with any perma- 
nent effect, on the sinner's heart, to deter him from the 
indulgence of his lusts. Let this idea be stricken out of 
the word of God, or, which is the same thin^, let it be 
explained away, by the sophistical reasonings ot misguided, 
and probably eVil designing men, and all true religion^ 



228 DISS ERTATIO Iff O.V 

and even morality itself, will soon sink into oblivion, and 
be forgotten. 

But the truth is, that the punishments of the future world, 
are not only eternal, a!id not only excruciating beyond con- 
ception; but a far greater number shall be the subj^-cts of 
them, than modern charity w^ill allow us to suppose. If 
every man who is habituated to act on the same princi- 
ples of those who received the mark of the beast, rather 
than be deprived of the privilege of buying; and sellins:, 
shall thus be tormented for ever and ever; how horrible 
is the prospect of the world in the present ago! Truly 
we may now see the force of that declaration: "Broad is 
the way, and wide is the gate, that leadeth to destruction; 
and many there be that go in thereat." But if this has 
always been the case, what great benefit has been pro- 
duced by the gospel? and what means that great multitude, 
which no man can number, who are said to stand before the 
throne of God, clothed with white robes, and palms in their 
hands? To the latter question, we may answer; they are 
not such characters as the mass of the present generation, 
who will give up the truth for the sake of some worldly con- 
sideration: for they have passed through great tribulation 
on account of the truth; they have fought and conquered, 
and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb: and 
to the first question we answer, that we live in an age the 
most unfavorable to the growth of christian principle. The 
time when the witnesses are slain, an<l their bodies cast out 
into the streets, is not a period, wheri many firm and esta- 
blished christians will be found; but still there are certainly 
many babes in Christ; and we may confidently hope, that, 
although the mass of the world will continue under the influ- 
ence of error and delusion, and go down to the grave with a 
lie in their right hand; yet a goodly number shall be brought 
to the knowledge of the truth, even in this degenerate age; 
and in a few ages the saints shall inherit the earth, and it 
shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. We mc*y 
comfort one another with such words as these. 

In an age like the present, when errors are multiplied, 
and the friends of truth are so few, it is not to be expected, 
that they shall be able to perform their duty, without a great 
degree of labor and difficulty. The witnesses ot truth, so 
soon as the spirit of life enters into them, and they rie 
from the dead, immediately become actively engaged in 
their proper work; and their labors increase. It is the voice 
of the witnesses, which is here represented by these three 



THEXIV. OF THE REVELATION. 229 

ansjels, flying through the midst of heaven, proclaiming these 
important messages to mankind. Hence it is said, "here 
is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the 
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." In the 
xiii. chapter, wiiere the man of sin is particuhirly described, 
in the commencement, and in the most flourishing period of 
his reign, the patience of the saints was exercised, in the 
hope that he who led so many into bondage, should himseff, 
at leniith, go into bondage; — that he who destroyed so many 
w.ch the sword, should at last be slain with the sworcf. 
This hope enabled th[2m to endure their sufferings with pa- 
tience: but in this age, they have not only the prospect of 
the destruction of that spiritual power, but the certainty of 
success in their opposition to it, and in all their labors in 
the cause of truth. There is a much brighter prospect, for 
the faithful laborers in the vineyard of the Redeemer, than 
there has been in any former period. But still their labors 
and sufferings must be great; for the doctrines which are here 
proclaimed by these three angels, are altogether different 
from the prevailing opinions of the christian world. There- 
fore the witnesses must carry on a continual warfare; and 
as this warfare consists in suffering, as well as in action, 
they will have great need of patience. This christian vir- 
tue is very different from that which philosophy inculcates; 
for it consists in the endurance of suffering, according to 
the commandments of God. Philosophic patience consists 
in bearing the evils which we can neither avert nor avoid; 
and it leaves room to shun even many of them, by a depar- 
ture from the path of duty. It would be easy for the wit- 
nesses to escape the hostility of the world, by ceasing to 
oppose and to discountenance their errors and follies: thev 
need only use a little craft and deception, handle the word 
of God a little dishonestly, and not declare his whole coun- 
sel: thus they might diminish (heir labors and sufferings, 
and of course have little need of patience: but it is the dili- 
gent and vigilant attendance on their duty, in obedience to 
God's commandments, by which alone they can be of any 
real benefit to mankind; and by which they can have any 
ground of hope, that their labors will be acceptable in the 
eyes of God. 

But they have the highest encouragement for persevering 
in the work. *'I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto 
me, write: blessed are the dead wiio die in the Lord, from 
henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from 
their labors, and their works do follow them." This has 
20 



fSflJ DISSERTATPGK m( 

always been considered, by commentators, a passage verj 
difllcnlt to understand and explain. Bishop Newton refers 
it to the preaching of Luther, and the other reformers, by 
>vhom the doctrine of purgatory was exploded: but his solu- 
tion, although followed by Scott, and many others, is rather 
ingenious than satisfactory. It does not^ in fact, give any 
thing like the true meaning of the passage; which sbows, not 
only, that the dead who die in the Lord are blessed immedi- 
ately on their departure from this world, but also an increa!;e 
of blessedness from a certain period; and also in what tlia 
blessedness consists; namely, in rest from their labors, and 
in the prosperity of their works. But when we consider it 
in relation to the success of the true gospel, in these latter 
daySy and in the superior degree of blessedness which shalt 
rest on the persons and the labors of the witnesses, we can 
see the force and the importance of the truth which it con- 
tains; and that it is altogether worthy of being prcclaimed 
by a voice from heaven. The dead, who die in the Lord, 
are always blessed from the moment cf their departure from 
the world; and they always rest from their labors: but their 
works do not always follow them. In the foregoing period 
of 1260 years, "they were laboiing in vain, and spending 
their strength for nought.'^ They had little encouragement 
from success; for they were always obliged to encounter a 
superior and powerful current of popular errors. The 
vrorld was against them, because they testified against it, 
that its deeds were evil. Here and there, in various places^ 
they found a few, who loved and followed the truth, but in 
genei-al, they were despised, and hated, and persecuted; 
and their labors were not successful. But in these latter 
days, although their labors shall not be diminished; for they 
si'.all still have many difficulties to encounter; and it will 
require mure than one generation of them, to accomplish 
the great work; yet those who die in the midst of their la- 
bors, shall be abundantly blessed, with the amjJe prospect 
of success. Perhaps there is no condition, in which a man 
enjoys more real pleasure and satij^faction, than altera long 
course of laborious exertion, when he sits down to rest, and 
knf)w» that his labors have prospeied. ' Hence it is one of 
the blessings promised to the Redeemer, that he should see 
the travail of his soul, and be satisfied: — that l.e .-hould see 
his seed, should prolong his days, and tliat the pleasure of 
the Lord should |)rospi. r in his hand. When these laborers 
shall have entered into rest, they shall have the satisfactioa 
to know, that they were not only faithlul, but successful la- 



THTi :s:iV. OF THE REVELATION, 331 

feorcrs: and thus day after day, and year after year, thej 
shall see the joyful fruits of their laboi^, in those happy 
spirits of the ri<>;hteous, who shall also be admitted into par- 
adise. They shall be hailed by many a happy being, whom 
their labors have rescued from error and iniquity; and the 
■seed which they have sown, shall grow up into an abundant 
liarvest all over the earth. Thi^ is the plain meaning of 
this voice, and this respi)nse of the spirit of God. It relates 
to a period which i> still future, but not far distant.. It 
means the happy death of those, and of their successors, 
■wlio are now bearing testimony to the truth. All who, ia 
this and the following aj^es, labor for the success of the gos- 
|jel, shall enjoy this superior blessedness. 

We have here a striking exan pie of the wonrlerfu'l adap- 
tation of the prophecies to all periods of the world, and ail 
conditions of mankind. While some remarkable period^ 
and striking event, is pai'ticiiiarly pointed out, the promise 
is true and faithful in all ages, and has been the ground of 
faith and hope to multitudes of christians, who knew no- 
thing of the lime to vv'hich it particularly relates. The dead 
who die in the Lord, are those who have lived to him, and 
iiave endeavored, in their lives, to promote his glory, and 
the influence of his gospel. They have still had some suc- 
cess in their labors, and have done some good among man- 
kin-I, They are therefore Dlessed with the consciousnes'S 
flf having lived to his glory; and the delight arising from 
this knowledge of past esperience, will continue with them 
forever. In this general sense, their works may be said 
always tt) follow them. But the truth shall be reali'zed, ia 
a much mere glorious manner, in this age, and even to the 
^nd of the world, when every tiue strvant of God shall see 
<)f the travail of his soul and be satisfied. He shall wish 
that his labors and sufferings had still been greater, sinc« 
they produ(f such a harvest of joy. The proper view of 
this subject is calculated to silence every murmur, under 
the little troubles and disappointments we ni#t with, m 
the course of our duty. If we could keep it always iii our 
sninds, it would be a delightftil solacein all tlie trials of life; 
and especially, in the labors and sorrows through which we 
auust pass, for the benefit of our fellow men. 

The last representation contained in this chapter, treats 
<->f scenes, somewhat later, but still intimately connected 
•with those we have been considering. They show us the 
Judgments by which the beast shall be dethroned. ,i^nd f 
^©oked,, a.nd behoidj^a xehite cloudj and upon the cloud ooe 



^S£ DISSERTATION ON 

gat, like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden 
crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle, &c. In order to 
prepare our minds for a right understanding of this subject, 
a recurrence to the old testament prophecies will be neces- 
sary. There are various passages of scripture, from which 
the rajs of light converge and concentrate on this vision of 
John; but the limits we have prescribed to ourselves will 
not permit that all should be brought forward. We shall 
call the attention of the reader to thelxiii. chapter of Isaiah's 
prophecy, in which the Lord Jesus Christ is described, as 
he presented himself to the prophet in vision, when he was 
returning from the slaughter of his enemies. We shall ren- 
der these declarations of the Redeemer in the past tense, 
rather than in the future, as it is so expressed in the origi- 
nal; and our translators, by rendering some of it in the past, 
and some in the future, without any reason for the change, 
have thrown some obscurity over it. *• Who is this that 
Cometh from Edom, — from Bozrah, with garments deeply 
dyed? — This, that is glorious in his apparel, — marching on, 
in the greatness of his strength? I, that speak in righteous- 
ness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine 
apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine 
press? I have trodden the wine press alone, and of the peo- 
ple there was none with me: yea, I have trodden them in 
mine anger, and trampled them in my fury; and their life 
blood was sprinkled on my garments, and I have stained 
all my raiment " This is the same glorious personage 
who presented himself to John, as recorded in the xix. chap- 
ter; where it is said, '* he was clothed with a vesture dipped 
(or rather dyed, or stained, or besmeared,) in blood: and 
his name is called the W^ord of God." These two visions, 
in which the Redeemer appears in the execution of his judg- 
ments; in the former, as coming from the slaughter of ene- 
mies, who are described under the symbol of Edom and 
Bozrah; and in the latter, by the synibol of the great whore, 
or the idoHhrous city that reigneth over the kings of the 
earth, have an evident reference to the judgments of the 
latter days. Edom, or the descendants of Esau, who de- 
spised his birthright, and Bozrah, the capital city of that 
kingdom, were presented to the prophet, as emblems of 
that same class of mankind in these latter times. Every 
part of the earth, to which the gospel is sent, and every in- 
dividual who hears the gospel call, are entitled to the privi- 
leges of the church of God. Esau was entitled to the birth- 
right, because he was the first born; but we are entitled to 



'FHE XIV. OTTHE a^Eimi. ATfO S . ^'^S 

5S.1i tW benefits of the jyospel, not from any merit in ouir* 
-selves, but because God sends them aniono^ us, and gra- 
ciously offers them to us all. Men generally profess to 
have a regard for these things, and take the name of chris- 
tians; but still, like Esau, they too generally des]>ise the 
spiritual blessings which the narar. represents. These are 
the characters who shall suffer in the days of vengeance. 
For the long period of 1260 years, they have trodden the 
court of the sanctuary, and the holy city, under their feet: 
they have despised me true principles and the spiritual 
practice of Christianity; and now they are to bear tlie judg- 
ment of their iniquities. The vengeance of the Redeemer 
was plainly executed on Edom, in ancient times, for the 
same sin. Their country was utterly destroyed by Sena- 
cherib, the king of Assyria, in the days of the prophet 
Isaiah; and thus God hated Esau, and laid his mountains 
and his heritage waste, for the dragons of the wiidernesso 
They afterwards attempted to build their cities, and to in- 
habit the waste places; but God always demolished their 
works, until the nation was utterly destroyed. God will 
act in the same manner with regard to all those, in every 
part of the earth, who act on the principle of Esau and his 
descendants. They have now prospered remarkably, for a 
long period, in their sins: but their fall shall soon be as re- 
markable as their prosperity. Every kind of false or formal 
religion, and all those who follow it, shall be utterly wasted 
and destroyed fram the earth, by the terrible vengeance of 
Ctod. 

The Redeemer appears to the prophet, immediately after 
the destruction of the power of that class of mankind who 
are represented by Elom and Bozrah. His appearance 
seemed to be most glorious; but his garment or robe was 
stained and dyed with blood; and this was the reason of 
the question, *' Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel?" 
&c. Then he answers: *' I have trodden the wine press 
alone," &c. It is astonishing that this prophecy should 
ever have been applied to the sufferings of Christ; when it 
is plain that scenes of judgment on his enemies are. the sub- 
jects presented. His garments are not dyed with his own 
blood, but with the blood of his foes. This exclamation, 
«* I looked, and there was none to help, and I wondered that 
there was none to uphold," &c., relates not to his sufferings 
on the cross, but to the state of the christian world, when 
he takes to himself his great power and reigns. It is the 
period when the witnesses are slain. In this sense, he 

20* 



S^4 DISSBRTATION ON 

found none to help, — none to support the cause of truth. 
This has often been the state of nations, for a short period j 
and was no doubt the state of the land of Edom, in the days 
of Isaiah. In that place, truth had no defenders; and it had 
very few in the land of Judea. But this prophecy chiefly 
refers to the times in which truth has lost its influence all 
OTer the world. It is truly astonishing, that there should 
be such a period in this last age; when, amidst so much 
christian profession, the real friends of the Redeemer and 
his cause, are ♦Mike dead men, out of mind, and like a bro- 
ken vessel." Hence the mark of astonishment is here 
inserted: " I wondered that there was none to uphold.'* 
But it is such a time, as we may expect him to come forth, 
and vindicate his own cause. When judgment is turned 
away backward, — when justice standeth afar oif, — when 
truth is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter; then 
is the time for God to come forth out of his place, to punish 
the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity; that the earth 
may disclose her blood, and no longer cover her slain. This 
is tlie way in which he accounts to the prophet for the blood 
with which his garments were dyed. He was treading the 
winepress of judgment, after the grapes had become fully 
ripe. 

We shall also call the attention of the reader to the xviii, 
chapter of this same prophet; in which we shall see, still 
more clearly, what is meant by the harvest and the vintage* 
The almost impenetrable obscurity, in which the subjects 
contained in this chapter have been involved, is now in ^ 
great measure dispelled, by the labors of some late exposi- 
tors. The land of the overshadowing wings, is most proba- 
bly intended to represent the country in which we live; as 
it lies directly beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, when we take 
our observation from the city of Jerusalem, where the pro- 
phet lived, and where he suw the vision. It has, on the map, 
the appearance of a bird with wide spreading wino^s; it has 
the same on its national standards; and it holds out an asy- 
lum to the oppressed of all nations. It is not a wo which is 
denounced against this land; but rather a command given to 
the christian teachers, to go to a nation scattered and peeled, 
to a people terrible from their beginning, &c. The object, 
no doubt, is to bring those people to the knowledge of the 
gospel; and the promise is, that after a certain terrible judg- 
ment has been executed, this people shall be brought " to the 
place of the name of the Lord of hosts, — to mount Zion." 
The meaning of the whole most probably is, that after th« 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATIOJJ. 235 

judgments shall have been executed on Christendom, the 
aborii^ii)es of America shall be brought to the knowledge 
of the truth, by the instrumentality of the christian teachers 
of the same land. — But our business is particularly with the 
subjects contained in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth verses 
of this chapt r; and we shall insert a correct and literal 
translation of them, which has been given by the late John 
M'Donald, of Albany, in an interesting little work, entitled, 
•• Isaiah's message to the American nation." 

*' All ye inhabitants of the world, and all ye that dwell 
on earth, when the standard is lifted upon the mountains, 
look ye! and when the trumpet is sounded, listen ye! Then 
thus did Jehovah say to me: I will sit still now, and I will 
look intently from my habitation, like serene heat after 
bright sunshine, and like a dewy cloud in the heat of harvest. 
But while the harvest was passing away, when the bud had 
become perfect, and the blossom had changed into the juicy 
grape: he cut down the luxuriant branches with pruning 
hooks: he removed the standard vine: he cut in pieces. They 
abandon them promiscuously to the eagle of the mountains, 
and to the beasts of the field. On Him the eagle of the 
mountains is glutted: even on Him all the beasts of the 
field insultingly riot." 

As this prophecy plainly relates to these latter days, and 
particularly to the judgments which are expressed by the 
harvest and the vintage in the Revelation, we ought to see 
the commencement of its accomplishment in the times in 
which we live. The ensign has been lifted upon the moun- 
tains, and the trumpet has been blown, by the various revo- 
lutions and the shakings of the nations, which have lately 
taken place throughout the world. The present generation 
has seen and heard sufficient, to bring conviction to every 
mind, that a new era will soon commence, in the moral world; 
and that God is about to introduce that kingdom, which 
shall never be destroyed. Every one that believes the scrip- 
tures, and has paid any attention to these late dispensations 
of Providence, must have seen the standard raised, and 
heard the sound of the trumpet. But immediately after this 
solemn warning, we are to expect a kind of tranquillity and 
calmness on the face of the moral world. A state in which 
God appears to sit still, and look from his habitation at the 
moral fruits, which are coming to perfection. Thus the hus- 
bandman, or the vine dresser, after he has been employed 
constantly for some months, in labor, sits down for a time in 
his house, and takes bis rest; until the harvest is ready for 



2SG DISSKRTATION OM 

reaping, and the grapes fit to be gathered. There has been, 
for a number of years, a kind of calm and tranquillity', over 
most of the nations of F'uropc, where the harvest and the 
vintage are chiefly to be gathered; and the providence of 
God does at this time, operate like serene heat after bright 
gunshine; and like a dewy cloud, in the heat of harvest. 
He operates every where through the world; bat in such a 
secret and silent manner, that his works are scarcely seen; 
and by the prosperity of iniquity, and the little attention 
which seems to be paid to those who live in the practice of 
duty, the world seems generally to have forgotten, that God 
takes any knowledge of their ways. But the first remarka- 
ble judgment, by which he will convince the world, that he 
sees all their wicked works, will be the reaping of the earth: 
and soon after this, another remarkable judgment will fol- 
low, which is expressed by the gathering of the vintage^ 
and casting the ripe clusters into the great wine-press of the 
wrath of God. The harvest will first appear in some terri- 
ble and desolating judgments; andbefore, or in die presence 
of the harvest, or while it is still fresh in the minds of men, 
the vintage shall come in the most horrible results. 

These judgments were brought in detail, before the mind 
of the apostle. He beheld, in the first place, one of those 
white bright clouds, which are frequently seen in the hea- 
vens, in the morning, before the sun appears. The dark and 
dense matter of which they are composed, is illuminated 
and brightened by the solar light. This white cloud points 
out to us, the nature of this latter dispensation. It is not 
altogether like the dark clouds of vengeance, which lower, 
and thicken, and blacken, over a guilty nation; when it is 
about to be utterly destroyed, and when no ray of hope can 
be seen. The clouds of vengeance, in these latter days, are 
illuminated and brightened by the sun of righteousness. The 
judgments which God is about to execute, are intended to 
open the way for the general diffusion of gospel light. After 
these judgments shall be executed, the darkness of error and 
delusion will constantly retreat, and will finally be dispelled 
for ever. 

On triis white cloud he saw one sitting, who was similar 
in his appearance to one of the sons of men. This is the 
same personage, who was seen by Daniel, coming with the 
clouds of heaven; and the same whom the apostle had before 
seen, walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. 
The golden crown signifies his authority and kingly power, 
while the sharp sickle shows the nature of the judgments he 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATIOK* 257 

is about to execute, and the characters who are to be the 
subjects of them. He is about to cut oft* entirely from the 
eartli, all characters, in whom certain fruits of iniquity have 
become ripe. Many sinners will still be left in the world, 
after the earth shall have been reaped j but a certain class of 
tliem will be utterly destroyed. 

The apostle then'saw another angel coming out of the tem- 
ple, and crying with a loud voice, to him that sat on the 
cloud, '* Thrust in thy sickle and reap: for the time is come 
for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And 
he that sat on the cloud, thrust in his sickle on the earth, and 
the earth was reaped." As the temple is the emblem of the 
church of God, so this angel coming out of the temple, and 
crying with a loud voice, to him that sat on the cloud, to 
thrust in his sickle, or to execute the judgments which he 
had determined, is a representation of the true worshippers 
of God, calling on him in their prayers, to accomplish the 
work of judgment, for which he had given them the right to 
hope. This is not the language of authority; nor in any res- 
pect improper for a servant to use to his master, who had 
told him he would perform a certain work, at a certain time. 
God has given the privilege to his servants, to speak to him 
in this manner; and, as it were, to put him in mind of his 
promises. Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel and 
his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, 
afld concerning the work of my hands, command ye me. Is. 
xlv. 11. It is the duty and the privilege of all the true ser- 
vants of God, to make inquiry concerning all future things, 
relating to his children: and with respect to whatever work 
he has promised to do, they are to wait till the proper period 
arrives, and then to call on him with earnestness, for the 
accomplishment of his promise. This judgment of the har- 
vest is not far distant; but the church is not yet in a proper 
condition, for the angel to come out of it, and call on the 
Redeemer to accomplish his work. The emblem of the 
temple, supposes the church in a very different condition 
from what it is at present. It supposes that the true worship 
of God has gained some kind of permanent establishment, 
in the different parts of the earth. When this call shall be 
made vvith eftect, the church shall be no longer in the wil- 
derness, in a moveable habitation like a tabernacle; but in a 
permanent residence like the temple. But this period mu&t 
arrive, as soon as the witnesses of truth shall have attained 
to a certain degree of influence in the world. The standard 
has already been raised on the mountains, the trumpet haa 
Sounded, and God is now sitting and looking intently from 



238 DISSERTATION OM 

his habitation; he is operating in the world like serene heat 
after bright sunshine, and like a dewy cloud in the heat of 
harvest; and therefore as soon as the truth shall have ac- 
quired a permanent influence on the minds of a sufficient 
number, and the true worship of God shall be established in 
a permanent manner; so that the church can be called the 
temple of God, his servants shall call on him with uni- 
ted voice, to thrust in his sickle. He will then attend to 
their crj, and the earth shall be reaped. This judgment is 
probably the same which is called in the xvi. chapter, the 
battle of the great day of God Almighty, and will be consi- 
dered in the dissertation on that chapter. 

But no sooner was this judgment executed, than the atten- 
tion of the apostle was called to another scene of vengeance, 
which appeared far more terrible than the reaping of the 
earth. The gathering of the vintage, and the treading of the 
grapes, exhibit a consummation in the judgments of God, 
which destroys forever certain fruits of iniquity. It is pro- 
per to observe, that in the land of Judea and the countries 
contiguous, where the grape is successfully cultivated, the' 
harvest generally commences in the latter part of the month 
of April, and is completed in May; while the vintage is not 
gathered till the month of July. Hence there is generally 
six or seven weeks between harvest and vintage. The for- 
mer continues for a number of weeks, while the latter lasts 
but a few days. This last but most tremendous judgment, 
signified by the vintage, is presented to us in the remaining 
part of this chapter. The apostle beheld '* another angel 
coming put of the temple in heaven, he also having a sharp 
sickle." There seems here to be a distinction between the 
temple on the earth and the templQ in heaven, and the latter 
probably signifies a more exalted state of the church than the 
former. In this book there are no words of course. Every 
word and every phrase has some meaning in itself. We 
may learn from this representation, that amidst all the scenes 
of calamity, the true church of God will still be risino- in in- 
fluence and honor. The emblem of the temple in heaven 
fiignifies an elevation in the circumstances of true Christiani- 
ty; and the angel coming out of this temple with a sharp 
sickle in his hand, to cut down and gather the clusters of the 
vine of the earth, shows that at this period, God will give so 
much power to his church, that she vshall be enabled to col- 
lect the fruits from which the wine of Babylon is made, and 
cast them into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. 
This is the accomplisliment of the prophecy contained in the 
fiftieth and fifty-first chapters of Jeremiah. Any one, who 



THE XIV. OF THE REVELATIOIC. 259 

has been in the habit of looking into the spiritual meaning of 
the prophecies of the Old Testament, will require no com- 
mentary, except those chapters, to enable him to come to a 
right understanding of this vision of John, Those that have 
fled and escaped, out of the land of Babylon, will "then de- 
clare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord, — the vengeance of 
his temple. " The archers are called together against Baby- 
lon, — all that bend the bow are commanded to shoot at her, 
and not spare any arrows; '' but to do to her as she hath 
done: because she hath been proud against the Lord, — 
against the Holy One of Israel." It is the voice of the wit- 
nesses of truth, who shall then be enabled to show clearly 
and plainly, the errors and iniquities of the prevailing reli- 
gion: and when these things shall have been fully pointed 
out to the world, the fruits shall be gathered and expressed, 
by a series of terrible judgments. Here the minister of the 
divine vengeance comes out of the temple, with a sharp sic- 
kle in his hand; and another immediately appears coming 
out from the altar. This angel is said to have authority 
over the sacred fire, which was kept continually burning on 
the altar, for the purpose of consuming the sacrifices. So 
the cry from this angel denotes the consummation of God's 
judgments, on the corrupted christian church. Not indeed 
the entire destruction of the beast and his adherents, but the 
destruction of their fruits. It is the cleansing of the sanc- 
tuary, at the end of the 1260 years of the beast's reign. It 
is such a defeat given to the power of antichristian delusions, 
that this principle of iniquity shall not any longer extend 
itself over the world. The harvest, or the reaping of the 
earth, is the first signal judgment, which shall destroy a 
great portion of those antichristian fruits, and relieve the 
world, to a certain extent, from the delusive influence of 
antichristian principles; but the treading of the wine press ^ 
will be such a tremendous judgment, as will forever pre- * 
vent the world from drinking of the wine of Babylon. God, 
in his forbearance, will suffer this vine to grow until the 
grapes are fully ripe; but he will finally gather all the clus- 
ters, and cast them into the great wine press of his wrath. 
This will produce extensive desolation. When the apostle 
saw the vision, there seems to have been a city presented to 
his mind, and near this city there was a wine press, which 
extended 1600 furlongs, or 200 miles. The grapes were 
trodden with horses; and he saw the juice or blood of the 
grape, which appeared^ to him like the blood of men, rising 
as high as the horse bridles, for this enormous space. As 
200 miles are said to be the dimensions of the Pope'a domi- 



840 DISSERTATION ON 

nions in Italy, extending from the walls of Rome, to the 
mouths of the river Po, and the marshes of Verona; so manj 
of the most respectable commentators have supposed, that 
this judgment will be executed in that part of the dominions of 
Antichrist. Time alone can reveal the truth on this subject. 
It is bj no means improbable, that the great wine press will be 
trodden near the walls of Rome; but there will no doubt be 
many others, of smaller dimensions, in every country where 
the vineyard has brought its fruits to maturity; or, in other 
words, some terrible judgments, of the same nature, will be 
executed in every part of the christian world, where the 
same, or similar principles of iniquity, have pi-evailed, and 
brought forth their fruits. Let all churches, therefore, be- 
ware of antichristian doctrines and practices; for we may 
rest assured, that when the grapes are fully ripe, the Re- 
deemer will tread them in his anger, and trample them in 
his fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon his gar- 
ments, &c. The nations shall drink of their own wine, 
which they themselves have mingled, and they shall be 
drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more; because of 
the sword of the Lord, which shall be sent among them. 

We ought to pay particular attention to these phrases, the 
harvest of the earth, and the vintage of the earth. They 
are such a harvest and vintage as ought to be expected from 
the men of the earth, or earthly minded men, who have long 
prospered and been successful in their works of iniquity. 
This has been remarkably the case, with such characters, 
in these latter days. Enormous wickedness seldom pros- 
pers long, in any period of the world; because the govern- 
ment of God will not sutfer any particular individual to 
violate his laws, in an open and flagrant manner, without 
setting some mark of his displeasure on the culprit. In this 
respect, his government is like other governments. They 
all find it necessary to punish, openly and severely, every 
atrocious otfender; but still, in the best regulated govern- 
ments on eailh, a man may commit small ott'ences, from 
time to time, until he becomes a great offender, and worthy 
of severe punishment. It requires a longer period for such 
a character to fill up the measure of his guilt, and therefore 
his punishment is delayed. Such is the situation in which 
the world stands at this moment, with respect to (he go- 
yernment of God. There is, indeed, enough of flagrant 
offenders, whom he punishes every day; because it is neces- 
sary to make public examples of those who are enormously 
wicked. But the moral and christianized part of every 



THE XIV. Oy THE REVELATION. 341 

community, have been departing, every year, and everj^ age, 
a little, and a little further, from the true path of christian 
rectitude. These deviations have grown imperceptibly, and 
few have looked on the state of Christendom with an accu- 
rate and impartial eye, or have compared the Christianity of 
the present age, with that which is exhibited in the New 
Testament. Hence, when the evil fruits were in full bloom, 
they had so much the appearance of christian fruits, that al- 
most all have been deceived. Tlie charitable allowances 
which men are accustomed to make for the sins of others, in 
hopes that the same allowances will be made for their own, 
have turned the christian world into a scene of traffic and ex- 
change. A man flatters his neighbor, in hopes of being him- 
self flattered and complimented in return. Thus truth has 
fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. But the evil 
fruits are fast coming to perfection, and the judgments of 
God will fall upon them before they are aware. The pros- 
perous sinner, who has generally conducted himself in such 
a way, that his sins are hidden from the world, and, in some 
measure, from himself, and has been enabled to retain both 
his riches and his honors, until he believes they are his own 
forever, will find himself at once deprived of all that raised 
him in his own estimation; and shall sink, despised by all, 
into the gulph of degradation and despair. Those churches 
that have grown in number and popular influence, by ac- 
commodating their doctrines and worship to the prevailing 
fashion and taste of the world, and have seduced many from 
the paths of wisdom, will find their folly, not only by their 
loss of influence, and continual disappointments in their 
plans of policy; but they shall be suftered to fall into still 
greater errors, until they shall become habitations of devils, 
the holds of every foul spirit, and cages of every unclean 
and hateful bird. They shall drink of the bitter cup of their 
own iniquity, and stumble and fall into eternal darkness. 
The world shall then be able to discriminate between the 
fruits of the earth, and the heavenly fruits of that pure and ' 
undefiled religion, which is according to the ordinances of 
God. They shall fear to follow after any kind of error, or 
deceptive influence, for they shall see the horrible results, 
in the lives and deaths of such as have gone astray. Thus, 
by a gradual, but terrible process of judgments, the earth 
shall at length be regenerated, and brought back to the 
knowledge and practice of truth and righteousness. But 
we shall find these truths expanded, and more clearly pre- 
lented to our minds, in the following chaptttrs. 
21 



PART II. DISSERTATION VII 



ON THE XV. OF THE REVELATION 

'* And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvel- 
lous, seven angels having the seven last plagues: for in 
them is filled up the wrath of God." It is observed by the 
Psalmist, that the judgments of God are a great deep. 
Thej are like the fathomless abyss, that is contained in the 
bowels of the earth. They are enveloped in darkness un- 
til they are executed. They are never fully understood un- 
til they are felt. The judgments described in this and the 
following chapter, aretlie last signal and remarkable exhibi- 
tions of the vengeance of God, v^hich shall be made in the 
common course of Providence, until the wicked shall be 
called to his bar at the judgment day. By these they shall 
be wasted, and swept away from the earth; and all obstruc- 
tions taken out of the way of the Redeemer's kingdom. 
Then the saints shall live and reign with Christ a thousand 
;^ears. Satan shall be bound, and confined in his prison 
for that period. The great dragon who, in all ages, has 
been permitted to ^o abroad through the earth, and exert 
his power in deceiving the nations, shall be restrained from 
all this mischief; and then the truth shall not be obstructed 
in its progress; but the word of God shall have free course 
a»d be glorified. At the end of this period, Satan shall 
again be loosed, and suffered to go abroad as usual through 
the nations to deceive them; shall again succeed in an as- 
tontishing manner: so that in a very short time, the mass of 
the world shall again be the enemies of the gospel. But 
they shall all be destroyed by some sudden judgment from 
God» before they shall have time to do any essential injury 
to his church. Then the last and final judgment shall 
immediately take place; the dead, small and great, shall 
stand before God; and receive the sentence, which shall 
aeal their condition for ever. Hence we see the reason why 
these judgments are called the last plagues, or the accom- 
plishment of the wrath of God: for after them there shall 
DO more judgments be inflicted on mankind, until God shall 
ctill tliem to his bar. The righteous, who shall then be 
found living in the world, shall not die, but shall undergo, 
in a moment, iu the twinkling of an eye, the change which i» 



THE XV. OF THE REVELATION. 243 

erjuivalent to death; but the wicked shall be cut off in a 
moment, by fire from heaven. These therefore are proper- 
ly the last plagues, and they are truly great and marvel- 
lous. We shall see in them the spiritual accomplishment 
of the whole curses contained in the law of Moses. God 
has declared to his church in this age. as really as he declar- 
ed to the church of the Israelites; " If thou wilt not observe 
to do all the words of this law, that are written in this book, 
that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE 
LORD THY GOD; then the Lord will make thy plagues 
wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed; even great plaij;ue9., 
and of long cotjtinu mce, and sore sicknesses and of long 
continuance," &,c. These curses shall com« on the chris- 
tian world, and shall pursue them and overtake them, until 
the sinners shall be consumed; because they would not 
liearken to the voice of the Lord their God, to keep his com- 
mandments and his statutes. They shall overtake them in 
the common course of the providence of God, while they 
are pursuing their customary and daily avocations, and 
seeking the profits, the pleasures, and the honors of life. 
Many of them will never once suspect that they are the sub- 
jects of the divine vengeance; because they are constantly 
engaged in the pursuits of the world, and although God's 
hand is lifted Ihey will not see, until the thickening and 
blackening clouds, are r^ady to burst over their heads, in 
the thunders of devouring wrath. 

Although these plagues are silent and secret in their op- 
erations, yet they are the most terrible judgments that 
have been executed; for they are the last of that series 
which commenced soon after the days of the apostles, and 
has been gradually growing more severe and horrible, from 
age to age, as it approaches towards the last end of the in- 
dignation. The series commenced with the judgments con- 
tained in the six seals. These were executed on the Ro- 
man empire, until the Pagan religion was overturned: but 
under the seventh seal a train of judgments still more terri- 
ble than the former was exhibited; and thelast of them were 
the most terrible of all. *' An angel was seen flying through 
the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Wol WoJ 
Wo! to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other 
voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yH to 
sound." Two of these woes are now past, and the third 
contains these seven last plagues, or the vials of the wrath 
of God. The alarm is sounded; and then it is declared, 
that the wrath of God is come. All former woes w^trt 



244 



DISSERTATION OV 



merely the natural effects of sin. They are not to be view- 
ed so much in the lightof a judicial sentence, as they are 
the pain and misery which God, in the common course of 
his providence, has attached to crimes. These last curses 
are emphatically the vengeance of God. He commands to 
bring those his enemies, who would not that he should reign 
over them, and slay them before him. Thus his wrath is 
said to come, and the time of the dead that they should be 
judged, and that he should destroy them that destroy the 
earth. 

Tlie sign or symbol by which these judgments were pre- 
sented to the mind of the apostle, appeared to him great 
and wonderful. There must have been something in the 
appearance of those angels, and with the various represen- 
tations which were then made visible to his mind, by which 
he was struck with wonder and astonishment. We find 
the apostle frequently affected in this manner, by the things 
which he heard and saw He tells us in the xviii. chapter, 
that when he saw the woman drunken with the blood of 
the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, he 
wondered with great admiration. It was indeed an aston* 
ishing sight, to see the christian church, not only persecu* 
ting the saints, but becoming intoxicated, and rioting like 
bacchanals in their triumph over them. The tilings con- 
tained in these symbols are not less astonishing. The feel- 
ings manifested by the apostle, ought to be a guide to our 
feelings, when we study the things which he saw and heard; 
for we may be certain they were not excited in his mind 
without sufficient reason. Ke. had cause for wonder; and if 
we do not also find cause for the same, it is certain that we 
have not the views and feelings which correspond with the 
subject. 

But it was necessary, in order that the apostle might have 
a correct view of these judgments, and be able, to see their 
nature and operation, to have his mind directed in the first 
place to another subject, which shows the safety, and the 
exalted condition of the true worshippers of God, during 
these visitations of the divine vengeance. '• I saw," says he, 
"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, standi 
on the sea of glass, having the harps of God: and they sing 
the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb,"&c. In order 
to know what is signified by this sea of glass minj^led with fire, 
we must turn our attention to the molten sea, which Solomon 



THE XV. OF tHE REVELATIOJf. -^45 

wade, and placed in the temple. Bishop Newton, not a4- 
A'erting to this circumsTaMce of the molten sea in the tem- 
ple, nor that of the sea of glass which the apostle at first 
saw before the throne, supposes that this emblem is taken 
fiom the passage of the Israelites across the Red Sea, and 
thatthese characters who stand on the sea of glass, repre- 
sent the whole church of God, who having passed through a 
scene of trials and afflictions, and having seen their enemies 
perish, are singing the song of Moses, and rejoicing befor^e 
God, for the victory they had obtained. But although this 
interpretation may appear at first sight somewhat plausible 
and striking, it will not, for a moment, bear the test of crit- 
ical inspection. If the emblem had been taken from the 
passage through the Red Sea, they would not have been 
represented standing on the sea, but on the shore. We 
ought however to remember, that all these things .were 
transacted in, and about the temple. Hie seven angete, 
having the seven via!s, came out of the temple; and w* 
know there was in the temple a vessel, which was called tbe 
molten or brazen sea, and that the apostle saw a sea of 
glass of the same description, standing before the throne of 
God; there is therefore no reason whatever, why the mind 
should be carried away to the Red Sea, and the passage of 
the Israelites from the land of Egypt. The apostle no 
-doubt saw these victors standing on a sea of glass, similar 
to that in the temple, and to that which he had formerly seen 
before the throne of God. This sea in the temple was a 
large vessel, thirty cubits, or about forty five feet in circum- 
ference, and hence the area, or superficial content of it was 
somewhat more than 160 feet. This sea would not admit 
more than fifty or sixty persons to stand on its surface* 
Probably however the sea which the apostle saw, was much 
larger than the sea in the temple: but the symbol is design- 
ed to convey the idea of a small number, compared with the 
worshippers who might be supposed to frequent the temple 
on .all ordinary occasions. Those, therefore, whom the 
apostle saw standing on the sea of glass, are not intended to 
represent the whole number of true christians, who shall be 
in the world at that period; but a particular class of true 
christians. They are not the same as the 144,000 who 
stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, but a numaer of in- 
dividuals, who have been reclaimed from the dominion of 
the beast. Here our translation does not present the exact 
meaning of the original. It is not properly those wiio had 
gained the victory over the bea«>t, over his "image, &c. biit 



t46 DISSERTATION ON 

ihose, who had gained the victory, out of or from the beast, &c, 
that is, those who, by the knowledge of the truth, and the 
various dispensations of God's mercy, have been enabled to 
see their errors, and have come out from under the dominion 
of false principles and false practices in religion. At 
that period, in which the witnesses are slain, the beast has 
such an ascendency over the minds of the world, that al- 
though there is still a larg;e number of the friends of truth in 
it; yet they are so scattered and dispersed, and their views 
of truth so dark and bewildered, that they can make no 
effectual opposition against the immense number of the 
friends of error. But afterwards, when the witnesses rise, 
and raise the standard of truth, all that have not bowed the 
knee to the image of Baal, will of course rally round it; 
and then, a large and respectable number will be found 
standing with the liamb. But still there are others of the 
true servants of God, who may have been led into errors; 
and some time will be required for them to know the evils 
into which they have fallen; and even after they shall have 
a glimpse of the truth, it will be some time, before they 
shall be established in the true fiith, and determine to come 
out of Babylon. All this is perfectly natural, and entirely 
within the common course of God's providence. When the 
disciples raised the standard of truth, on the day of pente- 
cost, there were found about three thousand who were pre- 

f)ared to stand with the Lamb; and their numbers continual- 
y increased: but still many years were required, before all 
the true servants of God, in the Jewish nation, were con- 
firmed in the faith. Hence it is said, **he shall confirm 
the covenant with many for one week." It is such char- 
acters as those, who shall take their station on the sea of 
glass mingled with fire. Men do not all see their errors 
at the same time, or in the same manner. Some also are 
slow and reluctant to part with those things, that have ac- 
quired an influence over their minds. It will therefore be 
a work of time, to bring all the true servants of God, out of 
the errors in which they are tangled. But when they shall 
see the corrupted churches becoming still more corrupt, and 
many of them habitations of devils, and holds of every foul 
spirit, &c. they shall hear and attend to the voice of God; 
** come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her 
sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Here then we 
see plainly the characters, that shall stand on the sea of 
glass; and in hearing their praises, we hear "the voice of 
vhem that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to 



THE XV. OF THE REVELATION. 247 

f!eclare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the ven- 
geance of his temple." 

But th's escape will not be made, nor the victory be ob- 
tainetl over the adversary, without passing; through tlie wa- 
ters and fires of affliction. The sea in the temple, like the 
other instrun)ents, had asyndiolical, or typical meaning. It 
represented the sufferings of the Redeemer, and the foun- 
tain which is opened, through his suiferings, for sin and un- 
cleanness. The death or sufft-ring of Christ is the efficient 
cause of cleansing our hearts from sin; and our own suffer- 
ings are generally the instrumental cause: therefore the sea, 
being iningled with fire, and afterwards consolidated, and 
becoming firm like the glass, shows that these characters, 
who thus gain the victory, and come out from the domi- 
nion of the beast, will have a hard contest, much strug- 
gling, and many sorrows to endure. They shall be purified 
by water and by fire, and afterwards they shall rise superior 
to all trouble and temptation. They shall forsake all false 
doctrines and false worship, and join themselves to the 
Lord, in a perpetual covenant, that shall not be forgotten. 
Then they shall publish the word of the Lord in Zion, and 
his praise in Jerusalem. 

The evil principle over which this victory is to be obtain- 
ed, holds the world at this day in bondage. It is that pow- 
er, which the wealth, the honors, or the pleasures of life, 
have gained over the hearts of men. The love of these 
things insinuates itself into their choice of religion, when 
they form their attachment to any sect or denomination, it 
leads them to believe certain religious doctrines, and to 
adopt a certain kind of religious prgfctice. Unseen and si- 
lent, it works every where, and many who are under its in- 
fluence, are by no means conscious of its operations. But 
until the heart is purified from this principle, men will be 
always the followers of the beast. The old serpent puts 
on various forms in the religious world. The beast at 
Rome is no longer popular in a large part of Christendom; 
and therefore he assumes the name of every Protestant de- 
nomination. There are worshippers of the beast among 
them all. But in general, such characters are most nume- 
rous in those churches, where erroneous doctrines are 
preached, or where the worship is corrupted by human in- 
ventions. They cannot bear the truth, and they do not love 
the ordinances which God has appointed. This is the great 
reason m hy those churches flourish in numbers and popular 
influence, where some false doctrines are preached, and 



^8 DISSERTATION ON 

where the worship is crrupted bj human inventions; for 
there is a tenfleiicv ia every Iteart towards the worship ot 
the beast. When this corrupting principle is not resisted, 
but suffered to grc-v, it will always obtain more power over 
the hearts of men, and they will go still farther into delu- 
sion; and notoniy worship the beasf, but also his image, and 
receive his mark. It is necessary therefore, in order to gain 
the victory over the beast, to gain in the first place the vic- 
tory over ourselves; — to pull down the strong holds which 
Satan has erected in cur hearts;— to let God's authority- 
prevail, and have power over us in every thought, and word, 
and action; and especially in the doctrines we believe, and 
in the worship which we offer to him. Those who give dil- 
igence to bring their hearts into this kind of subjection, 
will be among the number who stand on the sea of glass, 
having the harps of God. 

We ought not to pass over this expression without notice. 
It certainly is not intended to teach the necessity, or even 
the propriety, of using musical instruments in our worship. 
They were used in the temple in ancient times, but they 
were never used in the synagogues; nor is there the smallest 
intimation that they were ever used in the days of the apos- 
tles, nor until the christian churches began to exhibit pomp 
and pageantry, in order to attract the attention , and please the 
taste of carnal men. The temple worship was all symbolical, 
and typified spiritual things. The harps of God are intend- 
ed to represent the kind of praises which shall be offered, in 
the worship of those who shall have gained the victory over 
the beast. Now there are but two kinds of praises, which 
can be offered to God in worship; namely, the praises which 
are of human contrivance and workmanship, invented and 
constructed by the art of man, and those which are framed 
and constructed by the wisdom and the spirit of God: the 
songs of human invention, and the songs of divine inspira- 
tion. For making the former kind of harps, there is not 
tlie shadow of authority in any part of the word of God; nor 
even the slightest intimation that any such harps were used 
in the churches, until they began to corrupt themselves, by 
choosing iheir own ways: the latter, God has made for the 
churches: he has carefully framed and adapted them to the 
worship of the New Testament, as well as the (3ld: they are 
quite sufficient for all the circumstances of the church, and 
for all the circumstances of every private christian, in every 
part of his life; both for the exercise of his understanding, 
the purifying of his heart, and for exciting and creating the 



THE XV. OF THE REVELATIOlJ. ^9 

most exalted devotion: and therefore there cannot be the 
least reason for laying aside these harps of God, and using 
those which are the mere workmanship and contrivance of 
uninspired, and of course, ignorant men. The divine archi- 
tect of the spiritual temple, has made us our harps, and all 
who have gotten the victory over the beast will use them 
alone, and not the harps of man. That this is the true mean- 
ing, and the intention of the spirit of God, in the use of this 
symbol, is almost obvious. Let any man torture his ingenu- 
ity to find out the meaning of this expression, and why it is 
here used, and his labor will be in vain, if he is not disposed 
to adopt this explanation. The great God, who sees the 
present and the future, no doubt intended, by using it in this 
place, to call our attention to the abuses which have crept 
into his praises; and to show, that if we would preserve our- 
selves and our worship from corruption, we must use the 
harps of God, or the songs of divine inspiration. 

There is something in this whole representation, which 
seems to show a kind of earnestness and solicitude, that the 
subject of the praises of the church might be fully and clearly 
understood. In the symbol of the 144,000, there is mention 
made of their singing a new song; and lest that should bo 
misunderstood, as we know it has been, and supposed to 
relate to the numerous and multiplied psalms, and hymns, 
and spiritual son^s, of human contrivance, not only the kind 
of praises, as being the workmanship of God; but the very 
song itself is here pointed out to us. " They sing the song 
of Moses, and the song of the Lamb." Here, it is likely, 
some may be disposed to say, that we are jumbling two simi- 
litudes together, the harps and the song, and making them 
represent the same thing. But this is not the fact. The 
mention of the harps of God is intended to show us, that the 
outward forms, and all the instruments of their worship, are 
of divine workmanship: but the mention of the song shows, 
more particularly, the substance of their worship. It is 
made thus plain, that there may be no ground for mistake. 
There are two songs in the scripture, attributed to Moses, 
besides the xc. psalm, which is entitled, *' a prayer of Moses^ 
the man of God." But the song which is particularly 
meant, is no doubt that contained in the xxxii. chapter of 
Deuteronomy; because it is exactly applicable to the circum- 
stances of those who are standing on the sea of glass. It is 
the testimony of the uncorrupted and faithful members of 
the church, against the sinful conduct of those "who cor- 
rupted themselves,— whose spot is not the spot of the chil- 



^0 DISSERTATION ON 

dren of God, — who are a perverse and crooked generation." 
It may be presumed that the psalm and hymn makers of the 
present age have supposed, that this song of Mohes, like 
many of the psalms of David, is not proper to be sung in 
the worship of God in these latter days; or else they would 
have given a version or an imitation of it: but so far as the 
author is acquainted with these human productions, he has 
never seen this song of Moses embodied in any system of 
devotional songs. But the substance of this song, and, in- 
deed, of all the songs of inspiration, both in the Old and New 
Testament, is to be found in the book of Psalms. This book 
contains every thing suitable for christian worship; and when 
the mind has become, in some degree, enlightened and 
spiritualized, so as to see the true meaning, it must fill 
every true worshipper with admiration and astonishment, to 
see how accurately the condition of the christian world, at 
the present time, is here described. This is evidently the 
song of the Lamb. As the song of Moses is found in the 
scriptures, so the song of the Lamb must be found there also; 
for the Lord Jesus Christ has authorized no other songs to 
be sung in his church, but those found in his word. The 
hymn which was sung by the Redeemer and his disciples, 
. after the last passover, and before they went up to the mount 
of Olives, was the great Hallel, or that part of the psalms 
contained between the cxii. and the cxviii. This is well 
known to have been always sung by the Jews, after the pass- 
over; and the lledeemer did not depart from the ancient 
custom. This book contains all the psalms, and hymns, 
and spiritual songs, which were sung by the churches, in 
the days of the apostles. At least, there is not the shadow 
of proof to the contrary. The example of any of the primi- 
tive churches, who may have departed from this rule, ought 
to have no weight whatever; for we know, that like the Is- 
raelitish church of old, they began early to corrupt them- 
selves with their own inventions, and thus to provoke the 
wrath of God, who on account of such vanities, finally gave 
them up to antichristian domination, and even now makes 
us all drink the bitter cup of our fathers' folly. It is, in 
fact, something worse than folly. It is at least bordering 
on blasphemy, when a man, without any authority from 
God, and merely from his own heart, composes a religious 
8ong, calls it the song of the Lamb, and gives it to the 
churches, to sing in the praises of God. In this respect^ 
the modern psalm and hymn makers are guilty of both false- 
hood and presumption; — of falsehood, because the truth is, 



THE XV. OF THE RKrKLATION. 251 

their productions are not the song of the Lambj and of pre- 
sumption, because thej arrogate to themselves a work, for 
which they have no authority. Jesus Christ has sent his 
ministers to preach the gospel ^ but he has sent none of them 
to make songs to be sung in his church: he has given her 
his own song, in his own word, and this is to be sung con- 
tinually in his praises. If men do not see that this is the 
fact, but blindly follow these innovators, and sing their com- 
positions, under the impression that they are the song of the 
Lamb, their conduct can be accounted for, only from the 
dark clouds of ignorance and infatuation, which now cover 
the face of the christian world. When this folly and pre- 
8un>ption once comes to be seen in its proper light, and the 
sin to be felt, it will be a source of anguish and remorse, 
to every one who has engaged in it, or given it encourage- 
ment. 

But we have positive proof, from the psalms themselves, 
that they are the song of the Lord, which is the same as the 
song of the Lamb. When the Jews were carried into cap- 
tivity, and hung their harps on the willows, by the rivers of 
Babylon, they were required, by the haughty captors, to 
sing for them one of the songs of Zion. At this demand, 
they exclaimed, in all the agonies of grief, "Oh, how shall 
we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land!" The meaning 
of this appellation, the Lord's song, is not any song which 
may be composed for the praise of the Lord; but a song 
which he has himself given, to be sung in his praise. He 
has given, for this purpose, the songs of Zion, which are 
found in the book of Psalms, and these are called, by way 
of eminence, to the exclusion of all others, the Lord's song. 
If any of the captives, by the rivers of Babylon, had pre- 
sumed, of themselves, and without authority, to make a 
system of praises, and dared to call it the Lord's song, every 
one must see that this conduct would, in the highest degree, 
have been daring and presumptuous. It is equally presump- 
tuous and daring at the present time; for these songs of Zi- 
on are now called the song of the Lamb. This name is 
given to the Lord Jesus Christ, generally through the Reve- 
lation; and the Lord's song, and the Lamb's song, mean 
precisely the same thing. We may, therefore, confidently 
hope, from this emblem of the company of worshippers, 
standing on the sea of glass, and singing the song of Moses, 
and the song of the Lamb, that all the true church of God 
will soon lay aside the inventions of men, in this part of 
their worship, and be found singing these compositions, and 



252 DISSERTATION OS 

these alone. As it is wrong and sinful to take any thing 
from its proper use, and apply it to a use for which it was 
not intended; so it is even sinful to versify other portions of 
icriplure, to be sung in the churches; because they were not 
intended for this use. The psalms were evidently given 
for this purpose, and they ought not to be supplanted, even 
by other portions of scripture, much less by the composi-. 
tions of vain and presumptuous men. Why is it, that the 
christian world are, at this moment, so ignorant of the spiri- 
tual meaning of this portion of the word of God? Is it not 
because their attention has been turned away from it, to 
other things, when they ought to have been engaged in 
teaching and admonishing one another, and, with grace in 
their hearts, singing these divine psalms, and h} mns, and 
spiritual songs, in the praises of the Lamb? 

But we ought to learn from the errors of others, and even 
from our own errors, to fix our attention more close on this 
part of God's holy word. By laying it aside, and using 
the compositions of men in our worship, two pernicious ef- 
fects are always produced. The relish, or taste, for these 
divine songs, is lost, and a false or corrupted taste is ac- 
quired: and secondly, from not having these songs con- 
stantly before us in our worship, we become ignorant of 
their scriptural meaning. These are obviously the reasons, 
why no man could learn the new song, but the 144,000, 
who were redeemed from the earth. In this age, God is 
about to cast a new lustre and glory on his word, and espe- 
cially on this part of it; and therefore those who in this way, 
lose their relish for the study of it, and give their attention 
to the thoughts of men, do become altogether incapacitated 
for understanding and realizing the spiritual meaning of the 
songs of inspiration. When it is said, that no man could 
learn this song, but the 144,000, there is plainly supposed 
an endeavor to learn it by some others; and although they 
could not learn it at that period, to which the vision refers; 
yet by repeated trials they might learn it afterwards. The 
persons who are seen standing on the sea of glass, seem to 
be of this description. They made the attempt repeatedly 
and were successful. They forsook the worship of the 
beast, and received the harps of God; and thus they were 
enabled to sing the song of Moses, and the song of the 
Lamb: while with wonder and admiration they exclaimed; 
"Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; 
just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints. Who shall 
uot fear thee," &c. It is a great mistake to suppose that 



THE XV. OF THE HEVELATIOJC. ^53 

thpse exclamations, which the apostle occasionally heard, 
were tlie songs they were singing. It is true, that some- 
thing like these expressions may be found in the Psalms, 
and in many other places in scripture, where the feelings of 
the true woishippers of God are expressed; but if the apos- 
tle had heard nothing, but these exclamations, he could not 
have known what song they were singing. We must bear 
in mind, that this is the representation of a fact, which will be 
realized in the churches, and which is even at this moment, 
in some degree, realized. When we study and understand 
the truths cant;iined in the Revelation and see the accom- 
plishment of those truths, in the providence of God; and 
then when we are engaged in the praises of God; and see the 
very same things, in the songs which we are singing, it is 
impossible for us to avoid exclaiming at least with our 
hearts, great and marvellous ar-e thy works, &:c. Every 
enliglilened and intelligent christian may see enough, in the 
providence of God at this moment, v.hich is in such admira- 
ble agreement with the songs of inspiration, that he will 
naturally break forth into ejaculations of wonder and as- 
tonishment. But in the course of a few years, when the 
light shall increase, when the day shall dawn, and the day 
star of prophecy shall rise in the hearts of the true worship- 
pers, these things will all be so clear and obvious, that these 
exclamations will be elicited from them all. This was, no 
doubt, the itit ntion of the Lord Jesus Christ, in makin* 
this communication to the apostle; and when we consider it 
in this light, all is consistent and natural. These very ex- 
clamations will naturally be made, when with the know- 
ledge of I he prophecies we sing the Psalms of David; because 
we see in these Psalms the very same things, which are 
pointed out to us in the prophecies, and which are now tak- 
ing place in the world. Who, that has any knowledge of the 
prophecies recorded in the Psalms, and sees the state of the 
woild, can avoid exclaiming, "who shall not fear thee, and 
glorify thy name; for thou only art holy; for all nations 
sh;i!l come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are 
liiai ife^i?-' 

Theso things will always become clearer and plainer, to 
the minds of those by whom they are studied, and carefuily 
kept in view; and this will rn;ike the difference between the 
two great classes of mankind. The one will continue in 
the practice of singing this new song, and of worshipping 
God according to his ordinances. They will, therefore, 
see his judgments, be prepared to meet them, and too-lorifv 
2-2 "* ^ 



354 DISSERTATION OS^ 

his name, amidst all the dispensations of his wrath. The 
other class, who turn away tlieir attention from these 
things, will always become more ignorant and blind, — will 
be more and more incapable of lean ing the new song, and 
wtil thus become vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. 

The apostle, having seen this representation, and under- 
stood the things contained in it, was, in some degree, pre- 
pared for understanding the awful scenes widch follow. 
" After that," says he, " 1 looked, and behold, the temple of 
the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and 
the seven angels came out of the temple," &c. We mu^t 
carefully look into the import of every word and phrase 
which is here used; for in no other way can we expect to 
have a clear and consistent view of the important truths, 
presented for our contemplation. It is nothing but want of 
observation and careful attention, which renders men igno- 
rant of the word of God, and for this sin, they make them- 
selves liable to the judgment of those, *• who regard not the 
work of the Lord, nor the operation of his hand. He shall 
destroy them, and not build them up." 

We may observe, in the first place, a wonderful prepara- 
tion for these last judgments; and this was, no doubt, what 
astonished the apostle, and made him call it a sign, great 
and marvellous. He seems to have had, at first, a transient 
view of these ministers of wrath, and to have been inform- 
ed, that the subject to be presentetl was the seven last 
plagues, which fill up the wrath of God. But he was then 
immediately called to contemjdate those characters who 
were standing on the sea of glass, and to examine their 
devotions, that he might have some knowledge of the actual 
condition of the true church of God, when these judgments 
should coiiimence. The doors of the temple then flew open, 
and the angels again made their appearance. It is called 
the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven. 
The words temple and tabernacle are sometimes used in a 
general sense, and point out no particular condition of the 
church; but they are here used symbolically, and, of course, 
have a particular meaning. The tabt.i;iacle was erected by 
Moses, in the wilderness of binai; and in the most holy 
place, in this tabernacle, the ark uar. deposited, which cmi- 
- tained the law, or the testimony of God. This tabernacle 
wc\» a moveable habitation, and WuS thus suited to the cir- 
cumstances of the Israelites, in their frequent reniovals, and 
encampments in different parts of tp.e vvdderness, till they 
came to the hwid of Canaan. But it was many years after 



THE XV. OF THE REVELATIOK, ^55 

ihoy werf settled in that land, before the temple was erected 
by Soliinon, and the ark broiiglit into it. After this, was 
done, the worship of God may be said to have been e^ta- 
bli»!:ed on a permanent foundation, and no longer liable tu 
be shifted fiom place to ])lnce. 

Ijut all this is interuKnl to show us the condition of the 
c'u-istian church, ftoip. the period in which she was driv-n 
into the wilderness, by the persecution of the dragon, and 
kept in this condition \v t'le usurpation of the man of sin, 
until the millennium, when the true worship of God wi!! tie 
€Stab!i>h;d, and tiie true church will have a permanent 
residence in every p;:rt of the world. In the vi-^ion recoit^- 
ed in- the xii. chapter, the church was exalted to heu-ven, 
tliat s!!e might be seen by the world, and then she was 
obliged to escape into tiie v,'ilderness, anl there to continue, 
removing from one place to another, for 1:260 years. 'I'he 
worship of the tabernacle continues all this period, and tho 
ark of the testimony is carrietl along, in all the sldftii)g;s 
«nd lemovings of the church. This prophecy will be ac- 
complished sovin after the rising of the witnci^ses, or soon 
after the expiration of tiie !S60 years, in which the witnesses 
are said to prophesy in sackcloth. At the commencement 
of the millennium, the temple shall be built, and the true 
v.'orship of God shall be permanently established. Hence 
we may see th.e reason why it is called the temple of the 
tabernacle of the testimony. It is not precisely in the 
moveable condition of the tabernacle, nor in the permanent 
-situation of the temple, but shows a state of progressive ex- 
altation, and the posses-ion of the testimony of God. 

From this temple of the tabernacle, the executioners of 
God's vengeance came forth. They are said to have been 
iii possession of the seven last plagues, before they had re- 
ceived the vials; because they were the commissioned 
ministers of wrath. They were clothed in pure and white 
linen. By this emblem, the righteousness of these la.-t judij- 
ments is exhibited, liefore these curses shall be brought 
on the world, God will show the justice of them to his ser- 
vants; and consequently, they sh.all know something of their 
nature. They were girded about the breasts with golden 
girdles, in order to show their dignity. A girdle round {ha 
loins would have signifitid that they were to be engaged in 
some arduous and difficult work; but the girdle about the 
breast, which was worn by kings and emperors, shows the 
authority and dignity which God will display, through his 
ministers, in this last dispensation. 



DISSERTATION ON 



It must be evident, that these judgments are to be inffict- 
ed on account of the unworthj^ and injurious manner in 
which the true gospel has been treated by mankind. The 
ministers of wrath proceed from thetempie, and the curses 
are put into their hands by one of the four living creatures, 
which represent the ministry of the gospel. These curses 
are represented by seven golden vials, till of the wrath of 
God, who liveth forever and ever. There is no small de- 
cree of obscurity thrown over this subject, by the idea which 
IS now attached to the word vial, and which is certainly 
very different from the meaning it has in the original lan- 
guage. The word vial is Greek, and our translators have 
just given us the original word; and from this it has probably 
been adopted into our language: but there is enough of evi- 
dence on this subject, in the Greek writers, to show, that so 
far from signifying a very small glass vessel, with a nar- 
row neck, it meant a vessel with a wide mouth, in the form 
of a cup of the largest size, and approaching to the dimen- 
sions of a bowl. It would have given a much better idea of 
the meaning, if the word bowl had been used for vial; be- 
cause the cwjp of God's indignation is frequently used, in 
other places, to signify t'ne same kind of curse; but here the 
vessel IS enlarged and increased, beyond the size of a cup,^ 
to show that the judgment is the greatest of this kind, which 
was ever executed on the world: and there are seven of 
these large cups, or bowls, filled with God's wrath, to show- 
that the curses shall be executed to full perfection. If, 
therefore, we desire to understand the prophecy, we must 
displace the idea of vial from our minds, and put in its stead 
that of a large cup or bowl. When we carry this idea with 
us, in our meditations on other parts of scripture, where the 
same subjects are presented, we shall have the less difficulty 
in understanding the nature of these judgments. 

These bowls are filled to the brim, with the wrath of the 
ever living God. There cannot be a more dreadful idea 
communicated. It is impossible fully to develop its mean- 
ing; because itfar surpasses human comprehension. If a large 
cup were filled with the strongest of the spirituous liquors, 
or with the venom of asps, and we were obliged to drink it 
to the dregs, it would, indeed, be a horrid subject of consi- 
deration: but it comes far short of the idea of a bowl filled 
with the wrath of the God who lives forever and ever. 

When these bowls were filled, and given into the hands 
of the executioners, then were seen the indications of God's 
displeasure against those who had despised his truth. ** The 



TttK XV. OF THK REy:ELX:T1[<5J?. 257 

temple was filled with smoke, from the glory of God, and 
from his power; and no man was able to enter into the tem- 
ple, till theseven plaguesof the seven ang;els were fulfilled." 
This smoke is an emblem of some spiritual blindness, or 
moral darkness, which shall fall upon the minds of those 
who have not fully appreciated the light of truth, and would 
not enter the true church of God, when opportunities were 
offered . In the ix. chapter, a star is seen falling from heaven 
to the earth; and this star immediately assumes the appear- 
ance of a man, to whom was given the key of the bottomless 
pit; and when he had opened the pit, there immediately 
ascended volumes of smoke, by which the sun and the air 
were darkened. This has been interpreted to mean the igno- 
rance and moral blindness which fell on the christian world, 
in the beginning of the seventh century, when the delusion 
of Mahomet prevailed. Then the temple of God was filled 
with smoke, so that men could not find the way into it; and 
ever since that period, the bottomless pit has been occasioa- 
ally opened, by the prevalence of some other imposture, 
and the moral world has been darkened, so that the way into 
the true temple of God has been hid from the eyes of mul- 
titudes. But all the smoke which has darkened the light of 
truth, and concealed it from the eyes of men in former 
times, has been their own work. Some of them always 
opened the pit, and brought forth the darkness; and men 
were bewildered and infatuated, because they had despised 
the light when it shone around them. This smoke is of the 
same kind; but it is a judgment from God himself, and 
therefore will be more terrible than any thing of the same 
kind, which has ever been experienced. It comes as a 
punishment fur the very same kind of iniquity, namely, 
for the general neglect and contempt which have been 
shown towards the truth, and towards the witnesses of the 
truth. 

It is more than probable, that this judgment has even now 
fallen, in some degree, upon the world; for although we can- 
not say that the temple is filled with smoke, so that no one is 
able to enter into it, yet the present condition of the chris- 
tian world shows, very plainly, that men are generally walk- 
ing in darkness. In the light of day, when any number of 
persons are in pursuit of some object, which all can see, and 
to which the path is plain, they will generally pursue one 
course, and will wallv nearly in a body: but let the object 
be obscured from the sight, and let the whole course be 
covered with smoke, or thick darkness, and they will all 



258 DISSERTATION OK 

take different directions; few of them will be f und walking 
together, and many of them will wander away from the ob- 
ject entirely. This is a lair representation of the religious 
world at this moment; and this kind of difficulty increases 
with every nev/ sect which rises, amidst the darkness, to 
point out a new and better course than the others were pur- 
suing. There are many persons who appear to be well 
disposed towards Christianity, but who find this very fact 
an insurmountable obstruction. They cannot proceed one 
siep further in the pursuit of truth, because thoy cannot see 
the way themselves, and their friends, on every side, are 
calling out, " here is the way; we have found it;" while, at 
the same time, they are walking in directions exactly oppo- 
site, the one to the other. The truth is, that God has be- 
gun to execute this judgment. Hence, those who are dis- 
posed to tlee out of the midst of Babylon, and to deliver 
themselves from the power of the beast, ought to take their 
«tand on the sea of glass; and thus more of their brethren 
will be added in due time, in the dispensations of God's 
providence; but, in the mean time, the bowls of the wrath of 
God are put into the hands of the executioners, and the 
^moke begins to roil in volumes around the temple of God. 
The way into the temple will be more difficult to find, every 
»l;;y, and every year; and finally, every avenue and every 
enttaitce will be so greatly obscured and darkened, that no 
one shall be able to enter, until these last judgments shall 
be poured out on the world. 

This evil in which the world is now involved, proceeded, 
inthefirst place, from themselves. It cannot be possible, that 
there is so much darkness and obscurity in the word of God, 
that those who make a proper use of it should be obliged to 
walk in darkness, and not be able to find the truth. On the 
contrary, the word of God is a lamp for the feet, and a light to 
illuminate .the path of his true servants; and they do not 
separate very far from each other in the pursuit of truth. It 
is the bold and presumptuous, those who do not treat the 
scriptures as the word of God, bur as if they were the words 
of man, who, by their plausible reasonings and crafty insi- 
nuations, have obtained influence among mankind, and in- 
troduced their different and contrary opinions; and thus the 
world has become blinded and bewildered by their own 
folly. The truth is still plain and obvious, but the eyes 
that look for it are evil; and therefore the whole body is full 
of darkness. Hence many different and contrary doctrines 
are drawn from the same text of scripture; and all of them 



THE XV. OF THE REVELATION. 259 

have adherents, because men are walking in darkness, and 
know not whither they aie going, because that darkness hath 
blinded their eyes. 

But this is also a jud;^ment from Gnd. as really as the 
darkness which covered the land of B^gypt, while the Israel- 
ites had light in all their dwellings: or, as the apostle ob- 
serves concerning the Jews, Rom. xi. Tand 8: " Israel hath 
not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hiith 
obtained it, and the rest were blinded; (according as it is 
written, God hath given them t!ie spirit of slumber, eyes 
that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) 
unto this day." U was for the wickedness of the Egyptians, 
that God brought the natural darkness on their land. It 
was for the wickedness of the Jews, that God blinded their 
eyes, and hardened their hearts, that they should not see 
with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, &c.; and it is for 
the wickedness of the christian world, that God has covered 
it, at this time, with moral darkness. But it proceeds, also, 
from his glory, which will afterwards appear in the judg- 
ments of his wrath. He conceals himself, as it were, 
behind a thick and black cloud; but his presence will after- 
wards be seen, in the lightning and the storm of his judg- 
ments; and this display of his glory will finally open the 
eyes of those who shall be left, when he shall have swept the 
corrupted churches, and the whole christian world, with the 
besom of destruction. But there is still a possibility of 
escape, until the ministers of wrath shall have begun their 
work; and therefore we should all be diligent in our endea- 
vors to find out the truth. It is still true, and will always 
be true, that those who come to the Redeemer, he will in no 
wise cast out. But if we come to him in truth, we must lay 
aside our self-sufficiency, and the natural pride of our 
hearts? and, in our worship, we must be directed entirely by 
his authority, and not by the inventions of men. We must 
seek him earnestly and diligently, and in his own way: then 
we shall find his word to be ** a lamp to our feet, and a light 
to our path." 



PART II. BISBERTATION YIII. 

ON THE XVL OF THE REVELATION. 

When all necessary preparations had been made, and 
all thino-s so arranged, that the world inio;hthave knowiedo-e 
of these terrible judgments, before ihe execution of themj 
or at least, that no one should have t!:8 excuse of involuntary 
ignorance, the orders are issued by "a great voice out of 
the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and 
pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. " The 
earth, when used as a symbol, has the same latitude of 
meaning, as when used literally. In its largest and most 
extensive sense, it signifies the whole globe which we in- 
habit; and in another sense, it means the land as distin- 
guished from the water. It is therefore used as a symbol 
to represent all worldly minded men, or all whose hearts 
are not actuated by heavenly principles, and holy affections. 
It is also used as the symbol of men, whose earthly princi- 
ples are established and confirmed, by the power of habit j 
M^hen they are to be distinguished from those, -vhose prin- 
ciples are unsteady and fluctuating, like the waves of the 
sea. Various examples might be brought to prove that the 
earth, when used as an emblem, has generally, one or the 
other of these senses; but the thing is so plain, that we pre- 
sume examples are unnecessary. In the former sense, it is 
used In the first verse. The whole seven vials or bowls, full 
of the wrath of God, are to be poured on all men throughout 
the world, whose principles and dispositions are earthly, — 
those who do not obey the command of the Redeemer, to 
seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. It is 
of little importance what profession they make, or by what 
name they are called. The great question is, whether they 
are earthly, or heavenly, carnally or spiritually, minded. 
If earthly minded men are called christians, they have 
merely a name that they live, while they are dead; and are 
the worshippers of the beast. If they are not called chris- 
tians, they nave the spirit of the dragon; and like him, they 
will give their power and influence to the beast, whenever 
their worldly purposes can be promoted by it. All such 
characters must be utterly destroyed from the earth; and 
this is the command for, and the commencement of their 
destruction. 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 261 

We should observe that these judgments, although they 
shall take place in the common course of God's providence, 
are not like the judgments contained in the seals, or like 
those proclaimed by the trumpets. They are not, chiefly 
and principally, common national calamities, such as \vars, 
famines, and pestilences; although these shall no (ioubt be 
mingled in them. In common national jutlgmtnl-, God 
generally makes but little discrimination between the righ- 
teous and the wicked. When they are brought on the world, 
a good man is as likely to suft'er as a wicked mari. I'he 
innocent and the guilty are alike involved in the same tem- 
poral calamities; although the righteous has peace in his 
death, and all his suiferings are tempered with mercy: but 
the wicked, whether he escapes or sutlers, is still the < bject 
of God's vengeance. In the execution of these last phigues, 
God will distinguish between the righteous and the wjckedf 
therefore they shall be poured, and shall chiefly operate, on 
the minds of men. We frequently see judgments of the 
same kind executed on men who have pro>pered and got 
success in their sins; whose prosperity has continued so 
long, that they entertain no fears of a reverse in their cir- 
cumstances. They say in their hearts, " God hath forgot- 
ten: he hideth his face; he will never see it." There are 
many such characters at this time in the christian church. 
They are careful not to be guilty of such great and enormous 
crimes as would destroy their christian character; but their 
whole lives are nevertheless a scene of dishonesty and of 
fraud: "guile is always found in their lips." I'his was the 
general character of the Pharisees, in the days of the Lord 
Jesus Christ; yet they prospered in their iniquities, and 
would not believe that any evil should befal them. Thus 
the corrupted church is represented as saying in her heart, 
** I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." 
Therefore, it is said, ** that her plagues shall come in one 
day, — death, and mourning, and famine," or an utter failure 
in all her hopes, — a destitution of every comfort: "and she 
shall be utterly burnt with fire; for strong is the Lord who 
judgeth her." Although these judgments are denounced 
against the great body of corrupted christians, yet they are 
rather individual than national. They will, no doubt, ope- 
rate more grievously in some nations than in others, in pro- 
portion as Christianity is corrupted among them, and as the 
true gospel is despised and hated; and therefore they will 
have their most terrible operation in the church of Rome, 
in the Roman empire, and especially in that country, and 



^62 DISSERTATION ON 

in that cit}', where all this corruption originated: but as 
tliose churches, and those individual christian?, whose wor- 
ship and whose principles are not corrupted, shall escape 
them; so they must operate on individuals, so as to afflict 
the corrupted portion of every community, in inind, body, 
and outward circumstances. Jn this way, every part of 
Christendom shall suffer, where there are any antichristian 
principles and practices. 

These curses shall come suddenly, and s!ui!l be all in 
operation at the same time. There is, indeed, a regular 
succession, in the pouring out of the vials. One angel goes 
after anotlier, and empties the contents of his boxs 1 on some 
particular object, and certain effects are produced imme- 
diately: but the succeeding angel does not wait until the 
effects of the former vial have ceased. We miiv, therefore, 
consider these judgments as coming in rapid succession, 
and that the last vial will be poured out, before the fust has 
ceased to operate. They shall come suddenly, not because 
of any thing in the judgments themselves, which could not 
be aniicipated; for their nature and operation are by no 
means obscurely pointed out; but because of the unbelief, 
the blinilness, and infatuation of mankind. '1 he words of 
the prophet Habakkuk, as quoted by the apostle, will then 
be fully realized. *' Behold, ye despisers, and \\ onder, and 
perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye 
shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." 

**The first angel went and poured out his vial upon the 
earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the 
men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them who 
worshipped his image." Here the earth is used as the em- 
blem of those characters, over whose hearts and habits, 
earthly or carnal principles and desires have obtained a 
confirmed and permanent influence. This vial was poured 
out on the land, as it is distinguished from the water; and 
the persons chiefly affected by it, have lived for a longtime 
under the influence of error, and in the indulgence of their 
lusts. Their habits are foi-med. They are, as it were, set- 
tled and grounded in sin. When men are advanced in 
years, their habits are generally fixed, and their character is 
formed. They have also acquired a certain degree of influ- 
ence in the community where they reside. Such men will 
always throw their weight into the scale of error, in prefer- 
ence to that of truth and rectitude. We shall always find 
this to be the case, when tlie temptation becomes strong 
enough, and when such a bait is held out, as is agreeable to 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION, ^265 

their prejinlii es and tlieir interests. Nothing but true re- 
ligion will iiiduce a man to act uprightly, and in all respects 
consistently. Hence those who are destitute of this princi- 
ple n»ay be led aside from the path of rectitude, by a certain 
kind of temptation. The tempter has his lures adapted to 
the natural propensities, and the weaknesses of all njen:and 
if they have not formed correct habits, both in thinking and 
acting, they will most certainly be led into the snare. 
Hence it is a truth, that all n\en, real christians excepted, 
will receive tiie mark of the beast in some fortn, whenever 
the temptation is strong enough, and of a suitable kind: for 
tiiey have n(tt the principle, which operated in tlie heart of 
the apoitle, when he exclaimed, '*• Yea doubtless, and I 
count all tilings but loss, &c., that I may win Christ, and be 
found in him,-' &c. The want of this piinciple makes them 
fit subjects for temptation; and they are always overcome by- 
it in the end. They may indeed hold out for a time against 
the arts of the adversary, but at last they will always yield. 
On these characters, from the highest to the lowest, the 
curses contained in the first vial shall tall. It shall not 
only be poured on those who have gone so far into iniquity, 
as to become the seducers of others; but on every one, over 
whom any sinful lust has obtained a permanent influence. 
It is in fact, the lust of gain, of power, or pleasure, or some 
such selfish desire; when not counteracted by a sense of 
duty, wliich leads men into religious errors, and induces 
them to follow the multitude in departing further and further 
from the truth. T'here are truly many of such characters 
who are not conscious of the operation of this evil principle. 
They are perfectly sincere as far as they know their -own 
hearts. But there are few comparatively, who exercise 
themselves sufficiently to know good and evil, so as to be 
able in all cases to distinguish truth from error, especially 
in matters of religion. Not that there is any more difficulty 
in knowing what we ought to believe concerning God, and 
what are the duties he requires of us, than in knowing our 
duties to our fellow men: but men generally are more indif- 
ferent on the former than on the latter subject; and thus 
many receive the mark of the beast before ihey are aware. 
They place themselves in circumstances, in which it becomes 
necessary for them, either to suil"^*r or sin; and having chosen 
the latter, they will plead this very necessity, to excuse or 
palliate their guilt. Small errors open the way for greater 
and greater deviations, uutil their habits become fixed, and 
their minds darkened; and then they prefer evil to good. 



^64 lilSSERTATiON ON 

and go on blindfolded to ruin. There are multitudes of such 
cliaracters at this time in the christian world, and every one 
ot them must receive a portion of tlie curse contained in this 
tirst vial. 

It is called '* a noisome and grievous sore." The emblem 
is taken from the swelling and spreading ulcers which brake 
out on the bodies of the Egyptians, when God sent his 
plagues on Pharaoh and his people. In this case, it is a 
spiritual sore: it operates not on the body, but the miiid. 
It consists in disappointment in their dearest and njost san- 
guine expectations, accontpanied with strong irritation, and 
all those fretful and rebellious feelings which worked in the 
hearts of Pharaoh and his servants; when, notwithstanding 
their pains, and the various and repeated calamities which 
fell upon them, they stiil refused to luimble themselves be- 
fore God. It is one of the curses denounced against the 
Israelites, and against the corrupted and rebellious christian 
churches, and which are particularly described in the xxviii. 
chapter of Deuteronomy. *' The Lord shall smite thee with 
the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, 
and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The Lord 
shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonish- 
ment of heart; and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind 
gropeth in the darkness,* and thou shalt not prosper in thy 
ways; and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled ever- 
more, and no man shall save thee." Not theoutward form, 
but the spirit and substance of the curses, which were de- 
nounced against the Israelites, are now to fall on the cor- 
rupted christian churches. They shall have the same suf- 
ferings, although they shall not come in the very same 
manner. '*Wo unto them," says the prophet Isaiah, " that 
join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no 
place; that they may be placed alone in the earth. In mine 
ears, said the Lord of hosts: of a truth, many houses shall 
be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. Yea, 
ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of 
an homer shall yield an ephah." If we consider the disap- 
pointment of a worldly minded man, when the fruits of his 
labors are blasted, and every new attempt to i^ain his object 
meets a new disappointt^eni; while his proud heart still re- 
fuses submission, and the ulcer in his mind is more and 
more irritated and iniiamed, thiy by day, we shall find no 
difficulty in understanding what is meant by this noisome 
and grievous sore. In fact, there are many at this moment 
groaning under its influence. For although the curse is not 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 265 



yet inflicted, in its most extensive and full meaning, but a 
jp-eparation is only making for it; yet there is enough of it 
in the world, to show us its nature, and the horrible effects 
it will produce, when once it becomes universal. It is plain 
that the haughty despots of the earth must even now feel 
their thrones tottering, and see the fabric of their power 
continually crumbling down. They cannot avoid looking' 
forward, and anticipating future evils, and the final prostra- 
tion of every hope. We know how such men must feel, 
when their grandeur and their glory are daily more and 
more eclipsed, and sinking into utter darkness. The same 
observations may be made, concerning the fabrics of super- 
stition which have been reared, from generation to genera- 
tion, and have frowned defiance on the feeble efforts of the 
witnesses in the times that are past. The forms and other 
inventions which men have introduced into the worship of 
God, and by which the adversary contrived to build up his 
kingdom, in opposition to the kingdom of the Redeemer, are 
evidently beginning to lose their infiuence. All these works 
of iniquity have already begun to moulder and fall, and the 
hopes of thousands and millions shall be covered and lost 
amidst their ruins. 

This sore shall fall, in some way, on every individual 
who has adopted wrong principles, and indulges false hopes. 
It is obvious, that whatever principles men have adopted, 
whatever habits they have formed, or whatever worship 
they practise, or whether they attend to any worship 
whatever, they have hopes of happiness in a future world. 
There are certainly less fears on this subject, and stronger 
false hopes, than there have been in the ages past. The 
doctrine of universal salvation has immense influence on tlie 
minds of men generally^ and if they do not rest entirely on 
this delusion, they have still some other wall built up, with 
the same kind of untempered mortar; and in these things 
they trust. But when this vial shall be fully poured out, 
all these refuges of lies shall failj and then, in this respect, 
as well as in respect of the things of the world, there will be 
horrible disappointment and despair. Hence the prophet 
Isaiah exclaims, when he beheld these things in vision: 
*« The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised 
the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devour- 
ing fire? Who among us shall dwell with the everlasting 
burnings?" Thus they shall conceive chaff, and bring forth 
stubble; their breath as fire shall devour them, and the 
people shall be as the burnings of lime. " All their vain 
23 



£66 



mSSBRTATlON OW 



hopes shall crnmblc into small pieces, and moulder into dust. 
It is particularly mentioned, that these sores are of such a 
nature that they cannot be healed. They will continue, 
therefore, to be more and more painful, and to be more 
and more irritated and inflamed, by every new dispen- 
Bation of God's wrath, from generation to generation, 
until the subjects of them shall be utterly destroyed 
from the earth. They are, therefore, particularly de- 
scribed, as in full operation, when the kings of the earth, 
and the merchants of ihe earth, and the great men, and the 
siupmasters, and sailors, &c. are weeping and wailing, and 
pOHring forth their lamentations over the fall of Babylon. 
We should still keep the truth in our minds, which, we trust, 
has been proved to the satisfaction of most of our readers, 
but which will always become plainer and plainer, by every 
new development of prophecy, that Babylon has extended 
he-r influence over the christian world, — '' that the nations 
have drunk of her wine, therefore the nations are mad. '^ 
The same worldly gains, wealth, honor, and power, and the 
same false hopes of future blessedness, which were genera- 
ted and cherished within the walls of Rome^ and extended 
through the ten kingdoms, are now held out to their vota- 
ries, by almost every party in the christian church. It is 
still something of this nature, by which they operate on the 
minds of men, and endeavor to attach them to their diffier- 
eat doctrines and forms of worship: but when this curse 
shall have produced its ultimate effects, they shall all be 
overwhelmed in disappointment and despair. 

It is plain that these feelings,, as they operate in the hearts 
of worldly men, or men of the earth, will weaken their at- 
taciiments to every kind of religion, and the world will be 
cast into a state of confusion and fluctuation. When men 
have lived under the influence of certain principles, until 
their habits are formed and established; and when, by some 
dispensation of Providence, their hopes are disappointed, 
and their minds revolutionized, there is, in the first place,, 
a great fermentation excited in the passions; and this tumul- 
tuous condition of their feelings continues for a time, and 
they Anally settle down into a state of indifference. W"e 
see this exemplified continually in the religious world. It 
appears to be the great object of the various religious sects, 
to gain a multitude of converts to tlieir particular doctrine* 
stmi modes of worship; and for this purpose, they use every 
art and contrivance of which their minds are capable: and 
thcig multitudes are daily converted to some kind of religion^ 



THE XYI. OF THE REVELATIOW. SOT 

Certain principles are adopted, and certain habits formed: 
But we frequently find them to be of very short continuance, 
and the subjects are much more indiiierent to religion than 
they were before. When they have passed through two or 
tiiree of these conversions, all their religious feelings are 
gone, and they settle down into a kind of apathy, from 
which they cannot be aroused^ by any thin^ but some tre- 
mendous judgment from the Almighty. This is the second 
vial of the wrath of God. We may see how tliis curse will 
operate, from the things that are now passing before our 
eyes. '* The second angel piwred out his vial upon the sea; 
and it became as the blood of a dead man, and e\^ry living 
soul died in the sea. " IMiere is at present a general relaxa- 
tion of those prejudices, which, in past ages, have rendered 
mankind fixed and stationary in their political and religious 
^opinions. That attachment to certain systems of policy and 
of religion, which used formerly to bind tliem together, has 
certainly lost much of its power in every part of the world- 
But the immediate results are not such as the philanthropi«jt 
would desire. When men are freed from the fetters and 
manacles of tyranny and superstition^ they are not imme- 
diately to be brought under the restraints of good govern- 
ment, either in temporal or spiritual things. There is gene- 
rally a periodoftu mult and anarchy, and when their passions 
subside, they become cold and careless, both with respect to 

Eolitics and religion, but especially the latter^ Such will 
e the case all over the world, before the full effects of this 
curse shall have been produced. The apostle beheld the 
troubled ocean, and the waves raging and foaming with their 
accustomed fury; but no sooner had this angel emptied the 
contents of his bowl into it, than the fluctuation immediately 
ceased, and the sea appeared like a mass of congealed or 
coagulated blood, such as the blocKl of a man or any animal, 
after it has been shed for some time, and suffered to cool, 
and thicken, and congeal. Then every thing that had life 
immediately died. — ^Let this representation be applied to 
the condition of the moral world, and no one will be at a loss 
for the true meaning. "We see, at this moment, that the 
fluctuation of religious opinions almost always terminates 
in religious indifference. What, then, must be tlie re- 
sults, when all those who worship the beast, and bear 
ids mark, shall break loose from their spiritual bondage? 
They will fluctuate and rage for a time, like the troubled 
ocean, and afterwards settle down into a cold hearted for- 
aiality, in which there is no spiritual ^niiuatioB^. and thus ail 



268 DISSERTATION OW 

their religious feelings will die. In fact, after all our revi- 
vals, and all that religious animation, which, in the past 
years, seemed to spread itself over the whole christian 
world, the greater part of our churches, at present, bears 
a striking resemblance to some of the ancient churches of 
Asia; — they are neither cold nor hot; — they have a name 
that they live, while they are dead. But this is the manner 
in which we may expect this vial to operate. Occasional 
fermentations will be continually excited through the reli- 
gious world, and at length all will settle down into a stag- 
nant state of religious apathy. 

But the pouring out of this vial is immediately followed 
by another, of still more fatal tendency. If the sea were 
turned into blood, and thereby unfitted for the support of 
animal life, still there are thousands of rivers and springs, 
which, if they were kept pure, would preserve some from 
perishing. The fish are not generally found in the midst of 
the ocean, but around the shores, and especially at the 
mouths of creeks and rivers. Thus many a living thing 
might still be preserved alive, and even the sea itself might 
at length be renovated, and brought back to its primitive 
condition. But " the third angel poured out his vial on the 
rivers and fountains of water, and they became blood. " By 
the rivers and fountains of water, we are to understand the 
ordinances of the gospel. They are called the river of the 
water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God and of 
the Lamb. The foregoing curse operates on the moral con- 
dition of a large number of mankind, and destroys all reli- 
gious vitality; but this curse destroys the means by which 
spiritual life might be generated and supported. As the 
fainting soul has often been restored by a draft of pure 
water, so access to the streams of the waters of life has re- 
stored many, who have morally fainted, and been ready to 
fall into errors or transgressions. But with respect to that 
class of mankind on whom this vial is poured, the streams of 
the water of life are also turned into blood. It n»ay be 
thought somewhat incongruous, to interpret the symbol of 
the sea, as if it meant a certain class of mankind, while that 
of therivers and fountains is supposed to mean the preaching 
of the gospel, and the means of salvation: but the word of 
God attaches these significations to these symbols, in various 
places; and there is, in fact, the same relation between the 
rivers and the sea, as between the principles and the charac- 
ters of men. As the fountains and streams, when their 
waters are gathered together, form seas, so certain religious 



THfi yLvi. OF tHE RE\r»fLAtibN. 269 

principles form certain kinds of character among men. 
Hence the meaning attached to both these symbols is per- 
fectly natural. There are^tvvo ways in which the effect is 
produced. In the first place, by false doctrines and wronv 
modes of worship. There are at present but few ministers, 
comparatively, who at all times preach the pure, unadultera- 
ted doctrines of gospel truth, and few churches in \vhich 
hutnan inventions do not absorb the attention and the utfec- 
tions of the worshippers. This corruption is gradually in- 
creasing, and the time is not far distant, when every church 
which is now but partially corrupted, and which still retains 
some oi^ the vital principles of the g^ospel, will lose them 
entirely, and become a mass of corruption: and in this sense, 
the rivers and fountains of water will be turned in'o blood. 
But in the second place, the same effects will be produced 
by a dislike of the true doctrines, and the modes of worship 
prescribed in the word of God. In this sense, the preaching 
of the true gospel, and the ordinances of God's own appoint- 
ment, are often the means of corrupting the hearts of men, 
that are already corrupted. '* They are the savour of death 
unto death," unto those who do not love the truth. In these 
two senses, the fountains and the streams of life are at this 
moment fast turning into blood; and the results are now, in 
some degree, produced, which were foretold by the apostle. 
*' The time," says he, ^* will come, when they will not endure 
sound doctrine; but after their own lust, shall they heap to 
themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn 
away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fa- 
bles." This declaration of the apostle gives such an accu- 
rate and striking description of the christian world at t'^e 
present day, as must astonish every one who has e; > gh «>f 
discernment to be able to see the correctness of it. In fact, 
if men had sat for their portrait, it could not have been bet- 
ter drawn. This prurient desire after novelty and entei- 
tainment, in the worship of God, renders the old and esta- 
blished modes of worsliip, and the sound doctrines which 
delighted die ears and the hearts of the true worshippers of 
God in former times, so old fashioned, so stale, afid doll, 
and dry, that they can scarcely be endured. Theie is al-;o 
an inveterate dislike to some of the essentia' truths of the 
gospel; such as the doctrine of absohite, unconditional elec- 
tion, and the sovereign grace of God. The.-;e, and otlier 
essential truths, which are the vital springs of christianitr, 
multitudes Ccinnot bear, but turn away their ear-, fromthem; 
and, therefore, the tessiiers which they heap to theinacives, 
■ /^3* 



270 DISSERTATION ON 

must invent some fables to supply their place. Some vain 
contrivances must be formed, to gratify their itching ears, 
and lull them into security. Hence it is a fact, that whether 
they are hearing the truth, or hearing errors and falsehoods, " 
they are still drinking blood. They dislike the truth, and 
love error, and therefore •* they shall be filled with their 
own ways." 

They think it proper to attend, or at least they will not 
be restrained from attending, all kinds of worship, and all 
doctrines, whether true or false, under the pretence of 
♦' proving all things, and holding fast that which is good;" 
but they are too generally like the insect, that extracts the 
poison, when honey might have been obtained from the saine 
flower. False doctrines are congenial with their taste and 
inclination; and having this relish for what is wrong, and a 
dislike to the truth, they receive nothing but evil from ail 
their attendance on the ministrations of the gospel. No 
doubt there are many, who are in some degree convinced 
of the false taste and relish in religious things, which is now 
so prevalent in the christian world, who at the same time,. 
will not believe it to be so great an evil, as to come up tor 
this representation. They cannot, believe that hearing ; 
and countenancing errors and false worship, are as 
fitiil to the soul, as drinking blood would be fatal to human 
life. They suppose it to be a trivial error, which cannot 
possibly produce such horrible eifects. But those who in- 
dulge this opinion, know not the dangerous tendency of 
error, nor the importance of sound doctrine. This false 
taste in religion, which is so obvious in the age in which we 
live, is one of the greatest curses which God ever inflicted 
on the world; for when it has come to its full growth in the 
minds of men, they will be satisfied with nothing but poison 
instead of spiritual foodc and this they will always find, as 
lf)ng as they heap to themselves teachers after their own 
lust. If this prophecy were fulfilled in the sense in which 
some would understand it, that every country where the 
blood of the saintjj has been literally shed, will be deluged 
with the blo*)d of its inhabitants, even this would be but a 
small curse, in comparison with this spiritual drinking of 
blood. The former nway consist with the eternal salvation 
of many, who are thus cut off from the earth, but this spiritual 
d inking of blood, always terminates in spiritual death. 

But this judgment is perfectly consistent with the righte- 
ous government of God. It is a punisiiment for the pain 
thcv have inflicted on his wiine^f^es. Those who persecuted 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 271 

the saints of God, and literally shed their blood in the times 
that are past, did not see what terrible judgments they were 
heaping up, to fall on the heads of their posterity in the lat- 
ter (\dys; and those who have been guilty, in a spiritual 
sense, of slaying the witnesses, did not foresee the horrible 
judgments which awaited them and their descendents. 
Some of the ancient persecutors discovered their guilt be- 
fore they departed from this world, and were afflicted with 
all the pains of remorse, and all the fearful forebodings of 
future misery; while others of them lived and died incigno- 
rance of their guilt, and were only waked from their lethargy 
by the flames of tophet: and therefore we may expect that 
the same results will take place in the present time. But 
the sin of spiritually slaying the witnesses, and the spiritual 
drinking of blood in the ordinances of the gospel, are not 
very easily discovered. These are works of iniquity, of 
which those who are guilty, may live and die in ignofajice, 
and therefore the same evil dispositions will continue and 
wor.k undiscovered, until the curse shall be exhausted. 
" They shall wring out the bitter dregs of the cup of God's 
wrath, and shall drink them." 

The righteousness of this dispensation is best understood, 
and can best be explained, by those M'hora God has sent to 
supply the world with the waters of life, but whom they have 
despised and hated. Hence, says the apostle, *• I heard the 
angel of the waters say, I'hou art righteous, O Lord, which 
art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus: 
for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and 
thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." 
It is well known, that the ancient mythologists attributed 
the g'lardianship of certain fountains,and celebrated streams 
of water, to their inferior divinities: but we cannot suppose 
that this emblem is taken from any of these fabulous narra- 
tives. The word angel, as used in the scripture, carries 
with it a much more extensive signitication than the sense, 
in which we commonly use it. In the Old Testament times, 
every messenger was called an angel. Hence it is said 
concerning John the Baptist, Behold, I will send my angel 
(or messenger) before my face. So also we know from the 
Jewish writeis, that the person who had the charge of the 
holy books, and other affairs of the synagogue, which were 
necessary for the right conducting of the worship of God, 
was called the angel of the synagogue. It is also in the 
highe^t degree probable, that the title of angel of the waters, 
was given particularly to the person who had the charge, or 



272 DISSERTATION OJ* 

the chief care of the waters of the temple. A large s'jppl v 
of water was constantly needed for the sacrifices, and ihe 
various ablutio!JS of the p:i;'sts, and for o^hei purposes. 
There must therefore ha\e been a certain officer among the 
priests or Levites, who had the charge of these waters, and 
whose duty it was to see that the tentp'e was regularly sup- 
plied. This was the a^igel of t e waters, ami is intended to 
represent the ministers of the gospel, who have th^^ charge 
of the waters of life, by which the church, or the New Tes- 
tament temple, is supplied. The ministers of he gospel, 
who distribute these living waters, know best the manner 
in which they have been treated by mankind It is an un- 
questionable fact, which has existed in the world in all asjes, 
and to which testimony is borne by our Lord J<'sus Christ 
himself, that those prophets, and ministers of God, who have 
proclaimed his word in the most up;ight manner, preached 
the purest gospel truths, and were ;he most diiiw;ent in their 
dut\, have always been the greatest sufferers, from the evil 
dispositions, and the malignant opposition nf those to whom 
they were sent. Thus the Jews builded the tombs of the 
prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of those righteous 
men, whom their fathers had persecuted and put to death; 
and at the same time, they were doing the very works of 
their fathers, in hating; and opposing the Redeemer, and all 
who had the spirit of the prophets. This same evil disposi- 
tion is by no means changed. This self same spirit still 
operates every where through the christian world, as it 
operated among the Jews. Although the sword of persecu- 
tion has for some years been sheathed, at least in protestant 
countries, and the true witnesses are not, literally put to 
death. The faggots and the flames, the rack and the gibbet, 
are not held up m terror before them; yet there are many 
other ways of shedding their blood, than that oJ.f«i king away 
their lives by the hand of the public executioner. The 
world still continues to give them all the pain in their pow- 
er. Even at this very period of universal charity, the man 
who preaches the truth, and, like the prophet, lifts up his 
voice like a trumpet, and shows the house of Israel their 
sins, must suffer many martyrdoms in the course of a short 
life. None knows this truth so well as those that have the 
experience of it, and they are always prepared to justify the 
ways of God in his terrible judgments; becau^ they know 
and feel the poisoned arrows of persecution. They know- 
that this same judgment, of giving men blood to drink is not 
more than they deserve; because they have shed, and are 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 2f 3 

still engasred in shedding, the blood of the saints and pro- 
phets of God. 

This declaration, of the angel of the waters, was answer- 
ed, and the truth of it avouched, by another voice, speaking 
from the altar. "And I heard another out of altar, say. 
Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy 
judgments." We shall see the meaning of this latter ex- 
clamation, by recurring to the sixth chapter, where the 
apostle tells us, that '* when the Lamb had opened the fifth 
seal, he saw under the altar, the souls of them that were 
slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which thej 
held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying. How long, 
O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our 
blood, on them that dwell on the earth?" This is the voice 
of those, who have formerly suffered for the truth, uniting 
with the true ministers of the gospel, who are now living on 
tlie earth. The testimony of the saints and prophets, whose 
blood has been shed, is here given from the altar in confir- 
mation of the truth, pi oclaimed by the angel of the waters. 
It is true, from the testimony of the faithful ministers of the 
gospel in the present time, and from the testimony of those, 
who have suffered for the truth in ancient times, that those 
characters, to whom the stJ-eams of the waters of life are 
turned into blood, have really and truly, though perhaps not 
literally, shed the blood of the saints and prophets of God. 
It is indeed very probable, that they themselves have no 
knowledge of the fact, and do not believe that they are 
guilty of it. So the Jews did not know nor believe, that 
when they were crucifying Jesus of Nazareth, they were 
shedding the blood of the Son of God. The persecutors in 
ancient times, did not know nor believe, that they were 
shedding the blood of saints and prophets. Hence in the 
present time, it is not to be supposed, that they understand 
or realize the truth, that the dislike and hatred, which they 
indulge and manifest against many of the true servants of 
God, the injurious manner in which they treat them, and the 
mental pain which they inflict on them day by day, is the 
very same as the shedding of their blood. They who are 
thus treated, know the fact from experience, and that the 
word of God is confirmed in their sufferings; but their per' 
secutors say, we offend not. They do not know nor consi-* 
der the evil of their doings; and many of them will, no doubt, 
continue ignorant of their guilt, until they shall be arraigned, 
at the bar of God, and their sentence announced, *' Depart, 
ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and 



274 DISSERTATION ON 

his angels: for I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was 
thirsty, and ye gave me no drink, &c. For inasmuch as ye 
did it not unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye 
did ii not to me." 

But although the truth and righteousnessof the judgments 
of God, may now fully appear to all mankind; yet the minds 
of all his true servants will be gradually enlightened, and 
enabled to understand them. The true nature of this curse, 
which is at thistirne very imperfectly understood by any, will 
be made clear to our minds in the dispensations of Provi- 
dence, and by the light which, in these dispensations, will 
be cast on his word. In this exposition, imperfect as it is, 
there is an opening made for the further discovery of the 
truth; and thus, in proportion as we are enabled to under- 
stand the nature of this judgment, and the causes and means 
of it, we shall be the better enabled to fulfil the prophecy, 
by expounding the truth, that men have shed, and are now 
shedding, the blood of saints and prophets; that God is giv- 
ing them blood to drink; and that all his judgments are true 
and righteous. 

In the next curse, or plague, we are called to behold a 
scene of political contentions, heats and animosities, arising 
from those who hold the reins of government. The fourth 
angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was giv- 
en unto him to scorch men with fire; and men were scorch- 
ed with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which 
hath power over these plagues; and they repented not to 
give him glory." The sun is here used as the emblem of 
every government in the christian world; for it is enlighten- 
ed, and its movements are directed around one great moral 
centre. Although, in respect of politics, there are different 
kinds of governments in Europe and America, and in re- 
spect of religion, they have difterent views of its doctrines, 
different kinds of worship, and different kinds of govern- 
ments established in their churches; yet they are all the parts 
of one great moral system. The same moral sun rules and 
enlightens them all. Both the continents of America are 
now peopled, chiefly, with the descendants of those who 
persecuted the true servants of God, or of those who suffer- 
ed persecution in the cause of truth. Since, therefore, we 
are descended from them, and still partake of their spirit, 
we shall also partake in the curses and the blessings which 
shall be poured on the christian world. The contents of 
this vial seem to have acted on the sun, like oil, or ardent 
spirits, or some inflammatory liquid, when poured into ^ 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 275 

flaming fire. The flames are immediately increased; a 
scorching heat is thrown out on all sides; and all who are 
near it are pained and tormented with the burning irradia- 
tions. Diff*erent systems of government act in different 
ways, and produce different effects on the feelings and moral 
habits of the nations under their influence. If we lived in 
any of the countries of Europe, we should be able to se« 
clearly, at this moment, the train laid tor some political con- 
flagration, and to know something about the kind of heat 
which will scorch and torment the inliabitants. In the land 
in which we live, these things may also be ver}' easily seen. 
Political fermentations are frequent among us. They ope- 
rate occasionally in every government, where there is any 
latitude allowed to thethouglits and sentiments of the inha- 
bitants: and hence they are inseparable from the nature of 
our government, and cannot be avoided, unless we possessed 
a much greater share of intelligence and virtue, than has 
ever been found among large political bodies. These fer- 
mentations, which have sometimes risen to a dangerous 
height, have as yet been happily quashed, by the good sense 
and virtue of the nation. But we have no reason to hope 
that this state of things will always continue. On the con- 
trary, we see corruption growing and increasing, in every 
part of the land, and in every department of the government. 
It is ail in vain to hope, even if there were no prophecies 
on this subject, that this corruption should continue to grow, 
and the nation still enjoy the blessings of peace. If our 
minds are not blinded by some fatal delusion, we cannot 
avoid foreseeing, and that at no very distant period, a state 
of political contentions, and scorching heats of this nature; 
which, if it does not terminate in a civil war, and the over- 
turning of the government, will at least make the lives of 
many a scene of bitterness and wo. 

The troubles and calamities with which we are exercised in 
this world, are calculated to humble us, and produce a spirit 
of submission to the righteous government of God. We must 
all know, if we only reflect for a moment, that in the most 
painful of our troubles, God afflicts us less than our iniqui- 
ties deserve: but those who are not acquainted with the evil 
and provoking nature of their sins, and the perfect righteous- 
ness of the divine character, are apt to indulge, in their 
afflictions, a rebellious disposition against the government 
of the Almighty. They think themselves hardly treated; 
they feel bitter resentments; and sometimes their evil dis- 
positions are manifested in blasphemous expressions against 



sre 



DISSERTATION ON 



the author of their miseries. We may see this spirit, which 
is natural to man, fulij developed in the history of the Is- 
raelites, while they were travellino; through the wilderntss 
of Sinai. In their passage throuj>h that state of trial, which 
was necessary to prepare them for the enjoyment of the 
land of Canaan, we behold an almost constant scene of 
murmuring and provocation. They spake ao;ainst iVJoses, 
and against God, whenever they fell into any kind of trou- 
ble. Hence we are here informed, that under the operation 
of this plague, when men shall be scorched with great heat, 
and shall feel their pains with the same acuteness as one 
who is placed near a burning furnace, and has no way of 
escaping, their hearts shall burn with lage against the Al- 
mighty. They shall not consider their sins as the cause of 
their torment; and of course, they slia^l not muurn over them 
with the sorrows of repentance; but, like Pharaoh, they shall 
harden their hearts, and refuse to humble them;:elves under 
the hand of God. Thus the Jews, before Jerusalem was de- 
stroyed by the Romans, were inflamed with lage against 
one another, and were so scorched with contentions and 
animosities, that they became their own worst tormentors. 
The clashing of interests among ambitious leaders, and the 
hatred of one party against another, which showed itself by 
acts of the most malignant cruelty, rendered the condition 
of the nation almost as miserable as it was after they had 
fallen under the Roman power. These same evils must 
pass over the christian world, and every nation must receive 
its portion of the bitter cup, according to the previous ope- 
ration of the principle of iniquity among them. This plague 
will inflame, and scorch, and burn them, in proportion to 
the nature and aggravation of their national sins, and espe- 
cially according to the prevalence of antichristian principles. 
But the worst evils which appear in this representation, 
are the want of repentance, and the positive crime of blas- 
phemy. The apostle beheld the men of the earth, scorched 
and burning under the heat of the sun, as if they were sur- 
rounded by a flaming Are; and yet no penitential cries are 
heard, — no tears of godly sorrow are seen to flow; but the 
ears are stunned, — every sense is annoyed, and the scene 
rendered doubly horrid and disgusting;, by the voice of 
blasphemy against Him who alone has power to lessen or 
to increase those territ)le plagues. Is this picture unnatural? 
Is it impossible, that in this enlightetl and christianized age, 
the mass of the world should be tainted with this horrible 
depravity, and that it should afterwards appear in these 



THE XVT. Oy THE REVELATION, 277 

(iisj^astin^ scenes? It is, in fact, perfectly natural, and 
perfectly consistent with the providence of God, that such 
scenes should be reacted, in these latter days, over the 
wliole christian world. Some judgments of this nature must 
be inflicted, before the inhabitants of the earth will learn 
righteousness. But let us remember that the picture was 
drawn by the pencil of Jehovah; that it was set, by him, be- 
fore the eyes of the apostle, and that he presents it to us, as 
it appeared to himself. We are not, indeed, warranted to 
assert, that every city and every nation in Christendom will 
exhibit such a scene of misery and depravity, as the city of 
Jerusalem, and the nation of the Jews, at that period, when 
they were about to be destroyed, and their country to be - 
come a desolation. We are told by the Redeemer, that 
those scenes of tribulation should never again be equalled, 
in any part of the world, as they never had been equalled 
before: but something of the same kind shall be realized 
generally over the christian w<irld, before the antichristian 
power, which is every where established, shall be brought to 
desolation. 

The fifth curse brings a condition of mental blindness, 
and deep depravity, at which the heart is appalled, and the 
frame shudders. We may observe, that each of these plagues 
becomes more terrible and alarming, as they pass before us 
in succession. What, then, must be the condition of the 
world, when they shall be all operating together.*^ When 
they shall all be fully realized, they will no doubt present a 
lively representation of the horrors of the damned. After 
these scenes shall be fully realized, there will be no need 
to seek arguments against the doctrine of universal salva- 
tion. They are intended to show what the wicked are to 
expect in a future world. This subject will then be made 
so plain, that no man shall doubt of the eternal punishment 
of all the enemies of God: but at this period, men will be sd 
far gone in wickedness, and their hearts so grievously hard- 
ened, that even the fears of hell will not induce them to 
repent. *' The fifth ancel poured out his vial on the seat of 
the beast, and his kingdom was full of darkness; and thev 
gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of 
heaven, because of their pains and of their sores, and re- 
pented not of their deeds." We may observe, that the 
word which is rendered the seat of the beast, has no 
reference to any particular local situation. It is properly 
the throne of the beast, and refers more particularly to that 
part of the moral world, where he has the irreatest degree of 
24 o 6 



^rS PISS8RTATIOK OX 

authority. The throne' is a symbol of government, and 
signifies the chief seat of the beast's power. He has his 
throne in the church of Rome, and in every other church, 
where antichristian worship is practised. His government 
18 not bounded by the limits of states of territories, of 
i&lands or continents; but by the influence which he extend* 
over the human heart. In this respect, as well as in many 
others, he has imitated the Lord Jesus Christ; for he has 
set up his kingdom in the hearts of his subjects. He has 
e&^tablished his throne, where any kind of false worship, or 
human invention, has obtained any establishment among 
any class of worshippers. The kingdom of the beast is, 
therefore co-extensive with his authority: "^ for he sits in 
the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." He 
is not content with the dominion of one portion of the earthy 
but has established his authority in every country where 
Christianity is known. But in this symbolic representation, 
the apostle beheld the tin one, and the kingdom of the beast, 
spread out before him, as the different countries on the face 
of the earth would appear to one who was elevated far above 
them^ in the clouds, or in the heavens. He saw the sub- 
jects of the beast assembled around his throne; and imme- 
diately when this vial was poured out, the throne was cover- 
ed with darkness, which expanded itself in all directionSj 
until all the dominions of the beast, as well as his throne^ 
were covered with a dense and dark cloud. He could per- 
ceive, through the thick gloom, that the subjects of the beast 
were miserable beyond description,, and were gnawing their 
tongues from the pain which they felt. They had various 
|>dins and sores, besides the torment of the thick and black 
darkness, by which they were surrounded. The noisome 
and grievous ulcer, which was occasioned by the pouring out 
of the first vial, still continued, with increasing pain;- they 
w(*re scorched and burnt by the intiammatory sun; they had 
<'very thing to annoy and torment them, while they had no- 
light to enable them to change their condition. — One might 
siippose, that if misery had any power in itself to change 
tke heart, and to give an humble disposition to the sufferers,. 
the J might be humbled by a complication of miseries: 
bit instead of humility, we behold an increase of pride, re- 
heHion, and hardness" of heart. While they are gnawing 
their tongues for pain, they blaspheme the God of heaven, 
and do not repent of their deeds. 

As we have seen that there is a preparation made for the 
other plagues, and that we can have souie knowledge of their 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 279 

nature and operation, from the present condition of the 
■world; so amidst all the light of moral and natural science, 
which, in these latter days, has been diffused among man- 
kind, we may discern the symptoms of this religious dark- 
ness. It commences with an incapacity for spiritual dis- 
cernment. God has given us the faculty of conscience, or 
the moral sense, by which we are enabled to discern be- 
tween good and evil. By the cultivation and improvement 
of this faculty, we might be able to discern the slightest 
shade of moral darkness, which the god of this world might 
attempt to bring over our minds. We should know the 
spiritual meaning of God's holy law, and be able to perceive 
the least degree of any evil disposition, as soon as it was m- 
troduced to our minds. If, for instance, we were tempted 
to give any unjust or unnecessary pain to our neighbor, we 
should perceive at once, tliat thi« is a violation of the sixth 
precept of the law. Every wanton or lascivious thougtit 
would at once appear to be adtsltery* We should know and 
feel the commencement of idolatry, in every kind of wor- 
ship, for which God has not given us authority. Thus we 
should be enabled to guard our hearts effectually, from those 
fleshly lusts which war against the soul. The diligent culti- 
vation of the same principle, in our study of the scriptures, 
would guard us against false doctrines. We should have 
that unction of the Holy One, by which we should know aH 
things, or he able to discriminate, in every thing, between 
truth and error; so that no man would be able to lead us 
into any kind of evil. The apostle might then say to us, as 
he said to the primitive churches: *^ I have not written unto 
jou, because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, 
and that no lie is of the trutk." We might also see the na- 
ture of tlie kiiio;dom of Christ, the rules he has given for its 
government, the kind of worship he has prescribed, and all 
the doctrines of his trutli, as they are presented in his word. 
But it is very plaiii, tiiat in all these things, and many more 
which miglit be meiitioned, the christian world is at present 
^ery much in the dark, and the darkness is daily increasing. 
Tiaere is now, in fact, less knowledge of the spiritual mean- 
ingiof the scriptures, among christians, than there was in the 
time «f the Refoi niation. There seems, at that period, to 
have been ablaze of heavenly light, shed forth upon the 
church, by which she was illuminated for a time; but this 
light was gradually obscured in the moral clouds, which 
coatinued to increase, and to thicken and blacken around it, 
^m generation to geoeratioHo it is as astonisliing as it jfi 



280 



BISSERTATION Olf 



lamentable, to see men, in every department of life, con- 
stantly deviating from the path of rectitude, and yet appear- 
ing to be altogether unconscious of their errors. But the 
most glaring deficiency appears in their dark and contracted 
views of scripture truth. The multitude of religious cha- 
racters can see nothing in the scriptures but the outward 
literal sense; and when they attempt to enter into the spiri- 
tual or substantial meaning of any passage, their observa- 
tions are so wild, and so far distant from the truth, that they 
seem like persons walking in tlie dark recesses of a forest. 
When no track has been made before them, they wander 
from one labyrinth of perplexity to another, and never find 
the way to the truth. It may also be observed, that in 
those churches where the inventions of men are mingled 
with the ordinances of God, in his worship, there the under- 
standing is darkened more and more; the mind is attracted 
to the outward form, and the spiritual knowledge of the 
word of God is always diminished. 

But these evils may always be traced to some errors in 
the hearts of men. ** This people," says God, " errs in their 
heart, and they have not known my ways." " When they 
knew God, they did not glorify him as God, &c,, and there- 
fore they became vain in their imaginations, and their fool- 
ish heart was darkened." We are not, for a moment, to 
indulge the thought, that the word of God has any darkness 
in itself, or that there is any truth in it, which may not, in 
some degree, be known. It is, indeed, like the world in 
which we live, full of mysteries; and therefore, diligence and 
patient investigation are always required, in order to disco- 
ver the truth: but every honest and intelligent mind will be 
enabled to see a little way into every mystery in the word 
of God. Whenever men deviate from the true path, the error 
arises, not so much from a defect in their understandings, as 
from some wrong bias in their hearts. This is the source to 
which we may trace the almost endless diversities, in the 
opinions of men, with respect to the word of God. These 
different and contra<lictory sentiments have increased so 
greatly, in these latter days, that there are many who do not 
believe the scriptures have any definite meaning; but that 
everj man can find authority in them, for whatever religious 
opinions he may choose to adopt. Such a thought is an in- 
sult to the God of truth, who has given us his word, " to be 
a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path." Still we shall 
be obliged to adopt this blasphemous sentiment, or confess 
that the religious world is already much darkened, and that 



THE XVr. OF THE HEVELAtlOi^. J58 I 

the darkness proceeds from an unusual degree of depravitj'. 
TKe truth is, that the errors of former times, and new errors 
which have sprung up, from generation to generation, have 
all descended, like an overwhelming torrent, on our unhappj 
«ge5 and the stream of the waters of life is mingled with the 
flood, so that it cannot easily be discovered. The ultimat.e 
'4ir full effect of these moral and natural evils, is precisely 
the curse contained in this vial of the wrath of God. It is 
not the same as our present moral darkness, which gives no 
pain to any, but the man who observes and weeps over the 
etrors and vices oF his fellow men. The only characters 
who now stttFer, are those who sigh and cry for all the abomi- 
nations that are done m the midst of Jerusalem. Thos6 
wlio can laugh at the follies of mankind, find in this moral 
4arkness a source of amusement and gratification; and 
those who are deeply involved in it, experience no great de- 
gree of pain. But the time is coming, when this curse, like 
ihe Egyptian darkness, shall be felt. Whenever they shall 
l>e^in to understand and realize their condition, their horror 
mm torment shall commence. They shall then begin to be 
convinced, and the conviction shall increase by every new 
dispensation of Providence, that this judgment has fallen 
upon them, because they have hated the light; and that no- 
thing remains, but the fearful looking for of judgment and 
fiery indignation. 

This is no imaginary representation. These are not the 
wanton vagaries of the fancy, which sometimes paints hor- 
rors which never have existed, and never shall exist. This 
horrible condition of the human mind has often been expe- 
rienced, in this world, by those who have rejected the truth, 
Hence the exhortation of the Redeemer: ** Yet a little while 
is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest 
darkness come upon you." It is addressed to the whole 
christian world at this moment, in relation to the painful and 
,tiorrible darkness which is coining upon them. We have 
;the light of the gospel shining brilliantly ai-ound us; and th« 
gospel will not cease to shine, but will increase in splendor 
and glory, until the end of time. But when men will Rot 
come to the light, nor suffer it to shine into their hearts, they 
must still walk in darkness, and stumble and fall. Men do not 
now perceive their real condition, on accountof the multitude 
of false lights which are held up before them, by the god of 
this world; and therefore they continue to enjoy comfort, 
and are confident that God is among them, and that no evil 
9k^\ Qome upon them: but these false lighti will all finaily 

^4* • - -^ 



S82 DISSERTATION OH 

be extinguished, and then they shall feel their miserable 
condition. 

This condition of moral darkness is described in many 
places in the scriptures; but for an explanation of it, at pre- 
sent, we shall only call the attention of the reader to the lix. 
of Isaiah. The prophet commences this chapter by decla- 
ring a fact, which is invariably and permanently true, that 
the power of God is still sufficient, and still ready to save 
us; and that his ear is always attentive to those who call on 
him in truth. " Every one who calls on the name of the 
, Lord shall be saved." But when men keep their sins in 
their hearts, and cherish and indulge them, it is all in vain for 
them to ask salvation. Thay do not, in fact, ask for the 
salvation of the gospel, which substantially consists in deli- 
verance from sin. All such prayers are hypocritical; for they 
do not desire with their hearts, the things which they ask 
with their lips. These iniquities, which they still love and 
cherish in their heart.^, always interpose an effectual barrier 
between them and their Maker; so that he cannot look on 
them with any kind of approbation, nor attend to their peti- 
tions. When their hands are defiled with blood, and even 
with the blood of the saints and prophets, — when they keep 
the same disposition, and pursue the same course, from gene- 
ration to generation, — when their fingers are still stained 
with iniquity, their lips with falsehood, and their tongues 
with perverseness, — when they do not call on God in righ- 
teousness, nor give their judgment in truth,— when they 
trust in vanity, and speak lies, — when their feet run to evil, 
and hasten to shed innocent blood, — when their very plans 
and devices are full of iniquity, — they cannot know the way 
of peace. This was, no doubt, a true representation of the 
moral condition of the Israelites in the days of the prophet, 
and it is by no means an exaggerated picture of the moral 
condition of the christian world in the times in which we 
live. The results, therefore, must be such a miserable con- 
dition as is afterwards described. ** Judgment," says the 
prophet, **is tar from us, neither doth justice overtake us: 
we wait for lii^ht, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but 
we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, 
and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday 
as in the night, and are in desolate places as dead men. 
We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look 
for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far 
from us." 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 2^3 

This horrible condition is perfectly consistent with the 
enjoyment of christian privileges, and with a kind of com- 
fort, and even delight, in the worship of God. In the fore- 
going chapter of this prophecy, it is said, concerning those 
very characters who are here represented in this horrible 
condition: •* They seek me daily, and delight to know my 
ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not 
the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances 
of justice; they take delight in approaching to God." We 
should still bear in mind, that these descriptions are not in- 
tended merely for the Jews, in the days of the prophet, nor 
in the days of the Redeemer; but they are also intended as 
an accurate description of the christian world, in that period 
when God pours out the vials of his wrath. It will not, in- 
deed, require very close observation, to perceive that this is 
an accurate description of the christian church in our own 
times. They appear, in their worship, and in all their devo- 
tions, as if they had not forsaken the ordinances of God. 
They seem to ask his direction in all their ways; but at the 
same time, it is no less obvious, that " their heart is going 
after their covetousneSs." 

But the period is not far distant, when all who worship 
the beast, and receive his mark, or who, in any way, are 
actuated by the principle which leads men to sell the truth 
for worldly gain, shall be covered with the same horrible 
darkness which is here described by the prophet. Their con- 
dition will be worse than that of the Israelites in the days 
of Isaiah, because they sin against a greater degree of light. 
Hence, while they grope for the wall like the blind, and 
when they stumble at noonday as in the night, their groping 
and stumbling, their disappointments, their pains and sores, 
80 far from humbling their hearts, will only lead them into 
greater degrees of rebellion; even to blasphenie the name of 
God, and not to repent of their deeds. 

The sixth cup of the divine indignation, and the last of 
which the effects are particularly described, is perhaps the 
most interesting of all; for it brings into view one of the 
most terrible judgments which have ever been inflicted on 
mankind, and shows us the means by which God will bring 
it to pass. *' The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the 
great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, 
that the w&y of the kin^s of the east might be prepared." 
In the consideration of this subject, we would exhort our 
readers to give up all their prejudices, in favor of local or 
private interpretations, and to divest their minds of all 



S84 DISSERTATION ON 

thoughts, that the countries bordering on the Euphrates, arc 
the parts of the earth, where this judgment is to be execut- 
ed. Such opinions, although held forth under respectable 
names, are plainly destitute of all foundation in truth. 
They are at best but improbable conjectures, and only serve 
to bewilder and perplex the mind; and therefore ought in 
the first place to be cast aside, as yielding no satisfaction. 
The whole book of the Revelation is symbolical. The vials 
are evidently symbolical representations of judgments, 
which shall fall on the dominions of the beast, in the latter 
days; and there is not the smallest reason to suppose, that 
this judgment, or any part of it, ought to be literally inter- 
pi-eted. Like the other vials, and all the other emblems 
contained in this book, it is neither more nor less than a 
parable, or an exhibition of things, which present important 
truths to the mind that has understanding. It is a stri- 
king illustration of the prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus 
Christ: *•! will open my mouth in parables; I v/ill utter 
things which have been kept secret from the foundation of 
the world." The reader therefore need not wonder, that 
the interj)retation of this parable has, until this time, been 
involved in obscurity. This is nothing but what ought to 
have been expected^ and the time is at hand when we have 
a right to hope for a satisfactory solution. The prophecies 
which have been hid in darkness since the beginning, must 
all be brought to light in these latter days. It is the time 
when that great volume of mysteries shall be unrolled, and 
the things contained in it shall be unfolded to public vieW) 
as God has declared it to his servants the prophets. 

The Euphrates is a well known and much celebrated 
river of Asia, which rises in the mountains of Armenia, and 
after pursuing a southern direction, for more than 1500 
miles, empties into the Persian Gulph. In ancient times it 
was considered of such importance, that in the Old Testa- 
ment, it is generally called the river; as if no other stream 
bat itself, was entitled to this appellation. It waters some 
of the finest and most fertile countries in the world; but 
their fertility is much increased and perhaps chiefly derived, 
from artifical canals cut through its banks, and numerous 
reservoirs, by which its waters are retained, and conveyed 
through the different countries in its vicinity. On this river 
rtood the ancient city of Babylon, which is said to have been 
divided into two equal parts, by the stream. The Euphra.- 
ies was the channel, by which wealth, population, and pow- 
er, constantly flowed into this celebrated metropolis.. The 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 285 

river was navigable, the country was fertilized by its waters, 
and the city of Babylon was the concentration of all its pro- 
ductions. This city was surrounded, and rendered almost 
impregnable, by an immense wall of S50 feet in height, and 
87 in breadth. It is supposed therefore, that Babylon 
could never have been taken by an enemy, had it not been 
for the entrance, which was made by the stream of the Eu- 
phrates. Cyrus, king of Persia, and Darius the Mede, the 
uncle of Cyrus, combined with other kings or potentates 
who came from the east; after having besieged the city for 
two years, found the means of entrance through the channel 
of the river. A canal was dug at some distance from, and 
at both ends of the city; the water of the river was thus 
drained from its proper bed, and the two divisions of the 
army, • who were posted at each end, marched along the 
channel, and met in the centre of the city. That was the 
night in which the hand writing on the wall, warned Bel- 
ghazzar of his approachinjj; fate: but inattentive to the di- 
vine admonition, and the faithful interpretation, and warn- 
ings of Daniel; the whole city, buried in drunkenness and 
debauchery, became an easy prey to the invading foe. Af- 
ter this period, Babylon never recovered her ancient splen- 
dor; her high walls at length mouldered into ruins; her 
population gradually diminished, until at length, she be- 
came a habitation for the birds of prey, ami the wild beast* 
of the desert. 

The ancient Babylon is intended to represent the modern 
and spiritual Babylon, the city of Rome, the church of 
Rome, and all other churches who follow her example, in 
setting aside the authority of God, and introducing their 
own inventions into his worship. The church of Rome is 
still to be considered as the metropolis of the christian 
churches. She still stands proudly eminent, as the centre 
of influence; and her example is in some degree, followed 
by all the other churches. It is all in vain for them to say» 
they have separated from her, while they still pursue the 
same evil practices, of seducing the world into error. They 
may indeed have renounced manyofthe errors of the Roman 
church; but they have retained many others, which are a» 
provoking in the eyes of God, as those which they have re- 
nounced. It is a most palpable deception, which the Pro- 
testant churches practise on themselves, when they suppose 
they have dissented from the errors of the church of Rome, 
merely because they are not visible in her communion; 
while at the same time, they teach false doctrines, practise 



^6 DISSERTATION ON 

false worship, and use all the arts of the mother of harlots, 
to seduce the world into spiritual fornication. It is in fact, 
a glaring truth, standing horribly conspicuous, like a ghastly 
spectre amidst the gloom; by which the churches are sur- 
rounded; thatalniost all of them are cities built oil the stream 
of the Euphrates; and that they grow wealthy, and powerful, 
and increase in numbers, by the vefy same means which dis- 
tinguished their ancient progenitor. They all have such a 
strong desire to make proselytes, and are so \ery little so- 
licitous about the means, which they use for this purpose, so 
as the end may be gained; that they generally run into the 
same arts of policy, and practise on the same principles of the 
Roman church. If they have cast aside some other inven- 
tions, they have supplied their place, by inventions of their 
own; or rather they have taken her inventions, and changed 
their form, calling them by different names, and, therefore, 
their separation from her is merely a name, without any 
reality. 

The Euphrates is the prominent figure in this representa- 
tion. The city of Babylon is not named: but there is no 
necessity for it; for the idea of the city is immediately con- 
nected with the name of the river, in the mind of every one 
who is conversant with these subjects. The meaning, 
therefore, of the symbolic Euphrates, will be learned from 
its connexion with the symbolic Babylon. As the true church 
of God is frequently represented under the emblem of a 
city, which is said to have a river running through the midst 
of it, — the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, pro- 
ceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb; so this city 
of Babylon has also her river, large and deep, extending its 
waters in all directions: but they are muddied waters, and 
proceed from the throne of the beast. All the true doc- 
trines of the gospel, and all worship which is acceptable to 
God, are sanctioned by his authority, and found in the 
scriptures of truth. In this sense, they flow from the throne 
of God and of the Lamb; and shall flow to the church, from 
the same source, in the eternal world. But this symbolical 
Euphrates flows from men, who have risen into pouer and 
influence in the churches, and whose inventions are received 
and followed, as if they had the authority of God. The hu- 
man mind is the source of all that is erroneous in the prin- 
ciples of religion, and the practice of worship; aid whera 
the authority of God is disregarded, and men for:n their 
principles and their practice from their own thoughts, or 
tiie thoughts of other men, they belong to this symbolical 



THE XVt, OV THE kSVBLArtOfif* 



487 



Babylon, and live by the stream of the symbolical Euphrates* 
Thus there are two sources of religious life. On the one 
hand, there is the river that flows from the throne of God 
and of the Lamb, and on the other, this Euphrates, which 
runs through this symbolical Babylon. We trust, this will 
not be considered an illusion of the fancy, by any who know 
what is meant by the pure river of the water of life; because 
aJl such characters must also know, that there is a false 
river, which appears to many to possess all the life-giving 
qualities of the other, but which brings spiritual death in all 
its streams. They know, that as the pure river of the water 
of life consists in those doctrines of religion, and in that 
kind of worship which God has authorized; so the river 
whose streams are poisoned, consists in doctrines and wor- 
ship invented by man. In the application of this similitude, 
to the present state of the christian church, it will appear 
most striking and appropriate. We may discern ten thou- 
sand streams of false doctrines and false worship, all pro- 
ceeding from the same source. Like the artificial canal!^, 
and various channels, which are used to convey the waters 
of the Euphiates to the countries in its vicinity; so the minds 
of men, fertile in inventions, have improved, one on the inven- 
tion of another; and all are adopted by different classes of 
professing christians: all tend to enrich the mystical Baby- 
lon, but not to honor the throne of God and ot the Lamb. 

It is not our intention, nor is it possible, within the nar- 
row limits of this little work, to particularize and point out 
even a small number of the human inventions, which swell 
this mighty stream, by which this mystical city is enriched 
and adorned, with all that is fascinating to the natural taste 
and carnal mind of man: but we are persuaded, that this in- 
terpretation of the symbol will not lose its force by atten- 
tion and diligent investigation. We know that we are all 
prone to indulge a foolish fondness for the offspring of out 
own brain, and that the interpretations of scripture, given 
by others, are sometimes passed over with a small degree of 
attention, and their weight and importance not duly appre- 
ciated, that we may contemplate and admire our own pro- 
ductions: but when we apply this symbol to false doctrines 
and false worship, and the various systems of false religion, 
every where through the christian church; and especially 
when we consider it as connected with this mystical Baby- 
lon, we cannot help thinking, that the force of it will appear 
stronger and stronger, to every one who gives it a due share 
of attention. Every false doctrine is as much an iuvei^tioM 



t88 DISSERTATIOK ON 

of man, as the forms of worship which God has not author- 
ized. There are inventions in doctrine, inventions in wor- 
ship, and inventions in the government of the church. In 
all these things, the great body of professing christians have 
departed fr©m the river of the water of life, and have chosen 
a stream which is more pleasing to their natural taste and 
carnal appetite. If these things are not intended by the 
river Eu|)lirates, it will be hard to find the true meaning of 
the symbol. 

But when this vial was poured on the river Euphrates, the 
water of it was dried, that a way might be prepared for the 
kings of the east. This symbol is evidently taken from the 
capture of Babylon, by Cyrus and Darius, who were literally 
the kings of the east, before whom the literal Euphrates was 
dried up, that they might enter and destroy the literal Ba- 
bylon. Hence this symbol represents a dispensation of 
Providence, by which these symbolical streams will be dried. 
This is an effect, similar to that which was produced on the 
rites and ceremonies of the Jewish church, after our Lord 
Jesus Christ was crucified. These streams shall be dried, 
in a sense similar to that in which the sacrifice and oblation 
ceased at that period. They did not then cease to offer the 
sacrifices. They attended to all the forms of their worship, 
as they had done before. In these respects, the cutting off 
of the Messiah made no apparent difference. But in the 
course of a few years, a sensible change was produced. The 
ancient rites and ceremonies gradually lost their influence. 
This is manifest from the fact of their being discontinued: 
for if they had found the same beneficial effects from them, 
and if the same desires after them had continued in their 
hearts, they would not hare been prevented entirely from 
offering sacrifices, by the destruction of the temple. Thej 
would have attended to them, in the best manner in their 
power, in hopes of obtaining the divine blessing. They had 
a great degree of confidence in that form of worship? and 
their sacrifices and oblations were a strong hold, to which 
they retired for protection against every evil. They be- 
lieved that as long as these ordinances were regularly per- 
formed, there was little danger to be apprehended from an 
invading enemy. If, indeed, they had attended to those 
institutions according to God's commandments, and in the 
«pirit of obedience, tliey should have had no reason to re- 
pent of their confidence, as long as those ordinances were 
valid; but after Christ was crucified, they ceased to be a di- 
Tine institution; they had no longer any validity; they ceased 



i 



THE 3Cln. 0P» THR ^aVBLATION* 3^ 

to be a means of protection from evil, or to have any benefi- 
cial influence. The human inventions which are now pi*ae- 
tised in the worship of God, never had any divine warrant; 
and therefore they cannot cease in this sense: but they 
have, notwithstanding, a powerful influence, in keeping the 
sense of religion on the mind. Perhaps there is no class of 
worshippers, so much devoted to religion, and so attentive 
to every rite and ceremony of their worship, as the zealous 
votaries of the church of Rome; and, in fact, all other sects, 
who have departed from the plain and simple forms of wor- 
ship which God has appointed, seem to be the more zealously 
attached to their own ways, in proportion as they are re- 
moved from the truth. It is a most discouraging considera- 
tion, to every minister of the gospel, who preaches the truth 
with simplicity and godly sincerity, to find, that some empty 
and trifling form, or something that operates on the feelings 
and prejudices of mankind, without having the smallest in- 
fluence on their understanding, has more power over the 
human mind generally, than the strongest and most conclu- 
sive arguments. Hence the deceivers of mankind have laid 
hold of this principle, to lead the world into error; and hu- 
man inventions have been multiplied, in proportion as they 
found them eflfectual for the promotion of their purposes. 
But as every thing of this nature may be overdone, and the 
power of it destroyed, by too frequent use; so these methods 
have, in fact, begun to lose their power. They have spent 
their force, and are even now beginning to decline. Inven 
tion itself has been exhausted, in contriving new doctrines 
and new forms; and as the religion of the world consists 
chiefly in the feelings produced by those artificial meairs, 
so those religious fervors are not only more difficult to be 
produced than formerly, but they sooner become cold and 
languid, for want of appropriate fuel. Hence the attach- 
ment to them gradually weakens and dies. This is the way 
in which the sixth vial will operate, to dry up the water oi 
the Euphrates. Every one that makes any observations on 
the religious world, must see that these effects will ulti- 
mately tdke place, and that there will soon be as much cold- 
ness and indift'erence towards all the forms of religion, an i 
all the different doctrines which distinguish one sect from 
another, as there have been heat and exertion for the propa- 
gation of those forms and sentiments. A preparation is 
therefore now making for the sixth vial, as well as for the 
others. In this sense, the sacrifice and the oblation have 
25 



^90 DISSERTATION OW 

air(5adj begun to cease; and, for the overspreading of abo*- 
n<*'»ationy desolations are determined. 

The kings of the east are the emblem of a power, or a 
Buo^ber of operating powers, that now exist in the world, 
and are preparing their forces to overtttrn this mystical 
Babylon. Darius and Cyrus were the servants of God, be- 
cause they were sent by him to execute judgment on the 
literal Babylon; although they did not know the true God, 
nor worship him. They were like many characters in the 
present time, who have a great respect for religion, and an 
abhorrence of hypocrisy, and the arts of dissimulation, by 
which religion is attempted to be propagated. They there- 
fore exert themselves to destroy the influence of what they 
know to be false, and injurious to the best interests of soci- 
ety. There are many such characters now rising up in the 
world. Men of sense and discernment, whether they are 
religious characters or not, have generally begun to see, that 
the present reigning system is not calculated to be of a?iy 
real benefit to mankind. They know that it is full of fraud 
and hypocrisy, and therefore cannot be the course which 
God has chosen to propagate the truth, and to establish the 
kingdom of his Son. These are the kings of the east, and 
they are now combining their power, and arranging their 
forces, for entering the city. In this sense, Babylon has 
already begun to be besieged; and in no very long period, 
the obstruction to their entrance v/ill be removed, by the 
drying up of the water of this symbolical Euphi-ates. It is 
tme, there are many characters engaged in this work. Mho 
have no real love for true religion, and who, while they pro- 
fess to make war against superstition and hypocrisy, do, in 
fact, direct their efforts against Christianity itselft but this 
ii4 what ought to be expected, and is in full accordance with 
the symbol. The literal kings of the east, who destroyed 
the literal Babylon, had very little knowledge of true reli- 
j^ion, and the greater part of their armies had no knowledge 
of the subject whatever. It is very probable, they could 
not even distinguish the captive Israelites in BabyloJ», frofn 
the other inhabitants, but would have destroyed them ail, 
had they not been prevented: so we are not to expect that 
all these symbolical kings of the cast, nor their annies, are 
real friends of the gospel, or oi" the true church of Giul. 
lliere are many of them that have no love for true chris- 
tJKnity, uiid would destroy it from the eartli, if their counsels 
Slid places were foUowedi but Gud \n ill uiuke use of them to 



THE XVK. OF THE REVELATIOW. 291 

fulfil his purposes, and afterwards will punish them for their 
riiiquities. ** Ho, Assyrian," says God, " the rod of mine 
anger, and the staft' in their hand, is mine indignation. I 
v/ill send him against an hypocritical nation, and against 
the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the 
spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the 
mire in the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither 
doth his heart think so, &c. Wherefore it shall come to 
pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work, 
&c,, I will punish the stout heart of the king of Assyria, 
anil the glory of his high looks." The same principle that 
operated in the heart of the Assyrian king, is no doubt the 
ruling principle of many of these kings of the east; thetr 
great object is to promote their own glory, and not the glory 
cf God: but by means of them, he will execute judgment on 
Babylon, and then they must sufter for their own trans- 
gressions. There are, however, many ©f the real fri«n(k of 
truth, and of the best interest of mankind, who are either 
already engaged, or are about to engage in this warfare 
against Babylon; — men of knowledge and of principle, who 
have long felt and groaned under the influence of despotic 
power and religious intolerance; — men who have witnessed 
a good confession, have borne testimony for the truth, who 
have been slain in the sense of the prophecy, and are now- 
risen Irom the dead. In truth, all good men on the face of 
the earth, will sooner or later exert themselves, to put down 
and destroy this present system of iniquity, which, under 
the pretence of propagating Christianity, exalts the authority 
of man above the authority of God. These characters 
shall then receive their reward. They shall ascend to 
heaven in a -cloud, and their enemies shall behold them. 

But we are not to expect, that this victory will be gained, 
and this idolatrous city taken and destroyed, without a 
powerful struggle, en the paii; of the enemies of God. 
There will be every kind of opposition which can possibly 
be made, by the powers of darkness, with the exertions of 
all the friends of error and iniquity, throughout the chris- 
tian world, ** I saw," says the apostle, *• three unclean 
spirits like frogs, come out of the mouth of the dragon, and 
out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth oi* the 
false prophet. For they arc spirits of devils, working mira- 
cles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the 
whole world, to gather them to the battle of thatgi-eat day 
«f God Almighty," The phrase, ** working miracles^" 



20^ DISSERTATION OIT 

ought to have been rendered, ** doing wonders." Our trans- 
lators seein to have fixed their eyes too steadfastly on the 
church of Rome, and to have contracted their views to the 
miraculous works of that church, while they did not foresee, 
and of course paid no attention to, the wonder-working 
powers, which almost every other church professes to have 
received. Those who have grown old in the practice of 
iniquity, who have often rejected the gospel of Christ, and 
are wilfully ignorant of the very first principles of Chris- 
tianity, are now frequently converted in a few weeks, a 
few days, or perhaps in a few moments, and are pronounced 
hopeful christians, by these wonder-workers, compared with 
whom, even the apostles must sink into obscurity. In this 
sense, the age in which we live is really an age of miracles. 
There never was a time in which there were more wonder- 
ful works performed, for the propagation of error, than there 
are in our own times. We are not, therefore, to limit our 
views to the little miracles which the church of Rome has 
once performed, and is still endeavoring to perform, for the 
support of her declining power; but to Took around us at all 
the churches, and even at men who are enemies to every 
kind of Christianity, and we shall see that they are all 
•* doing wonders" in support of their various tenets. 

The dragon is the emblem of the ancient idolatrous Ro- 
man power, which set itself in open opposition to the gospel; 
and therefore the spirit of the dragon is that principle, which 
we find every where working in the hearts of multitudes, 
and especially in the rising generation, indisposing them 
for learning the doctrines of true religion, and for attending 
the true worship of God. There is such a spirit of liberty 
in young and old, that very few of them will bow their 
necks to receive the yoke of the Redeemer. It is truly a 
wonderful and astonishing fact, that amidst all the exertions 
made for propagating the gospel, and all the contrivances 
for the religious instruction of the rising generation, that 
the spirit of infidelity is still increasing in its influence. 
Hundreds and thousands of our youth are continually se- 
duced and ruined by the delusions which are every where 
circulated through the world. They see plainly, that the 
generality of religious professors have nothins: of religion, 
more than the outward form; they become disgusted with 
the appearance of religion under the garb of hypocrisy, and 
they transfer their dislike to Christianity under every form, 
Soiye are entangled for a time, by the religious enthusiasm 
which sometimes prevails in the place of their residence; 



^'A ave earned from one extreme to another, from heat to 
Cold, and from cold to heat, antil at last they become cool, 
<1e1iberate infidels* Thus, in ten thousand ways, the spirit 
t)F infidelity, or the spirit of the dragon, is workifig wonders 
among mankind, even in this christianized age. 

But the spirit of the beast is not less successful in his €t- 
«rtions to gain partisans to his cause. In this respect^ the 
Homan chufch is the least successful of all. Under the 
astonishment excited by some miracle, real or fictitious, a 
number may be induced to enter within her pale: but it is 
an indisputable fact, tliat the protestant 'churches are by far 
the most successful, as well as the most ingenious in gain- 
ing converts* If we limit the spirit of the beast to the 
church of Rome, we cannot see how this prophecy shali 
€ver be fulfilled; for it is utterly impossible for that intole- 
rant religion ever to become popular among mankind. 
The church of Rome can never give up her claims, 
to be the only true church on the earth, and the only one 
within whose pale salvation can be found; and the contrary 
sentiment is manifestly growing, aiid becoming more popular, 
from generation to generation* The rites and ceremonies of 
the Roman church are of such a nature, that they must gra- 
dually lose their influence, in proportion to the growth ©f 
the spirit of freedom. The world can never revert back te 
that state of moral and religious ignorance, in which that 
system of religion can regain its influence: consequently, if 
the spirit of the beast should be successful in making con- 
verts, he must assume another form than that of the papacy. 
This fact alone might be sufficient to prove that the beast is 
the emblem, not of the Roman church only, but of many of 
of the protestant churches, and even of those that are now 
the most successful in gaining converts to their party. In 
tliis age of the world, very few are converted to true Chris- 
tianity. If men have received the mark of the beast, and 
have lived for a length of time under the influence of false 
principles, it is not to be expected that many of them will 
ever return to the true path of godliness. The true con- 
verts can all stand upon a sea of glass, about SO cubits in 
drcumference, while the false worshippers cover the outer 
court of the temple* Still there are said to be multitudes of 
converts brought out from the world every day. If all the 
accounts of religious revivals, and of the spreading of the 
gospel, were real facts, we might be astonished that there 
are so many infidels around us, and be induced to think that 

25* 



g9i mSSEETATIOJf OS 

the place where wa live is worse than any other part of the 

world. 

The false prophet is the two horned beast, which the apos- 
tle saw rising out of the earth. He exercises all the power 
of the first beast in his presence. It is he that teaches 
mankind to worship the first beast, and to receive his mark. 
The spirit of the false prophet is therefore working wonders 
in the world, by covering falsehood with the robes of truth, 
and thus seducing men into error. He actuates many of 
the teachers of religion, at this moment, by inducing them 
to use unjustifiable methods of gaining converts to their 
cause, and of increasing the number of their particular sects. 
In this age of conversions, it is a disgrace to a minister of 
the gospel, not to be able to make many converts. It is full 
evidence that he is a bungler in his profession, and too dull 
to learn the arts necessary to render him useful in the church. 
In fact, the ait of making converts has become a mere me- 
chanical business; and although they prot^ss to depend on 
the operation of the spiiit of God, they act generally in a way 
which that spirit has never sanctioned, and will never ap- 
prove. We may set it down as an undoubted fact, that the 
spirit of the false prophet has much to do in almost all the 
religious excitements of the present age, and makes im- 
mensely more converts than the spirit of truth. 

These three spirits are now running to and fro, among 
the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather 
them, &c. In the amplitude of scripture meaning, a king 
is used to signify, not only the monarch, who sits on the 
throne; but all who are possessed of influence or authority 
in any community. The kings of the earth are those, who 
rule the minds of the men of the earth. They are the lead- 
ing characters in the nations, in the cities, in the villages, 
and in the country. God, in his wisdom, has not been very 
profuse of those talents, or gifts, which qualify men for 
government. He has scattered over the world, just as many 
of such characters, as are necessary to regulate and conduct 
the affairs of every community; and whether these men use 
their talents in doing good or evil, they will still be leaders 
in whatever place they may reside. It is therefore of great 
importance to the prince of darkness, that those characters 
should be induced to support his cause: for the mass of the 
community will always follow them into good or evil. He 
has, therefore, obtained permission in these latter days, to 
seduce them generally from their allegiance to the King of 



THE XVI. OF THE REVELATION. 295 

kings, that they may exert their influence in behalf of error. 
For this purpose he has sent among them these seducing 
spirits. These are not the characters, who are most likely 
to be deceived by the fictitious miracles of the church of 
Rome; and this is not the kind of miracles by which they 
are induced to exert their influence against the true gospel, 
or to throw their weight into the scale of error. These mira- 
cles, or rather wonders, consist in the amazing influence, 
which these seducing spirits exercise over their minds. It 
is a wonderful and astonishing fact, that scarcely any man 
rises to eminence and power in the world, without being 
seduced from the true principles and practice of godliness. 
This is the chief curse contained in this vial. By the se- 
duction of the leaders in society, or the men of influence 
and power, the true gospel always meets with powerful op- 
position, andean obtain little influence in the world. 

But there is a day coming, and that day is near, in which 
God will vindicate his injured honor, by some terrible judg- 
ments on those who yield to these leducin» spirits, and be- 
come hostile to his truth. Although " the kings of the earth 
set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against 
the Lord, and against his anointed, saying: Let us break 
their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us; yet 
he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall 
have them in derision. Then shall he speak to them in 
wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." This work 
of judgment is to be executed, at that period, when the hea- 
then shall be given to the Redeemer for his inheritance, and 
the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Then 
he will scourge those kings with a rod of iron, and as a pot- 
ter's vessel he will dash them to pieces. This great day 
will therefore be terribly fatal to those who have prospered 
in iniquity, and especially in their opposition to the truth. 

But before that day, he will generally expose their wick- 
edness to the eyes of the world. When the apostle beheld 
those three unclean spirits, going through among the kings 
of the earth, and doing wonders, inciting them to gather 
their armies to battle, against God and his anointed; he 
heard the voice of the Almighty, proclaiming: *♦ Behold, I 
come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth. 
his garments; lest he walk naked, and they see his shame*" 
The meaning of this interjection is determined from the 
place in which it stands. It is addressed to mankind in that 
particular period, in which these three unclean spirits are. 
collecting their armies, and about to march to battle. But 



^'& tolSSERTATlON bJT 

this battle is spiritual. It is truly and substantially a bat* 
tie; but it has not the outward form of two armies coming 
into collision in the field. It is not the clashing of arms, 
with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but a 
contest between light and darkness, between the great God of 
heaven, and those who endeavor to blot out his truth from 
the earth. Many are engaged in this warfare against heaven, 
who are altogether unconscious of any hostile feelings ta- 
wards the God that made them; and, in fact, there are 
many, who, in that day, will be considered the enemies of 
God, who now think themselves, and are thought by others, 
to be very diligent and successful in the propagation of the 
gospel. Although there are the greatest exertions, appa- 
rently, made for this purpose, yet the greater part of those 
exertions are calculated to prevent the influence of the true 
gospel, and to set up another kingdom in the room of the 
kingdom of Christ. In vain do men attempt to spread the 
gospel, while they believe doctrines inconsistent with the 
truth of that gospel, and while their worship is according to 
the commandments of men. Their works are worse than in 
vain; for they are really opposing the truth, and, under the 
garb of hypocrisy, are marching to battle against the Al- 
mighty. But he here declares that he will come suddenly, 
that he will strip them of their borrowed garments, and ex- 
pose them naked to the eyes of all, in their shameful princi- 
ples and practices. This figure is probably taken from a 
well known custom among the priests, who kept the watch 
of the temple. At every gate there was a sentinel, who stood 
an guard during the different watches. In every watch, 
the president, or commpanding officer, went round to every 
post; and if he found any of the guards asleep, he tore or 
burnt off his garments, and left him naked. A similar fate 
awaits every one whom God has placed as a sentinel at the 
gates of his temple, and who is found sleeping at his post. 
In this respect, every christian has his duty prescribed. 
The armies of the spirits of darkness are now on their 
march against the temple, and the holy city of God; and 
this admonition is addressed generally to mankind, to put 
them on their guard against the fatal influence of these se- 
ducing spirits. But it ought to have peculiar force on the 
minds of the ministers of the gospel, who professedly stand 
as sentinels around the temple of God. They are appointed 
as watchmen on the walls of the city, and especially to watch 
over the truth, that it may not be contaminated, or mingled 
wjth error; and that evil principles may not be suffered to 



THE XVI. OF THB REVELATION.* ^7 

cort'iipt the minds of men. But the address is made in such 
a manner, as to be applicable to every individual, to every 
professing christian, and every man: for the time of these 
last plagues is emphatically the hour, and the power of 
darkness. Those who support the truth, walk uprightly 
before God, and watchfully keep themselves from iniquity, 
must pass through a long scene of trouble and perplexity: 
while those who are not strictly and scrupulously conscien- 
tious^ but indulge in little sins, and deviate a little way from 
the path of duty, will be suft'ered to rest in peace, and to 
slumber at their post, until God comes to awaken them by 
some sudden judgment, and expose them in their shame to 
angels and men. This is not one of those public and conspi- 
cuous calamities, by which nations are sometimes afflicted; 
and of which the approach may be clearly seen: but it is a 
kind of calamity, of which the approach is silent and secret, 
and will not be observed by any, who blindfold their minds 
by the indulgence of any lust. * Evil men and seducers will 
grow worse and worsej they shall first be exposed in their 
iniquity, and then this calamity shall seize on them as a wild 
beast on his prey, and they shall not escape. The train is 
already laid for this terrible catastrophe, and may be seen by 
all who diligently observe the hand of God, in the dispensa- 
tions of his providence. He has already begun, in some 
degree, to expose the iniquities of mankind. The mantle 
of hypocrisy, by which many characters were able to con- 
ceal their vices, has already become so threadbare and thin, 
that it will no longer answer the purpose. Many works of 
darkness have been brought to light in this age, which have 
escaped the scrutiny of pas.t ages; and every succeeding 
year exhibits new scenes of wickedness, which have been 
carefully concealed from public view. It is obvious, that 
God has begun to bring to light the hidden works of dark- 
ness; and this process will continue, until hypocrisy shall be 
generally exposed, and mankind shall appear in their true 
colors to the eyes of one another. God gives us this intima- 
tion in this place, to prepare our minds for the terrible event 
which is to follow. "He gathered them together into a 
place, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon." 
Here we are presented with the emblem of a vast army, 
under the conduct of many leaders, even the kings of the 
earth, and of the whole world. Hence it must be obvious, 
that this is no literal battle, no literal army, nor local situa- 
tion. But these kings, and their armies, are all under the influ- 
eace of these three seducing spirits, and Armageddon is herd 



3SF8^ D1S8RRTAT10K 0» 

used as a symbol, to signify the end of their course of ini- 
cjuitj. This word has been rendered from the Hebrew, in 
different ways; but it is generally believed to be derived 
from the ancient iMegiddo. This appears to have been the 
name of a district of country, in the land of Canaan, water- 
ed by the river Kishon; as well as the name of a city in that 
district. It was celebrated for battles, for great destruction 
of the human family, and for great mourning and woful la- 
mentations. Here Josiah, the last of the wise and pious 
kings of Judiia, was slain; the last hope of the nation was 
cut off, and the land covered with a dark cloud of wo, 
which was not removed until the nation was almost wasted 
and destroyed, and the unhappy remnant carried captives 
into Babylon. The prophet Zechariah, speaking of the 
scenes of judgment in these latter days, and especially of 
this judgment, which comes, in the first place, as an intro- 
duction to the others, declares: In that day, there shall be 
a great mourning in Jerusalem; as the mourning of Hadad- 
rimmon, in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall 
mourn, every family apart, &c. By Jerusalem, we are to 
understand the christian church, and especially that part of 
it which is not totally corrupted. There is a kind of mourn- 
ing peculiar to true christians, when they are afflicted by 
tiie hand of God. It is not that ostentatious display of re- 
pentance, of which we have seen and heard so much in 
these times. It is private mourning before God, on account 
of some heavy calamities, with which they shall be afflicted; 
probably for the loss of friends and relatives, as well as for 
their own troubles and sins. When king Josiah was slain, 
together with a multitude of the Israelites, in the battle at 
Megiddo, there was a grievous mourning all over the land, 
and especially among those who saw the hand of God in the 
infliction of that calamity. Hence this mourning after the 
battle of Armageddon, will cover the whole christian world 
with weeping, lamentation, and wo. But the silence and 
secrecy of it, show that it will be, at least to many, the godly 
sottTow that worketh repentance unto salvation. 

The battle of Armageddon is not, therefore, what has 
been generally supposed among expositors of scripture. It 
is a series of calamities, probably of different kinds, which 
shall come on the world, evidently from the hand of God; 
and shall cut off multitudes of his enemies. The judgment 
shall fall chiefly on the wicked; but no man ought to indulge 
himself in security, trusting that he shall escape because he 
is rigjliteous: for wc ar« all commanded to watch, and b^ 



THB XVX. OF THB RKVELATIOIC. $99 

ware of having our hearts overcharged with the vices or the 
cares of the world, and that day should come upon us una- 
wares. It is not improbable that some of the true servants 
of God may fall in it, as Josiah, and no doubt, many of thu 
best characters in his army fell at Megiddo. 

But the seventh vial will show us more clearly the nature 
of this judgment. " The seventh angel poured his vial into 
the air: and there came a great voice from the temple of 
heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done." Some have 
supposed, that the pouring of this vial into the air, is tho 
emblem of some judgment on the kingdom of Satan; because 
he is called the prince of the power of the air. But we are 
to bear in mind, that all these vials denote plagues, or 
curses, which shall fall on mankind. If they should fall on 
the kingdom of Satan, they would be blessings, and not 
curses to man. Hence this interpretation cannot be correct. 
But the air is the means by which life is supported. The 
atmosphere which surrounds the earth is inhaled by all living 
creatures, by man, and all other animals. A pure and 
healthful atmosphere gives life and animation to all that 
breathe; while every kind of noxious effluvia produces dis- 
ease and death. It is plain, therefore, that this plague, or 
curse, which is here represented as poured into the air, from 
the vial of the angel, can mean nothing but the pestilence. 
This meaning is indeed so obvious, that one would suppose 
it could scarcely escape the eye of common observation. It 
is the natural, and almost necessary consequence of the 
judgments signified by the six foregoing vials, and might 
be anticipated, had it not been mentioned; for such wicked- 
ness as has been described, and as has been shown to be 
growing and increasing among mankind, can have no other 
result, than some sudden and exterminating judgment. In 
the early ages, when mankind had become incurable in wick- 
edness, they were swept from the earth by a flood of water: 
but God has determined that this curse shall never again be 
executed. We must, however, expect some terrible and 
exterminating judgment, after all this wickedness; and the 
pestilence is the only one of that kind which will answer to 
the desciiption. There are also many intimaticms in the 
Old Testament prophets, which point to something of th.is 
liaiure. V/e are told, that in all the land, or, as it might be 
reiidered, in all the earth, two parts therein shall be cut off' 
and die:* and that many houses shall be desolate, even^reat 

•Zech.xiik 8. 



i^ »fS«rEftTAt£0» oil 

and fair without inhabitant.* The pouring of this seventh 
vial into the air, may therefore be considered as an explana- 
tion of those prophecies. God has chosen to make the sub- 
ject so plain, that it will not be misunderstood by any, 
whose minds are enlightened in the knowledge of his word. 
Something of this nature might, indeed, be anticipated: 
therefore, the eftect is not described as in the other vials; 
but only a great voice is heard out of the temple from th« 
throne, saying, it is done. This expression shows some such 
judgment. It cannot mean a flood of water; for God has 
said that he will no more curse the earth with this plague: 
it cannot mean destruction by fire from heaven; for this is 
the curse by which he will cut off the wicked, previously to 
the last judgment: it must, therefore, mean some plague 
which is occasioned by the infection of the air. This voice 
out of the temple, from the throne, is the voice of God out 
of his church, proclaiming to the whole world, that the 
curses are executed, and that the vials of his wrath are in full 
operation. It is not meant by this voice, that all the effects 
of the. vials are accomplished, when the seventh is poured 
out; for, as they are the last plagues, they will continue in 
operation until all the wicked shall be destroyed: but the 
meaning is, that the whole cu?-ses signified by the seven 
vials, have then been inflicted, and are going on to the full 
accomplishment. Not one drop of the cup of God's indig- 
nation shall remain; but the very dregs shall be wrung out, 
and drunk by all the wicked. 

This battle of the great day of God Almighty, is the same 
judgment which, in the xiv. chapter, is called the reaping of 
the earth. The ripe harvest will first be cut down, ami 
afterwards the vintage will be gathered, and cast into the 
great winepress of the 'vvrath of God. We may expect that 
this first judgment will turn the scale of public opinion in 
favor of the truth. Those who are then in the path of 
error, and determined to remain in it, will be obliged to 
continue their wayward course in silence. They will not 
be able to vindicate their conduct to their own consciences, 
and consequently not to the world around them. 

But immediately after the pouring out of this seventh 
vial, a new series of temporal calamities may be expected. 
'■' There were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and 
there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men 
were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so-greafe.'' 



THK XTI. OP THl RBVllLATIOX. JO! 

During the time in which the seven angels were pouring but 
the vials, all heaven appears to have been engaged in con- 
templating the effects produced bj them in the world; but 
immediately afterwards, the indications of war and desola- 
ting judgments were seen and heard. All the vials, ex- 
cepting the last, operate chiefly on the minds of men, and 
produce a kind of spiritual injtoxication; and therefore they 
still go on in the course of iniquity, notwithstanding the in- 
dications of the wrath of God. It will be found, that this 
terrible pestilence which is coming on the world, will have 
little influence on the moral condition of mankind generally; 
for it will be attributed to natural causes, and their hearts 
will be hardened. Like the Egyptians of old, the more 
they are plagued, they will become the more obstinate in 
their rebellion. Hence judgment after judgment will be 
brought on them, until they shall be utterly destroyed. This 
mighty earthquake must take place before the gathering of 
tl\e vintage, and consequently before the fall of the mystical 
Babylon. It is a terrible war, in which most of the nations 
of Europe, the Russian and the Turkish empires, will come 
into collision. These potsherds of the earth will be dashed 
one against the other, and the shock will be most tremen- 
dous. It will shake the governments of the earth to their 
centres. The indications of this moral earthquake are even 
now very conspicuous. But it will not be altogether a col- 
lision between different kingdoms. The most terrible 
effects will be produced by two opposing spirits, which are 
now preparing and embodying their force in every nation. 
Until this present time, and from ages immemorial, the 
world has generally been governed and oppressed, by a class 
of mankind who seem to think themselves entitled, from na- 
ture, to the rank of governors, and esteem the rest of man- 
kind as little better than beasts of burden. The diff*erence 
which was made in ancient Rome, between patricians and 
plebeians, will explain this fact to all who are acquainted 
with ancient history. The same distinction runs through 
the world, and is more or less conspicuous in every nation-. 
Rut in these latter ages, mankind have been approaching^-, 
more and more to a level, and the spirit of emancipation is 
continually gaining strength. Tyranny and despotism, va\ 
the end, must fall; but a long and'^powerful struggle must be 
expected. This will, no doubt, be one of the causes of tl^" s 
mighty earthquake, during the period of whieli, the whole 
earth will tremble. 
£6 



302 DISSERTATION OK 

The apostle saw, that during this violent concussion, the 
great city was divided into three parts; and that the other 
cities^ of the nations fell, and crumbled to ruins; — that everj 
island fled away, and the mountains were not found. This 
great city is evidently the grand political combination of 
the sovereigns of Europe, which exists at the present time, 
and which has existed,, under different forms, ever since the 
time when the western empire of Rome was composed of 
ten different sovereignties. There has always been either 
an express or tacit combination among those sovereigns, 
to keep the balance of power in equilibrioj and especially 
to enable them to domineer over their subjects, and keep 
both their minds and their bodies in bondage. In these last 
ages, the immense and powerful empire of Russia, which 
may be said to have commenced with Peter the Great, in a 
manner not very dissimilar to the commencement of the 
Persian empire under Cyrus, lias become a powerful auxi- 
liary to the ten kingdoms* Bat this accession of strength, 
as it divides their interests, will most probably be the means 
of their ialL It is evident tliat this combination cannot 
last for many years. But by its division,, the great city will 
finally be split and broken into three fragments.. We shall 
Bat hazard a conjecture as to the nature of this division,.nor 
pretend to foresee of what nations these fragments will be 
composed. We leave this to politicians and statesmen.. But 
we are persuaded,, that men of discernment might,^ at this 
moment, trace the lines of this division,, and exhibit the 
fragments even before they are broken. But they too will 
8oon fall to pieces; for all the cities of the nations shall falL 
There must be a revolution in every government, at least 
of the old world; and, most likely. In all the government* 
OR the face of the earth; for all of them have the seeds of 
dissolution in their very frame.. Tliey are not founded on 
true christianityo They have not the principles of true re- 
ligion interwoven in theii' natu4*e; and therefore God says; 
"^ I will overturn, overturn, overturn; and it shall be no 
more, until he come,, whose right it is; and J will give it 
him," 

But in the time of these revolutions, it is said, "Great 
Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her 
the cup of the wine of the indignation of his wrath.." Baby- 
ion here means the religious but idolatrous combinations, 
which, amidst poiiiical. revolutions,- will still continue to 
exjst among mankind; and especially tiaat combination whicb 



THE XYI. OF THE REVELATIOX. 303 

supports the papal see.* This city is fully and minutely de- 
scribed in the xvii. chapter; and in the xviii. the fall of this 
city is described with the same minuteness. We may safely 
conclude, that the political revolutions, which are first to 
take place, will open the way for the overthrow and destruc- 
tion of all false religion; and that after great Babylon shall 
have fallen, the true gospel shall advance with rapidity over 
the whole world. The present attempts to propagate the 
gospel can have no efficacious nor permanent results, be- 
cause they are all intermingled with the principles of the 
great harlot, who has made all nations drunk with the wine 
of her fornication, and who is represented as having the cup 
in her hand, ev«n after the vials have been poured out. All 
effectual and permanent good to the church, must commence 
by overturning these evil principles and practices from the 
foundation. Hence the apostle declares, that ^* every island 
fled away, and the mountains were not found." By tb* 
islands :and mountains are meant, the foundations of the 
;civil and religious institutions which now exist in the world. 
The great city is not only represented as split and broken 
into fragments, and the other cities falling and crumbling io 
pieces^ hurt their very ibundations sink into the abyss, and 
totally disappear. 

But immediately after this dreadful scene of confusion 
.and desolation, another judgment from heaven, and one still 
more galling and provoking than any that preceded it, is 
inflicted. ** There fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, 
every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blas- 
phemed God on account of the plague of the hail ; for the 
plague thereof was exceeding great." According to the 
common calculation concerning the weight of a talent, it 
would appear that every hailstone must weigh one hundred 
pounds. But this is evidently an error, and one of the errors 
hj which learned men have done much to destroy the credi- 
bility of the scriptures. By this absurd computation, the 
vexpenses of buildmg Solomon's temple, would probably ex- 
ceed all the coin that ever was in circulation, at one time, 
on the face of the earth. A talent, in the common and usual 
«ense of the word, signifies such a weight of gold or silver, 
i^i one could conveniently carry in his hand. I)id our limits 
permit, we could produce enough of examples, both from 
sacred and profane history, to show that this position is cor- 
rect This, however, is a much larger kind of hail than 
(Ordinarilj h\l%. Hail ttonei a pound weigbt, t^'ould ds 



304 PI5SERTATI01C OW 

iiamense damage, if thej were to fall all over the world. 
This symbol is of such a nature, that the precise meaning of 
it is not easily perceived, and perhaps it will not be fully 
known, until the event takes place. It will be some sudden, 
judgment, by which the labor, and the acquisitions of world- 
ly minded men, will be all cast down to the ground, and 
dashed to pieces. As it follows the rooting up and destroy- 
ing of all civil and religious institutions from the founda- 
tion,— -comes when the moral world is cast into unutterable 
confusion and consternation, and is evidently from the hand 
of God; it represent* one of those calamities which some- 
times fall on men, when they have begun to think that the 
stores of the divine vengeance are exhausted, and that no 
greater evils need be feared, than those they have already 
sustained. But it will show the horrible hardness of the 
hearts of men at that period. The very greatness of the 
plague incites them to blaspheme the God that sent it 
There are some plagues so terribly great, that they over- 
whelin j^nd stupify the mind, and thus entirely prevent that 
reaction, which produces irritation, resentment, and blas- 
phenay: but this plague, although exceeding great, will still 
feav^ men the power of their tongues; and their evil passions 
will be still more excited by it, against the author of their 
calamities. 

In all these judgments, there is such an exhibition of 
wretchedness and wickedness, that we might be tempted to 
think the accomplishment of these prophecies utterly impos- 
sible, in the present state of the world; or at least, that the 
judgments must be local, and cannot be executed on every 
christian nation. But if we cast aside that false charity, 
which men have invented as a covering for their sins, and if 
we do not suffer their professions to deceive us, we shall 
find that these are the very things which ought to be ex- 
pected, as the natural production of that great antichristian 
system of religion, which has prevailea over the world 
through so many generations. If we leave our gardens or 
QV^r fields to be overgrown with rank weeds, they may, in- 
4^d, be well manured, and planted with the best and most 
useful vegetables; but the weeds only will thrive, while the 
il^eful plants will entirely decay and perish. Such is the 
condition of the world at this moment, notwithstanding all 
the attempts wWch are made to [propagate the gospel. rJo- 
^ing good can be expected, until false doctrines and hu- 
man indentions are rooted out of the church; or, in the 



THE XVI. OF THE ftEVKLAtrOK. S05 

words of scripture, ** until the sanctuary be cleansed." 
But such a process of purification seems not so much as 
thought of by those who are engaged in disseminating reli- 
gion. They disseminate a mixture of religious errors, as 
well as religious truth. They do not teach their converts 
to worship God according to his commandments, but in 
such a way as man has invented; and the horrible fruits of 
this corrupted seed, will appear in the times of trial which 
are now coming on the world. Zion must, therefore, be re- 
deemed in judgment, and her converts in righteousness; 
and the destruction of the transgressors, and of the sinners, 
must be together; and they that hate the Lord must be con- 
sumed. 



ERRATA. 

Page 20, line 25, insert every, before prophecy. 

" 29, " 16, for wars, read roars. 

"■ 59, '• 2 ife 5 from bottom, for Smudis^ read Smerd'is. 

" 63, " 26, for the, read this. 

" 86, " 30, for Chebaz, read Chebar, 

" 88, '* 7, for heads, read horns. 

" 106, " 25, for see, read let. 

" 116, " 13, for is, read it. 

" 157, " 4, for fall, read/ace. 



Reid: The Seven Last Plagues 
1828 

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