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vered with precifion, and moft of the other calculations refer to that æra; whereas, at prefent the dates are unavoidably involved in a certain degree of obfcurity, and give room for various conjectures.
State of the Church at the founding of the Seventh Trumpet.
FROM this period to the commencement of the Millennium, the prophecies continue to give a twofold view of the church. On the one hand, they reprefent the progrefs of the gofpel; on the other, they defcribe the steps by which fpiritual Babylon is brought to its final ruin, and at length all oppofition to the truth is overcome.
The first view given of the progrefs of the gofpel, we have, Rev. vii. 9. After this I be“held, and lo, a great multitude, which no "man could number, of all nations, and kin"dreds and people, and tongues, ftood before "the throne, and before the Lamb, cloathed "with white robes, and palms in their hands; "and cried with a loud voice, faying falvation to our God which fitteth upon the "throne,
"throne, and unto the Lamb.-And one of the "elders anfwered, faying unto me, What are "these which are arrayed in white robes? and "whence came they? And I faid unto him, "Sir thou knoweft. And he faid to me, These 66 are they which came out of great tribulation, "and have washed their robes, and made them "white in the blood of the Lamb: Therefore "are they before the throne of God, and serve "him day and night in his temple; and he "that fitteth on the throne fhall dwell among "them. They fhall hunger no more, neither "thirst any more, neither fhall the fun light on "them, nor any heat: For the Lamb who is "in the midft of the throne, fhall feed them, " and fhall lead them unto living fountains of "waters; and God fhall wipe away all tears "from their eyes."
The multitude, with palms in their hands, are reprefented here as fucceeding the 144,000 fealed ones. After this, I beheld also a great multitude. The 144,000 fealed ones run along the whole period of Antichrift's reign, Rev. xiv. 1.; but at the clofe of his reign, they give place to the palmbearing multitude. The description of these, compared with that of the fealed ones, fhows how different the ftate of the church now is, from its former condition, ever fince Chriftians began to decline from purity of faith and man
Previous to this æra, real Chriftians were few, as the great body who profeffed Chriftianity were deftitute of the fpirit of it; but now they are a great multitude, which no man can number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. Formerly the true fervants of God worshipped him fincerely in fecret, but their voice was not heard in the world, for fear of the perfecution of their enemies; but now they cry with a loud voice, making a public profeffion of their faith, and attending on the ordinances of religion, without fear or danger. Formerly true Chriftians were traduced as fchif matics, heretics, and perfons abominably wicked; but now their innocence is vindicated, their righteousness is brought forth as the noon-day; for they all, and they only, are efteemed righ teous, who are juftified by the blood of Christ, and fanctified by the influence of his Spirit. They are cloathed with white robes, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Formerly the faithful followers of Chrift were every where perfecuted and overcome; but now they hold palms in their hands, as emblems of victory over their enemies. They were formerly in great tribulation. They experienced every kind of diftrefs outward and inward. They were expofed by the virulence of their enemies, to fire and fword, to hunger and thirst, to cold and
and nakedness. Nor were these the greatest evils; for they were frequently exposed to a fcarcity of the bread of life, when deprived of ordinances; fo that their fouls were ready to perish. But now they fhall be delivered from whatever might prove injurious, to their temporal or fpiritual happiness: "Neither fhall the fun light on them, nor any heat. They shall ftand "before the throne of God, and ferve him day "and night in his temple; and he that fitteth on "the throne shall dwell among them." The ordinances of God fhall be established in purity; in these men fhall place their delight, and on them God fhall beftow his presence. "The taber"nacle of God fhall be with men, and he fhall "dwell among them." They fhall experience no more scarcity of the bread of life; "they fhall
hunger no more, neither thirst any more." The Redeemer shall himself feed his people. On them he shall beftow liberally the comfortable and gracious influences of his Spirit, which thall prove a well of water fpringing up unto everlasting life'; and the tears which they shed for the defolation of the church, as well as for their own particular diftreffes, fhall be wiped away. "The Lamb who is in the midft of the "throne fhall feed them, and fhall lead them
(1) John iv. 14. and vii. 38. 39.
"into living fountains of waters, and God shall "wipe away all tears from thier eyes'.' We have
(1) Lowman and Newton are of opinion, that the multitude, with palms in their hands, reprefent the glory of a future world, particularly the happinefs of thofe perfons put to death by the Pagan Roman emperors ; but I cannot agree with them in opinion, for the following reafons: 1st, The happiness of the martyrs in their glorified state is reprefented in the firft feal; it appears to me unneceffary to introduce them here again. 2d, If they were introduced in this place, they would have been mentioned before the 144,000 fealed ones; because they were poffeffed of happiness previous to the admiffion of converts into the church in the age of Constantine, whereas, in the vifion, they are reprefented as following the fealed ones: "After "these things, I faw." That interpretation cannot be juft, which obliges one to reverse the order of the vifion. 3d, The expreffions which defcribe the happiness of this multitude, may appear at firft view too strong to apply to the church militant; it is accordingly on this ground they have been referred to the church triumphant ; yet they are obviously borrowed from the prophet Isaiah, and when compared with the context in the prophet, they certainly refer to the church militant, and not to the church triumphant. Now, it is reasonable to fuppofe they have the fame meaning here. Thus, verfes 15, 16, are borrowed from Isaiah xlix. 10. “They shall not hunger,
nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor fun fmite them; "for he that hath mercy on them fhall lead them, even "by the fprings of water fhall he guide them." And