« PoprzedniaDalej »
a false professor, is evident from ver. 4. "I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of Hosts, and it "shall enter into the house of the thief, and into "the house of HIM THAT SWEARETH FALSELY BY "MY NAME; and it shall remain in the midst of "his house, and shall consume it, with the tim"ber thereof, and the stone thereof."
2. The prophet saw an ephah go forth. The ephah, in Israel, was a standard of secular measures, and is the emblem of the civil institution. And the "woman who forgetteth the covenant "of her God," and "whose house inclineth to "death," was seen sitting in the "midst of the " ephah," and thus, being measured both by the word and by the good and wholesome ordinances of civil society, she is found wanting, and pronounced to be wickedness; immediately upon which, she is executed as a perfect cheat. This is done by a "talent of lead" being cast upon her, while she is sitting in the ephah, and with all her wickedness thereby exposed in the light of day. A talent of lead was also, in relation to the poize, or balances, a Hebrew standard weight, and is the emblem of the civil executive authority. This view of the agency in the work of the destruction of Babylon, both of the witnesses and the civil powers, compares very minutely with the New Testament prophecies.
At this time the prophet saw the ephah taken up, and borne away to the "land of Shinar," where a house is built for it, and where it is established and set upon its own base. My ancestors, who left England a century and a half ago, under a persecution by that cruelest of the cruel, deemed that this land of Shinar might be America; and I do not relinquish the expectation, but much is yet to be done to clear the American. ephah from all infection by the European jurists, and to set her, here, upon her own simple base
of equity. When the ground of equity is not made the sole base of judgment, but verdicts are required by law according to certain points set up, which verdicts, as the case may be, and often is, are directly in the face of equity, and pointedly against the Bible, which requires equity in all cases.......when, I say, it is thus in the seat of judgment, then, surely, the ephah does not stand" upon her own base." Were the ephah established in truth, the laws would not be, as the common saying is, mere cobwebs to catch flies for spiders...... To call the law a lottery, does not fully express the wickedness of a Babylonian place of judgment, and the legal impositions under which the world has groaned for ages; for a lottery would give to the honest man an equal chance with the rogue.. .......But the points of law are so much against the good man, that if he be sued, and has his coat taken away by a villain skilled therein, or who, if he be not an adept himself, can get one to assist. him who is, the sufferer, if he has his wits about him, will give the legal robber his cloak also, rather than contend with him on so disadvantage ous a ground. But such is the influence of that great city thro'out the world, that but little relief can be any where expected until the great day of deliverance, when Babylon shall be "thrown "down, and sink "like a millstone cast into the * sea, and shall be found no more at all.”
The twofold doom of Babylon is expressed, 2 Thess. ii. 8. "Whom the Lord shall CONSUME "with the spirit of his mouth, and shall DESTROY "with the brightness of his coming...... Here the same word is used, as in Zechariah. The flying roll shall CONSUME the house of the thief, and him that sweareth falsely by the name of the Lord. First, the witnesses consume the habitation of the wicked, by the word that goeth out of their mouth. And, Secondly, the secular power that
God will raise up for this purpose, will destroy her as by casting a talent of lead upon her head. And here, again, that extraordinary power which, according to all the prophets, will be raised up to accomplish this judgment upon Babylon, is spoken of as being the brightness of the Lord's coming. The rising up of this horn, who must continue for a short space, will be as sure a token, and the immediate forerunner of Christ's coming, as that the morning dann presages the day.
England and France, like Jerusalem and Samaria, are for ever at war with each other; and, like those old apostate cities, they are equally hostile to God's servants. France has done much towards the suppressing of the witnesses; but England has done much more. Her perfidious wars, particularly with Holland and America, have had a fatal influence upon the true Protestant cause; and finally, her coming forward to support the last hopes of the old "mother of "abominations," has completely measured her out in the ephah. In this respect, again, she answers to her type Aholibah........Samaria beat and banished the prophets, but " it cannot be, that "a prophet perish out of Jerusalem."
It is true, that in the commencement of the decisive operations against the apostate church, the witnesses will be necessitated to yield up their own bodies to the deadly stroke; for, like their elder brother, they must gain the victory by death, and of this event they are fully apprized; but still they are willing that the blow should come. It is true also, that the immediate agent of this work will care no more for the faithful, than for their enemies; and though he be raised up to execute this righteous judgment of God, yet, for his sinister views, and his substituting new abominations in the place of the old, he must
himself account most punctually for the blood he sheds in accomplishing it.
The fall of Babylon, particularly the two daughter-harlots, will be an event that will give a shock to the whole universe. The earth will tremble and quake, and the "remnant" that are left of the inland city will be "affrighted," and give "glory to the God of heaven. But the "merchants of the earth, shipmen, and as many "as trade by sea," will "weep" and "wail," and cry, "Alas, alas!" The fall of the commercial third of the city, according to the prophecies, will completely put an end to commerce. And hell itself will be moved at this event; for the devils will thereby know that their long dreaded "hour" of "judgment is come." In this event will be fulfilled the passage, Isai. xxvii. 1, “ In "that day the Lord, with his sore, and great, and "strong sword, shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked ser"pent, and he shall slay the Dragon that is in "the sea."
SECTION VII........Pouring of the Vials.
THE subject to be considered under this head, is that of the "judgment and perdition of un"godly men." That the vials are to be considered in this view is evident, because in the great process of judgment to them is assigned the part of the execution of the criminals; and, in the militant view, in them Zion's " warfares are accomplished." This is evident, also, from the express
words respecting their weight and extent, that they contain "the seven last plagues," and that "in. "them is filled up the wrath of God."
But this judgment is understood to be of a particular nature, and not that which includes the whole human race, living and dead. The word perdition is used in the Scriptures, to express the aggravated doom of hypocrites and unbelievers ; and as being the discriminating portion of apostates, and all such others, as have taken an active part against the cause and people of God. Our God is a God of equity, he "weighed the moun"tains in scales, and the hills in a balance." And, as it is manifestly requisite, he has assigned a day in which he will particularly reward them who obey the gospel, and punish them who reject it. It must be understood, however, that this is the solemn scene which is generally contemplated in the fearful descriptions, so frequently given in the Scriptures, of the "great and dreadful day "of the Lord." No one of the vials have yet been poured out; and we are not now able to form a conception of their contents, farther than there have fallen from age to age, some scattering drops anticipating the tremenduous scene. The wrath "without mixture," which they are said to contain, is "the wrath to come!"
The idea commonly entertained, that the great judgment will come upon the world instantly, in one universal open and finished display of vindictive power, does not agree with the Scriptures ; on the contrary, like the work of creation, and as the plagues came upon Egypt, this is also represented as being done by a series of successive operations. This wrath fills seven vials, and they must be set to running, one after another, until they shall combine their sevenfold vengeance, and pour together in one universal scene of destruction. That day shall come as a snare upon