Obrazy na stronie

all them that dwell on the earth. The bird does not see the snare that is laid for him; and even when it has sprung, and he is fatally entangled therein; for a while he will flutter and extend his wings, in order to lift it, and it will seem to him no more than a light thread upon his neck. Also, the Son of Man cometh as a thief; who, at midnight, steals silently into the house, and begins his work of desolation, and, for a tine, proceeds on therein, breaking up from room to room, while the unwatchful family are quietly slumbering in their beds. Preachers of peace, peace, will have to the last sufficient influence to quiet the transient fears that may be awakened at the commencement of the vials; but it is not probable that people will be disposed to indulge many abiding apprehensions of danger, while the work of judgment is doing only by parts, or till the opening of the scene of the seventh vial; then, indeed, the work will be cut short, and the full vengeance will rush forth instantly, and without one intervening moment of respite, or the least. mixture of alleviation.

"And I heard 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. And the first went, and poured out "his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noi"some and grievous sore upon the men which "had the mark of the Beast, and upon them "which worshipped his image." This vial has an allusion to one of the plagues upon Egypt; and, whatever it be, it imports a decisive judgment upon the inland Babylon. The plague of boils and blains does not appear as one of the greatest that fell upon Egypt, yet it was this that settled the controversy between Moses and the magicians; smitten with this plague, together with the Egyptians, their sores were too noisome and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

grievous to admit of their standing any longer upon public ground; and, under this judgment, as may be seen, Exod. ix. 11, they were obliged to abscond. Thus Paul prophesied concerning the magicians of the gospel-day, 2 Tim. iii. 8, 9, that they shall meet with a judgment similar to theirs of Egypt; and that "they shall proceed "no further; for their folly shall be manifest un❝to all men, as theirs also was." This vial, compared with the passage referred to in Exodus, gives us to understand also, that the slain witnesses at this time will begin to rise. Moses was directed, together with Aaron, to "take hand"fuls of ashes of the furnace," and to "sprinkle "it up toward heaven." And "it became boils," &c. These ashes, in a figure, shewed the condition in which Israel then was in Egypt, and, in type, represent the completely subdued state of the gospel witnesses, at the time when the vials began to pour. There is an allusion to the same thing by a similar figure, in the words used to shew the low condition of the church, at the first return from captivity from Babylon, Zech. iii. 2. "Is not this a brand pluckt out of the fire?"..... In the event of this vial, will be fulfilled the passage relative to "that day when" the Lord "will "make up his jewels. Mal. iii. 18. " Then shall


ye return, and discern between the righteous " and the wicked, between him that serveth God " and him that serveth him not."

"And the second angel poured out his vial up"on the sea; and it became as the blood of a "dead man: and every living soul died in the "sea." This vial imports the judgment of God upon the insular Babylon; and it indicates a doom inconceiveably great. It appears to have an allusion to the blood of Abel which cried for vengeance; and it intimates that the blood of mar tyrdom by this city had stained, and, as it were,

filled the ocean. And as the earth, which receiv-. ed the blood of Abel from the hand of Cain, as we may say, feeling itself injured, laid a penal exaction upon the offender; so the sea, having been made to drink blood, poured into its mouth from the scuppers of this "bloody city," until it be gorged, and turned to a putrid mass, becomes itself an agent of retribution, and gives back the fatal draught to those murderers who have proudly called that element their own. The witnesses. having been slain, the sea will no longer be bound by the mediatorial decree; it may therefore be expected, that as in the days of Noah, the strength of the great waters will again be employed, tho' not in the same, yet in some way equally fearful, in executing the righteous judgment of God, and upon them particularly, who have impiously claimed to rule the waves.

"And the third angel poured out his vial up"on the rivers and fountains of waters; and they "became blood. And I heard the angel of the "waters say; thou art righteous, O Lord, which "art, and wast, and shall 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. And I "heard another out of the altar say, even so, "Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy "judgments." As the rivers and fountains of waters are intermediates, and connect the land and seas, this vial imports that the whole city shares in this dreadful judgment. There is here, again, an allusion to one of the plagues of Egypt, but those were no more than a type of these, and it must be expected that these judgments will be as much out of the ordinary course of events, and as manifest displays of divine anger, as those upon Egypt; and that they will every way surpass them in magnitude, as things signified are inPP

variably found to have incomparably more weight than merely the signs; and no reason can be given why we should not look for a strict and literary fulfilment of these passages. In the events under these two vials of the waters becoming blood, the distinction made at the first between the righteous and the wicked will be kept up, and the display of the righteous judgment of God will be open to every eye. The angel at the waters will be heard to say, "Thou art righteous, “O Lord, because thou hast judged thus:" And the saint at the altar will reply, even so, Lord "God Almighty, true and righteous are thy "judgments."......In the ordinary course, " all



things come alike to all, and there is one event " to the righteous and to the wicked." And for this reason the common eye cannot discern between them; but it was not so in the day of Egypt, and it will not be so after the rising of the witnesses, At the time of the vials, the red cup will be taken from the righteous, and given to their enemies, and " the dregs thereof all the "wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and "drink them." "Judgment must begin at the "house of God," in the slaying of the witnesses; but if it so "begin at us, what shall the end be of "them that obey not the gospel of God?"

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial 66 upon the sun; and power was given 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.". This imports the glory of God's power with which his servants will be clothed in that day of his power: there is here an allusion to Elijah'sconsuming his enemies with fire from Heaven; and by this vial we are given to understand, that he is come the second time: that the messenger or



angel, who is known in the scriptures by the appellation of the "name of God;" and who goes before him; is present in these scenes, and performing his decisive work. "But who may abide "the day of his coming? and who shall stand "when he appeareth?" It is said that men blasphemed the name of God," which hath power over these plagues: Moses and Elijah made such use of the name of God in their work, that they were known by that name rather than their own; and servant of God, and man of God, became, in common use, the style of their address. And plagues were brought and removed by them in ⚫such a manner, as that it appeared they had power over them. By a careful attention to the style of these predictions, it may be inferred that some visible person will be well known to have a commanding agency in the work of the seven last plagues: but, like Pharaoh and Ahab, so hardened will men be, and to such a height will their malice be excited, that they will dare to spurn at the messenger of God, although he be clothed thus with power Almighty. No passage, perhaps, conveys a more impressive idea of the power of divine grace, than that in Malachi......... "Unto you that fear my name shall the sun. of 'righteousness axise, with healing in his wings;" but this passage stands opposed to it, and conveys an idea of the wrath of God equally strong; that the sun shall have power to "scorch men," and shall arise upon the wicked with "fiery indignation" in his beams. Another intimation is here given of the terrors of this fearful day, viz. that repentance shall no longer be given to men but "he that is unjust shall be unjust still," and " he that is filthy shall be filthy still:" the same thing, respecting the same day, is expressed in Daniel, that "the wicked shall do wickedly, and



none of the wicked shall understand."

« PoprzedniaDalej »