« PoprzedniaDalej »
we bear the glory of this calling! Volumes would not exhaust its riches; wisdom grasps at it in vain: for flesh and blood can neither inherit nor describe the kingdom of heaven; but the Lord, who hath given us faith to know it, will ere long give us a mouth and wisdom to declare it by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven to glorify Jesus, as it is written, "They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom" (Ps. cxlv. 11). At present, I feel myself not skilled in the word of truth to do more than give here a line and there a line on this glorious subject. The throne of the Father is his glory, authority, and power, which is never to be itself manifested on earth, and unto which we can never directly attain; for the Father will never be known by the creatures, save in the Lord Jesus Christ. As it is by the Spirit that he hath as man eternal life from the Father, it is by being joined to him as the quickening Spirit, that we are partakers of the Divine nature; and we are to sit on the throne of the Christ, not on that of the Father. But when Christ sat down on his Father's throne, he was glorified of the Father with the Father's own self. The faithful man Jesus received, as a man, at resurrection, the whole power, and blessing, and knowledge, and dominion, and glory, which as God he had with the Father before the world was, but which as man he had no title to but the Father's gift and promise, and no access to but by faith. There is nothing of God which now is not, and henceforth will not be manifest, in the risen Jesus; as it is written,
Nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest" (Luke viii. 17). And, in like manner, when we shall sit down with Christ in his throne, we shall be glorified with all the glory of him who is glorified with all the glory of God. We" are his fulness, who filleth all in all;" we shall complete his glory; we shall fill up what yet lacketh in him, first in his sufferings, then in his glory. We shall be the glory of the Son of David, inheriting the throne of David, his father according to the flesh, on earth; as he is the glory of the living God, inheriting the throne of his Father in heaven, who begat him from the dead by the Spirit of life. When he cometh he shall have a throne of his own; not by ceasing to occupy his Father's throne, but by bringing down the tabernacle of God to be with man; by introducing the city which he went to build, the kingdom which he went to receive. And as we are now set in heavenly places in Christ, we shall inherit his throne, not by acquiring a new dominion, but manifesting that the heavens do rule; as it is written, "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou has given me" (John xvii. 24)." The glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one" (ver. 22). " All mine are thine, and thine are
mine, and I am glorified in them" (ver. 10). "The saints shall judge the world ;" yea, "angels " (1 Cor. vi.). Alas, how seldom we remember, how sluggishly we believe, how sadly we contradict this glorious office! our thoughts and tongues can hardly deal with it. Satan standeth at our right hand to resist us mightily, for he knoweth that his crown is at stake. But the Lord will not long suffer us thus to quench his Spirit. And, in order that we may learn not to frustrate his grace, let us meditate the way in which we are to attain our throne. It is by overcoming; and it is by overcoming as Christ overcame. Christ, in the days of his flesh, heard his Father say, "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me in my throne." He believed God, and overcame. And he overcame by his blood. The Father made him a curse. He visited him not upon the cross, but he visited him in the grave. There he looked on the holy Blood that had been shed, and gave him eternal life, pleased with that blood which faith in the Father's promise had kept spotless. Jesus entered within the veil, pleading that blood as his title to enter, and as the title of all flesh to enter; and at his continual intercession God doth ever sprinkle with that precious blood the holiest of all, now laid open for all men to press into. By the same blood are we to overcome; because, except we be within the veil, we have neither life nor spirit, nor power, nor love; and we could not be there unsprinkled by the blood without instant death; " for God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity." He seeth us in the face of his Anointed. Jesus alone hath prevailed to open the veil; and no devil may by any accusation shut us out from entering the door, of which his blood is the key. His blood cleanseth from all sin; and we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb. Alas, how vainly they talk who speak of that as the first thing, to overcome things seen and temporal! The first thing is to master principalities and powers in heavenly places: the first thing is to resist Satan, as an angel of light, telling us how holy God is, and how sinful we are, and bidding us beware of presumptuous approach or familiar dealing with God: the first thing is to cast down the accuser of the brethren: the first thing is to overcome the unseen host of darkness: the first thing is to believe the true God. To which end know this, that He hath "made peace by the blood of his cross;" that He hath "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" that he hath washed us from our sins. Hold this fast; and no man shall take thy crown: so shalt thou have conquered the whole unseen hosts of Satan, yea Satan himself; so shalt thou believe the unseen God. For faith is the evidence of things unseen; and if thou keep to this evidence, which thou shalt do whilst thou believest that thou art clean in the blood, sin shall have no dominion over thee; thou shalt easily mortify
VOL. V.NO. I.
thyself to all that is seen, for thou shalt not walk by sight; and when thou shalt put Laodicea to shame, being translated without seeing death, by that faith of Enoch whereby he pleased God, Satan will not stand the victory of thy rapture.
Let us thank our God, who hath thus far helped his servant to declare his mind, and keep this faith, that with God alone remaineth the pure fountain of life, and that in his light we shall see light.
THE FALL OF BABYLON.
THIS head, the Fall of Babylon, comprises the whole of the occurrences happening in these last days of the Gentile dispensation.
Babylon is a term transferred, in the prophetical Scriptures of the Old Testament, from the ancient enemies of the Jews to their great opponents, who will arise to make war against them after their restoration to the Holy Land; and in the NewTestament prophecies the word is employed to describe the enemies of the Christian church, during the whole period of the Gentile dispensation, beginning with the Pagan, passing through the Papal, and ending with the Infidel stage. Babylon was. the capital of the principal power hostile to the Jewish church; and the word is used by St. Peter and St. John in speaking of Rome, which became the capital of the adversary of the Christian church during the first two stages just named; and probably, from Rev. xvii. 9, will be the capital of the Infidel period, yet to succeed.
In endeavouring to trace out the circumstances attending the fall of Babylon, it will be well to premise a few explanations of the terms and symbols by which this power is set forth in the Scriptures in its extent and qualities, for the instruction and warning of mankind.
The Import and Extent of Babylon.
That Babylon is synonymous with Rome, in the New Testament, is clear from 1 Pet. v. 13, where that Apostle, addressing "the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia," says, writing from that capital, "The church that is at Babylon saluteth you.
It is apparent, too, that Babylon is not confined by St. John to the limits of the city of Rome; for, having been invited (Rev. xvii. 1) to witness the judgment upon " the great whore that sitteth upon many waters," he is shewn the woman sitting upon a scarlet-coloured beast, having written upon her forehead
"Mystery, Babylon the Great:" and, ver. 18, it is explained to him, that "the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth;" and, ver. 15, "the waters where the whore sitteth are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues ;"" and the ten horns," ver. 12, "which thou sawest, are ten kings." Thus this state or apostasy, represented by a harlot, is shewn to betoken an extended region, comprehending various kingdoms, and more especially ten chief
This last circumstance particularly identifies the symbol with Daniel's fourth beast (chap. vii. 7), having ten horns, signifying the Roman empire: and this is, therefore, the same beast; and St. John continues its history in chaps. xii. to xix, of the Apocalypse. Babylon, or Rome, is represented by St. John under the form of a beast with seven heads and ten horns; at first Pagan (xii. 3), next Papal (xiii. 1), and last Infidel (xvii. 3), being then "full of names of blasphemy."
Daniel also describes the ten states, into which the western Roman empire became divided, as ten horns; three of which (chap. vii. 20) fall before a little horn, which "spake very great things." These ten kingdoms have been differently enumerated; but as presently constituted have been considered by commentators to be France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Piedmont, Naples, and England, with the three which fell before the Papacy, the little horn, namely, Lombardy, Ravenna, and Rome. These, in fact, comprise Western Europe, bounded towards the east by the Rhine and the Danube.
The term Babylon is found to imply variously, according to the tenor of the passage, either the chief city of the apostasy or the ten kingdoms under its immediate controul, and, further, all nations and tongues which acknowledge her authority. In this last sense it will extend to the entire portion of the habitable globe, which has successively abetted Pagan hostility to Christianity, Papal apostasy from the truth, or which shall avow the Infidel spirit of Antichrist.
It may be added, that "Babylon" is named six times in the Apocalypse-xiv. 8; xvi. 19; xvii. 5; xviii. 2, 10, 21. The
great city "is named eleven times-xi. 8, 13; xiv. 8, 20; xvi. 19; xvii. 18; xviii. 10, 16, 18, 19, 21. "Babylon the Great" is used without the word "city" twice-xvii. 5 and xviii. 2: and perhaps the adjunct "city" has reference to the locality, and Babylon merely to the authority or apostasy.
In Rev. xiv. 20, the term "without the city" is used in expressing the place where the wine-press is trodden; which shews that there are boundaries to the locality. In Rev. xvi. 19 are mentioned "the cities of the nations," as being to fall; which words have been taken to mean the regions beyond the
boundaries of Babylon. The "great city" is divided under the seventh vial into three parts, which must be a division within the specific boundaries.
The "treading of the wine-press without the city," must be the battle of Armageddon, from the situation, and not the destruction of Babylon on the site of the Roman empire. And hence, being in two places, the perishing of the beast and false prophet at Armageddon may probably be concluded to be at a time distinct from the desolation of the territory of Babylon: and the two events seem mentioned as separate, the former, "the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. xvi. 14; xix. 19), from the latter (Rev. xviii. 21), when the great city Babylon falls with violence, as a great millstone cast into the sea.
The sixth vial relates to" without the city;" for it begins with the river Euphrates (Rev. xvi. 12), and ends with the battle of Armageddon. Intermediately, however, the three unclean spirits, acting on the beast, the Western Roman empire or central Babylon, and the false prophet, and other creatures of the dragon, drive their victims towards this external scene of action. The seventh vial contains matters subsequent to the restoration of the Jews and to the battle of Armageddon; and some further details of this period, containing the literal ruin of Babylon, are given Rev. xviii. 21-24; but the preceding part of chap. xviii. and the whole of chap. xvii. regard Babylon ecclesiastical, describing the downfall of her institutions.
It is not possible to limit the judgments upon Babylon ecclesiastical to any precise locality, as they are to extend to all nations which have corrupted the Gospel. Whatever is alleged of the ten horns, which appertain to the Roman beast, must be specially confined to their territory: but the ecclesiastical judgments are not restricted to them, but extend (Rev. xvii. 15) to other people, nations, and tongues. And the subsequent literal judgments reach all Christian countries which have not performed the baptismal vow (Mark vi. 11; xvi. 16), and to all nations which have persecuted the Jews; and the Jews are found more or less thus suffering in Asia, Africa, and even America, as well as in Europe. The "fowls" are called (Rev. xix. 18) to eat the flesh of "all men, free and bond, both small and great." These expressions, however, are to be taken with some limitation; for, as we read in Dan. vii. 23, "the fourth beast shall devour the whole earth;" which words, as he was speaking of the Roman empire, can imply no more than that portion which was to be overcome by the Roman arms-that is, the then known or accessible portion.
The words Assyria, Babylon, Edom, in the Old Testament, mean typically the enemies of the Jews in the last days. For, first, the passages in which they are used often exceed in import