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this is a description of the state and glory of the spirits of the just made perfect in heaven. Such a view of that state is most delightful to the church in all ages; but especially to the saints just entering the scenes of tribulation then about to be inflicted on the Roman earth, in which good people would not fail of having some painful participation. This vast company of glorified saints in heaven are presented as saying, with loud voices, "Salvation to our God, and to the Lamb." All the glory of their salvation they ascribe alike to the Father, and to the Son whom they worship as God.

Ver. 11. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

12. Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

The angels are here noted as distinct from the saints in glory, as standing round the throne, and round the elders, and the four living creatures, and prostrating themselves before God in the most profound adoration and worship. They are the guardian spirits of the saints: as says inspiration, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation?"

Ver. 13. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

16. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

17. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

One of the elders calls the attention of John to this heav

enly company; asking who, and whence they were? that their character and state might be thus drawn out, and exhibited. John refers the question to the interrogator, who himself gives the reply. And the remark, "These are they that came out of great tribulation," may have an emphatic allusion to the martyrs, who had suffered in the ten pagan persecutions. But it must be viewed as including all martyrs in every age; with all the glorified saints in heaven, from first to last; especially before the Millennium. The description substantially applies to all in the world of glory, inasmuch as it is a general fact, that "through many tribulations the people of Christ enter into the kingdom of heaven." The veil of heaven seems to be drawn aside, not to exhibit here things done on earth, as in most of this prophecy; but to exhibit the glorious state of the saints above. Angels are distinctly given in their own names; as are also the elders, and the four living creatures; denoting the church on earth, and her ministers. But, distinct from all these, we find a company of the human race described as in glory;-a great multitude, that no man could number, of all nations, kindreds and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and holding palm-branches, as emblems of victory, in their hands. This view of the redeemed in glory is most kindly given as an antidote to the church on earth against the terrors through which she would have to pass, in days of persecutions, and in all the trials of life. It was designed to operate as a needful support and consolation to the people of God, from that time to the end of the world. This description was designed to excite their alacrity in obedience, and in sufferings for Christ's sake; and it should extinguish at once all the vain hopes of men who are not willing thus to endure tribulation for their Lord; but whose economy it is to slide round every cross, and to make their way through life without having to endure any thing for him who died for them! Such fearful

and self-pleasing souls are not in the way to be prepared to unite in the songs of those hosts in glory. It would seem rather, that should they be admitted among the ranks of those glorified ones, they would be ashamed of themselves. Whatever descriptions of the glorified saints are found in the sacred oracles, they may be viewed as receiving their finishing touch in our text. We have here their perfect holiness, denoted by their white robes, and by their being washed in the blood of atonement; and they are sat

isfied in God's likeness, in that perfect love which casteth out fear. Their victory is exhibited by their palm-branches in their hands; and they are presented before the throne, beholding God in Christ, and shouting their loud and united praises for redeeming love and salvation. Their perfect services have no interruption of night; nor any alloy in that temple of unfading glory. Hunger, thirst, and every calamity known on earth, are now for ever banished; while they enjoy the presence and fulness of God. Jesus Christ, in the midst of the throne, feeds them with his heavenly treasures; leading them unto fountains of living waters; and wiping all tears from their eyes. In these figurative strokes, every thing is included which heaven can afford: -things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath ever entered the conceptions of man.

Let the saints in this world of trials, often turn to this description, and be exceedingly joyful in all their tribulations. May it set their souls on a holy fire, and lead the children of God to triumph over the world, over sin and Satan, and every foe; while they most diligently pursue the path of duty. Let timorous souls gird up the loins of their minds, and be bold soldiers of the cross for Christ and the great salvation! for in due time all shall reap who faint not..


Seventh Seal.

Ver. 1. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

This seal was not, like its predecessors, to contain some precise event; but it was to contain all the trumpets, or seven successive judgments, which would occupy the time following the sixth seal; or from about the middle of the fourth century, to the battle of the great day, and the Millennium.

The silence in heaven of half an hour, upon the opening of this seal, may denote the awe and the suspense occasioned by the expectation of great things; but which were not yet discovered. Place yourself before a scene about to be opened, though now hid from your sight. Suppose your expectations to be highly raised relative to the things next to be exhibited. After a little waiting, the curtains are drawn aside; but you at first perceive no definite object;

yet are confident something will soon be presented. What would be your state? It would be a state of breathless silence! no motion, no whisper, no loud breathing! So it is in our text: and half a prophetic hour passes in this silent suspense without being able to learn what is to be exhibited. What is here implied?-that something great was soon to burst upon their sight; also that it was something not to be soon finished, as were the scenes of the antecedent seals; but should occupy a length of time. The distinct series of things of nearly 1600 years, was then about to commence; and no wonder that half an hour should be devoted to breathless silence and anxious expectations, before any thing distinct should be presented.

Ver. 2. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

This silent interval was succeeded by the coming forth of seven angels, to each of whom was given a trumpet, an emblem of the judgment which was to be by him executed. But, previously to the first of these angels commencing his work of judgment, a bright representation was to be given of the reality and the prevalence of the intercession of Christ for the saints; and of the acceptableness of their prayers thus perfumed, and their prevalence with God.

Ver. 3. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

4. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

5. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

This figure alludes to what we have in the ceremonial law, Ex. xxx. 1-10, where God demanded an altar of incense to be made, like a table, twenty-two inches square, and forty-four inches high, of the most durable wood, such as composed the ark of the covenant, that type of Christ. This altar should be overlaid with pure gold; and hence it is called in our text the golden altar; and it was placed

"before the veil that was by the ark of the covenant in the holy place." The priests of old were here to make atonement once a year, by putting the blood of the sin-offering upon it; and he also should burn incense upon it every morning and evening, at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice. We find here prefigured both the necessity and the acceptableness of the blood, and the intercession of our heavenly High Priest, who has entered for his people into heaven, there to intercede, having once shed his blood for them. Jesus Christ, then, is this other angel in the text, who, in allusion to that ancient type, is noted as coming and standing by this golden altar, on which he of fers much incense, with the prayers of the saints before the throne of God, where the perfume of the incense rises with these prayers to render them acceptable to God. This figure is full of salvation and joy to the true people of God; who are here assured of the way of access to him, and the acceptance with him of their prayers and gracious services, through the blood and intercession of Christ. It is here implied, that the prayers and services of fallen man, performed without an entire reliance on Christ, must be of God rejected. Verily, that golden altar, with its services, was a rich shadow of good things to come,—of the salvation in Christ for all the broken in heart. The penitent, guilty soul may here venture, with humble boldness, to the throne of grace. A view of the prevalence of such prayers and intercessions follows:-Christ casts to the earth, with his censer, coals from that golden altar where the prayers of the saints had thus been perfumed; and voices, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake follow! which scene denotes the judgments then about to commence under the trumpets; and more remotely, all the judgments with which God would vindicate his cause against his enemies; these would be in answer to the prayers of his people for the salvation of Zion. The following words of Christ illustrate this scene; "And shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry unto him day and night, though he bear long with them? I tell you, he will avenge them speedily." What is said of the two witnesses, also illustrates this scene: "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not; and have power to smite the earth with all plagues as oft as they will." See also Ps. cxlix. 6-9; Rev. ii. 26, 27. This figure assures us of the prevalence with God of Christian prayers, to protect against the enemies of our holy religion. And the way is now prepared to commence the judgments of the seven trumpets.

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