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tinct, that have been exhibited in these verses, each one of us must for ever reside: with the Lamb we shall enter into the heavenly Jerusalem, and adore ..him that was slain; or with the followers of the beast shall undergo tortures unspeakable and interminable. Life and death, the blessing and the curse, are set before you: choose then between them. Should you hesitate for a moment in this choice? "Who can dwell in everlasting flames: who can lie down in eternal burnings?" Who so base, so ignoble in his aims and feelings, so mad, as to renounce the sublime delights that are offered to him by his Saviour? Alas! there are many such; in vain is the everlasting gospel preached to them; they slumber on, and are unaffected alike by the terrors and the mercies of God. Pity them, Christians; pray for them; supplicate God that grace may touch their hearts, before death and judgment, and the quenchless fire, and the never-dying worm, awake them, alas! too late. By the tests that are contained in this chapter, decide to which of these worlds you are hastening; have you the impress of God? Is it pleasant to you to praise the Lamb? Do you cleave to him, obey him, cheerfully suffer for him, rest on his atonement, and feel his Spirit within you, the seal and the earnest of heaven? If so, rejoice in the prospects of glory; tremble not at persecution and danger; shrink not from death: all your sorrows will soon and gloriously terminate.
But if you have hitherto been careless, I cry to you, immortal souls, to awake! By the love and agonies of the Lamb that was slain; by the splendours of that crown which is offered to you; by all that is touching or terrifying in that book of God which is preached to you; by the despair, the
shrieks, the execrations, of the lost; by the smoke of their torments ever rising; by the chains of darkness which fetter them; I entreat, and in the name of God, and at the peril of your souls, I command you, no longer to sport with your Creator, your Judge, your Redeemer; no longer to trifle with your eternal interests!
LECTURES ON THE APOCALYPSE.
REVELATION, CHAP. XIV. 14-20.
In the greater part of our lectures on this mystic book, we have found the works of God in providence shedding light on his predictions, and history beautifully commenting on prophesy. This is not the case with the verses which now claim your attention. They relate to events that are still future. All that we can do, is to point out in a general manner the great objects which they announce; leaving to our descendants, who shall live during the time of their fulfilment, a more particular explanation of them. From their position in the series of prophetic visions,
we know that they refer to the destruction of Antichrist, and designate two of the principal means whereby his authority shall be overthrown, and the holy and spiritual kingdom of the Redeemer be universally established. These are compared to a harvest, succeeded by a tremendous vintage; figures which, as we shall see, are very frequently employed by the sacred writers.
He who produces these great effects, is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, that mighty Redeemer, who is head over all things to his church; who guards its interests; and who regulates the concerns of earth. St. John "looked, and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." The symbols are all here plain and intelligible: he is on a cloud, the chariot of the divinity, the token of his presence when he comes to execute works of power. It is white, to express the purity, majesty, and righteousness of his dispensations. Even when he appears terrible to the wicked, bringing calamities and gloom upon them, he is glorious in the view of his church. He who was truly man, who so often styled himself the Son of man, appears to the beloved disciple in the same splendour in which, as Son of man, he was seen by Daniel, in that striking vision contained in his seventh chapter. He wears a crown, to denote his sovereign dominion, as Lord of all; not one like that which, in profane mockery, was placed upon his head on earth, but formed of rays of glory infinitely brighter than the lustre of the seraph. This is the manner in which we shall see him, when he shall come in power and glory to judge the world, to judge us: thus shall all behold him at the last great day. Appearing now for a par
ticular purpose, he has a sharp sickle, to indicate that he is going forth to some remarkable harvest.
Then another angel came out of the temple," from the divine presence, “crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap; reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle, and the earth was reaped.' Jesus does every thing according to the will of his Father: he accomplishes the eternal purposes at the period appointed for their fulfilment; and the angels are joyful ministers, ready to fly to execute the commandments of God.
But what is meant by reaping the harvest? Is this an act of vengeance on the enemies of the Redeemer, preparatory to the dreadful vintage? or, is it an act of mercy to the church, betokening a large accession of converts to the Redeemer? Both sentiments have been ingeniously maintained; both have been supported by the natural and proper use of this figure in the scriptures. And why may not both sentiments be united? Why may not this harvest be at once a work of judgment and mercy, resembling that pillar of fire and cloud, which, though dark and terrible to the Egyptians, was luminous and cheerful to the Israelites? It is certain that, by the figure of a harvest, sometimes judgments on the enemies of God are expressed. Thus the calamities that were to be brought upon Babylon by the armies of Cyrus, are foretold: (Jer. li. 33.) “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor, it is time to thresh her yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come." Thus Joel, (iii. 13.) speaking of terrible punishments to be inflicted on the heathens, says, "Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest
is ripe: come, get ye down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great." On the other hand, when Jeremiah says, "The harvest is past, and we are not saved," he evidently means by this term a period of peculiar mercy, and special opportunities of securing salvation. In a very similar sense the figure is used by our blessed Lord, when he says: "The harvest truly is plenteóus, but the labourers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." And both ideas are explicitly included by our Redeemer in Matt. xiii. when illustrating the parable of the tares: "The harvest is the end of the world, the reapers are the angels, they shall gather the tares to be burned in the fire, and the wheat to be laid up in the heavenly world." This then is the harvest; at once an act of judgment and of mercy. The angel whom we have beheld flying through heaven, shall see the everlasting gospel which he preaches, not to be inefficacious. To some it will prove the savour of death unto death," and from its neglect, those who despised it, shall sink under judgment. To others, it will be "the savour of life unto life," and they, abandoning errors and superstitions, will cleave to the Redeemer. In both modes, the empire of Antichrist will be shaken, and his fall be hastened.
But the vintage that succeeds has no character of mildness; every trait marks terror, and the punishment of the guilty. Those who have not been led to flee from the errors and superstitions of the mystical Babylon; those who have not listened to the monitory voice, "Come out of her, my people, and be ye separate;" shall sink under the divine indignation. The treading of the wine-press has an uni