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eousness ;) subsequently they exhibit their natural character, that of destroying all human claims to righteousness; and as this character is further developed they show their tendency to carry into effect the action of the law; the necessity of establishing a righteousness under the law evolving legal principles, by which all pretensions to such righteousness must be tried. These legal principles appear at first in a modified, harmless shape, or comparatively so—the law being brought down to a hurnan standard. The subject is not affected because its claims do not appear to meet his case; or if they do, the consequences of what he esteems his imperfections are not esteemed important. The principle of unmitigated justice being carried out, the law asserts its rights. He that offends in one point is guilty of all; (James ii. 10.) The locust now possesses the scorpion's sting—the sinner is convinced not only of a destitution of righteousness, but also of absolute transgression—not only negatively unworthy of reward, but positively deserving of punishment. Conscious of guilt, he now desires annihilation, if it were possible—men seek death, but cannot find it. Still the necessity of an atonement is not yet developed.
Thus far self-justification only is exhibited as hopeless. The next futile attempt is that of providing an atonement by earthly or human means of propitiation. Here the Second Wo proceeds to try the fallacy of such pretensions, under the figure of the action of a great earthly river—an object of human vainglorious reliance, but in effect a more severe instrument of torture, or trial, than the preceding.
The action of the elements, doctrinal messengers (angels) of the Euphratean system of atonement, as soon as let loose, or developed, results in the exhibition of an overwhelming multitude of principles, proving to be not only instruments of torture, but absolutely of death, or destruction to the elements of the earthly sytem. As we may suppose the case of a disciple, who being driven from the hope of justifying himself, falls back upon the hope of atoning for himself, as the only remaining means of eternal life. If this hope also be taken away there is left for him no prospect but that of death-eternal death. So these emanations from the great river Euphrates, kill by the fire, by the smoke, and by the sulphur, from their mouths ; that is, by the revelation, or development, of their true character; as any sufficient atonement for himself, to be wrought out by the sinner, must result in the exaction of his eternal punishment—his utter destruction. And as we sometimes say of a murderer about to be executed, that he must atone by undergoing this capital punishment for the crime he has committed,—his atonement (even to human law) does not save his life, but absolutely costs the whole of it. So the claims of divine justice can be satisfied with nothing less than the eternal death of the sinner ; a truth apparently typified by the rule of the legal dispensation, adopted and acted upon almost by the common consent of mankind, “Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” And this even when the blood has been innocently shed, as in the case of the man-slayer, for whom there was no safety but in a city of refuge.
$ 257. While the locusts from the abyss and the horsemen from the Euphrates are thus showing the condemned and hopeless condition of the sinner—destitute of merit, and absolutely obnoxious to the wrath of God, the two witnesses of Jesus are testifying of him—testifying however as in sackcloth, under the disadvantage of a legal construction—and finally, under this disadvantage, are overcome by the principle of self, (as we assume it for the present to be,) emanating from the bottomless system—at the same time the external or ordinary sense of the portion of divine revelation pertaining to the worship of God, (the court,) as well as of the portion pertaing to the means of salvation, (the city,) is under the control of Gentile misconstruction—shackled and fettered by a self-righteous and legal spirit of interpretation. The prophesying of the two witnesses however, although under the disadvantage named, co-operates in carrying into effect the second wo; showing, at least, the inability of man to atone for himself; as we may imagine revealed truth to be so set forth, by human preaching, as to exhibit only the sinner's desperate condition, without distinctly pointing out to him his only refuge—the true way of salvation.
Simultaneously also, days months and years being all apocalyptically equivalent figures, these two witnesses may appear in two different lights, when contemplated in different positions. Out of the Sodomitish Egyptian city of the crucifixion, these witnesses or elements prophesy the truth, but they do it in sackcloth, or under a misconstruction. In the city, or in this system, they are in effect a mere dead letter—their testimony does not even go to convince the sinner of his need of redemption. He is not tormented or tried by the contemplation even of the elements of divine justice. So one who receives the Scriptures in their literal sense only, and in a very accommodating sense too, having convinced himself that they contain nothing solemnly important, rejoices over their dead bodies, * as no longer capable of occasioning an uneasiness of conscience. This anti-evangelical city may be thus supposed to represent a refinement of the earthly system, in which the two witnesses (the old and new dispensations) are mere dead bodies ; while out of this system, in a position where there is a greater prevalence of truth, although of truth amalgamated with error, they are living witnesses, but in sackcloth. In both cases, however, the same change brings a remedy for both evils. The restoration of the spiritual sense to the elements of revelation in the city, is followed immediately by the manifestation of their entire spirituality; and subsequently to this manifestation they can no longer prophesy in sackcloth, either in or out of the city ; while the same manifestation shows the inconsistency of the city system with the true worship of God. Here, however, the development of the second wo stops—the temple of God, or true medium of worship, is not yet exhibited, nor is the Holy City, the true means of salvation, yet represented. For a sight of these we must prepare ourselves under the exhibition of the third wo—not that this exhibition is a wo to man, but that it is a wo to the false principles of worship, and to the principles of the false means of salvation, represented as dwellers upon the earth. The exhibition of truth bring a wo to the elements of falsehood, as the delusion and exposure of that which is false is the triumph or exhibition of the victory of truth—and especially, we may add, of revealed truth.
* The spectators, termed they of the people Rev. xi. 9,"lx rõr lawv, n.t... apparently opposites of those rejoicing over the dead bodies, are not supposed to represent the aggregate of all people, nations, &c.; but, as the preposition fx implies, they constitute a body chosen or taken out from among the nations, kindreds, &c.: as Acts xv. 14, “Simeon hath declared how GOD at the first did visit the Gentiles, (nations,) to take out of them a people for his name,"_.aßtiv 15 i Ivūv kaór, %.t.h.,
V. 15. And the seventh angel sounded; Και ο έβδομος, άγγελος εσάλπισε, και and there were great voices in heaven, εγένοντο φωναι μεγάλαι εν τω ουρανώ, λέsaying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms) of our Lord, and youtes lyéveto Bacideia toữ xóquou tou of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever κυρίου ημών και του Χριστού αυτού, και and ever.
βασιλεύσει εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων. .
$ 258. “And the seventh angel sounded.'—This is commonly called the last wo trumpet, but we are not to expect an exhibition of the wo immediately upon the sounding of the trumpet. It is something to appear in the course of that sounding, or it may be that the development or revelation of the trumpet, taken altogether as a whole, constitutes the wo.
« Behold the third wo,” it was said in the last verse, "cometh quickly;" but this quickly we suppose is not to be applied in a literal sense to time. The wo is to come suddenly, and the revelation has now reached that stage when it is just about being made. In the relation to be given, however, there may be some preliminary matter to be attended to first.
"And there were great voices in heaven.'-The apostle still retains his heavenly position, and is consequently a witness to the exultation prevailing there, in anticipation of the manifestation of truth now about being made. These voices in heaven perform the part of a chorus, their acclamations indicating the character of the scenes to follow. This verse, together with the remainder of the chapter, as far as the 18th verse, giving the description of a prelude to the change of scene, commencing at the 19th verse. During the exhibition of the scorpion-locusts of the Euphratean horsemen, and of the witnesses, the apostle's attention had been directed to the contemplation of earthly objects ; he is now to be the spectator for a season, as we find from the next chapter, of heavenly things ; as if privileged with an insight to a certain degree into the counsels of the Most High ; and for this exhibition the prelude under consideration is to prepare him. . · The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, ' (or of his anointed ;) and he shall reign for ever and ever.'— This we may consider the announcement of the subject to be revealed by the voice of this trumpet ; the unfolding of the mystery of God as declared to the prophets is now to be completed, (Rev. x. 7 ;) it is to be manifested that the kingdoms of the world are subordinate to that of Christ. The various systems of salvation of human invention are all to be exhibited as in subjection to that one system, or economy, of which Christ is the chief, or rather of which God in Christ is the chief; the announcement being equivalent to the description of the coming of the end, 1 Cor. xv. 24–28; which as a matter in futuro applies, as we have before observed, to the manifestation of the fact, and not to the existence itself of the fact. The exulting language of these voices reminds us that the exhibition spoken of as a wo to the inhabitants of the earth is equally represented as a cause of rejoicing to the dwellers in heaven.
$ 259. A kingdom is that system, economy, or state of things, in which there is a sovereignty, or rule, of one chief over a class subject to that sovereignty ; this state of subjection implying in the subject a state of dependence upon the chief; and in the chief, a right or power of ownership, in respect to the subject. Such were the monarchies of ancient times; and such are some of them still in eastern countries.
The kingdom of God is that state of things in which God is the sovereign and man the subject ; in which man's dependence upon God is entire, and God's ownership of man complete. A being independent of the sovereign is no longer a subject;—if man be in any way independent of God, he cannot be a subject of God. If man, therefore, were independent of God for liis eternal salvation, he could not be a subject of the kingdom of God. Man, having any rights over which God has no control, could not be entitled the creature or property of God ;-man having any right of his own to eternal life could not, so far, be the property of God. The essential principle then of the kingdom of God is, that man is entirely dependent upon God for all things, either for time or for eternity ;—that man has no right or claim of his own, nor can have such in any way, either to this life or to that which is to come. God has a right to do with his creatures, or with his property, as he pleases; his right of ownership is as perfect in respect to rational beings as in respect to irrational ;-as perfect with regard to matters of the soul, or mind, as with regard to those of body, or of material substances. Nor could this be otherwise ; for if man were independent of God in any way, in that way he would be under no obligation to serve him. If man had a right to eternal life, or could establish that right by any merit or claim of his own, he would have no call for gratitude even for that greatest possible good. If he were saved by his own merits, or by any