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her adultery, like the bond-wife of the Jewish church, but must be put to death), the true glorious bride of the Lamb, which is the New Jerusalem, with the glory of God, descendeth from above and abideth for ever. So that the little book as contradistinguished from the seven seals and seven trumpets, doth contain nothing else than the Christian form of Ezekiel's prophecy, the glory in which the church is habited at first, its departure, and therewith the departure of her honour ; its return and eternal abode upon her in the New Jerusalem for ever and ever.
Now it seemeth to me that these two ideas being combined together ; first the controversy of Christ in his church with Satan in the apostasy, for the possession of the inheritance which he hath purchased and claimed for her,—and secondly, the lamentable picture of the degradation and abandonment into which she was to fall, and utterly to perish, in order to make way for the election according to grace gathered into glory;—these two views, taken together, do, I think, contain the object and intention of the little open book, which is contained substantially in chaps. xii. xiii. xiv., and hath its last act of Babylon's destruction opened and explained in chaps. xvii. xviii
. xix. Chap. xi. is an introduction to, and summary of, its contents, yet most full of all manner of references, both to the other parts of this book, and to the other books of Scripture; answering to the dove-tailing which bind the timbers of a house, or the hooks
'a and clasps which joined the coverings and veils of the tabernacle. It presents the Church under the figure of the Holy City with its temple; all of which, except the temple itself, is for 1260 years trodden down of the Gentiles. This is throughout all Scripture the period of the little horn of the beast (Dan. vii.), that is, the Papacy. Against this profanation of the Gentiles of Christendom, two witnesses testify, clothed in sackcloth, which are the two olive-trees and candlesticks of Zechariah. Now Zechariah the prophet is chiefly taken up with the fate of Jerusalem and its temple, almost from the beginning to the ending of his prophecy. As the Schechinah of glory is the key to Ezekiel, so the building and condition of Jerusalem is the key to Zechariah. This is shewn in the introduction to the book (chap. i. ver. 19; chap. ii.) answering to Rev. xi. 1; in Zech. ii. iv. we have the two witnesses, Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel, prophesying in the midst of the city trodden down by Babylon, and occupied with the re-edification of the temple ; answering to Rev. xi. 3-6. Then at the conclusion of Zechariah, (chaps. xii. xiii. xiv.) we have Jerusalem reduced to great extremities, at the last; and out of the article of death, yea, out of death itself (xiv. 1, 2), she ariseth to great and eternal glory (xiv. 8-end); answering, as I conceive (in what way I say not), to that earthquake shock, and destructive beast out of the bottomless pit (Rev. xi. 13), after which great glory arriveth to the witnesses of God, and the full and free inheritance of the whole earth is by the seventh trumpet proclaimed. Now besides bringing us into conference with the prophet Zechariah, this chapter doth connect the church-history of the little book, with the trumpet-history, and, through this, with the seals. While also it doth give us the first notice of the infidel power, arising from the bottomless pit, to slay the witnesses which the Gentiles of Christendom had only clothed in sackcloth, but not in any way hurt or maimed. With respect to the xii th and xiii th chapters, they carry us directly to the viith chapter of Daniel, which is again by its times connected with the xth, xith, and xiith, and by its symbols with the viiith, and by intrinsic evidence with the iid; so that we may say, these two chapters of the Apocalypse do bring us into conference with almost the whole of Daniel. But chap. xiv. which is a regular succession of the Jewish feasts and seasons, the first-fruits, the harvest, and the vintage, doth bring us into conference with the whole Mosaic ordinances, especially with the great feasts thereof. And thus it is that this church history is written in the emblems, and full of the prophets of the former church. I have dwelt the more upon this point, in order to shew how much interwoven with the other Scriptures is this precious book of the Apocalypse, and what light it reflects upon them; and how necessary to the interpretation of it is the knowledge of God's most holy word, whereof it is as the key-stone clenching with its fine adaptation and great strength the whole fabric of the Divine testimony. That stone in the arch which serveth this end of stability and confirmation, is called the KEY-stone ; that book in the scheme of God's word which serveth the same end, is called the Apocalypse, or the key-book,
Thus, then, these streams of historical events starting from the same origin in time, the era of Constantine at the beginning of the fourth century (the time preceding containing the things that are, and the time following the things that are to be (i. 20),—this the prospect, that the being and constitution of the church), namely, the seven seals realized in the Western, the seven trumpets realized in the Eastern Roman Empire, and the little open book realized partly in both, and because the Eastern church came early to its end, chiefly in the West,—these three coeval and collateral streams of events, coming down through nearly 1500 years, do reunite in the last great catastrophe of the seventh seal, seventh trumpet, and seven vials, which bring destruction direful and complete upon the infidel government and apostate church, the beast and false prophet of Christendom. This event of consummate destruction is contained in the xv th and xvi th chapters as to the order of it, and further opened as to the particulars of Babylon's destruction in chi xvii. and xviii.; and as to the particulars of the beast's destruction in ch. xix. from ver. 11. But the intervening verses at the beginning of ch. xix. do shew us how, when the adulterous mother of harlots is removed with the besom of destruction, the true church and pure bride of Christ prepares herself to come down from heaven and take possession ; but first her Lord must come forth as the Man of War, according to the order of that Epithalamium or marriage song the xlv th Psalm, according to the order also of that song of triumphal entry into the everlasting habitation of the New Jerusalem and its holy temple, the xxivth Psalm. And the rest of the book contained in ch. xx. xxi. xxii. are the marriage consummated, the New Jerusalem possessed. But this last vision casts so much light upon the whole purpose of God, being its glorious consummation, that we deem it right to include it under a fifth head of the subject matter of the book.
5. The fifth great division of the subject-matter of this book is the consummation to which all the rest doth tend. The title, “ Revelation of Jesus Christ;" the exordium, “ Behold he cometh with clouds," &c. ; the first vision whereof every promise made by the Spirit to the churches looketh to a state of things upon the earth at or after his coming, and in his kingdom; the seven-sealed book, which is the title-deeds of the inheritance of the earth ; the seven trumpets, which is Christ's consuming wrath upon the usurpers of it ; the little book, which is the controversy with Antichrist for the possession of it ;-all these have no meaning, but in the anticipation and foreview of this fifth act of revelation, which is contained in the last three chapters of the book, and is looked forward to and held out in every promise whatsoever which the book contains, and I may say which Scripture contains from the beginning to the ending of it. And what then is this most excellent of all the revelations of God? It is the exhibition of the redeemed earth under the govern. ment and administration of the Redeemer, and the Redeemer's bride the New Jerusalem, which is his church, the election according to grace, the martyrs, the witnesses, the saints great and small, who have not forsaken the law of their God, but overcome the enemies of God and of the Lamb. Blessed consummation of this weary and sorrowful world! I give it welcome, I hail its approach : I wait its coming more than they that watch for the morning. Over the wrecks of a world I weep; over broken hearts of parents, over suffering infancy, over the unconscious clay of sweet innocents, over the untimely births who have never seen the light; or have just looked upon it, and shut their eyes for a season, until the glorious light of the resurrection-morn. Oh, my Lord, come away. Hasten with thy congregated ones. My soul desireth to see the King in his beauty, and the beautiful ones whom he shall bring along with him ; when I shall see these sweet babes, snatched from a parent's weeping eyes, and a parent's sorrowful, yet joyful heart. " Sorrow not as others which have no hope, for those which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
Now, this consummation of all our hopes, and conclusion of all our trials, in which I so greatly rejoice, is set forth, as it seems to me, under two aspects ; the one looking unto the governed, the other unto the governors ; the one describing the condition of the earth and the nations upon it, the other describing the condition of the New Jerusalem and the raised saints which are therein ; the one revealing Christ as King of men in flesh and
blood, sitting on David's throne, and from thence ruling all thrones and dominions of men,—the other revealing Christ as Head and Husband of the church in the New Jerusalem, dwelling with his bride, Immanuel, God with
Which division to exhibit still more distinctly, it is necessary to bear in mind, that though the earth and the nations be brought into that blessedness, every where prophesied of in Scripture as attendant on the coming of the Lord, still it is not the eternal condition of its blessedness, but an intermediate stage thereto, wherein Christ and his raised saints, the church, are exhibited triumphant over their enemies,-kings and priests over a subjugated world, which they bless with infinite blessings, in reward of those infinite sufferings which they endured upon it in the days of their flesh, by the glorious triumphs of grace. Yet still is the earth under the law of growth and decay, and the animals under the law of death, and man likewise, but such a death as Christ hath power over, and not the devil; a death for judgment of wickedness, for preservation of righteousness; in one word, death the executioner of the Holy King, the servant, not the monarch, of things created. While this is the state of the redeemed earth, blooming in beauty, rife with happiness, and all redolent with the holy incense of joy, such is not the state of the habitation of the redeemed, the city of the great King, the New Jerusalem, which cometh down from above, into which nothing entereth that defileth or maketh a lie, where there is no death, where God's tabernacle is with men, where is the light inaccessible and full of glory. This is the antitype of Eden, in the midst of an uncultivated yet sinless world; the antitype of the Holy of Holies, separated by an impassable veil from the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High, which is the land of Judea, and from the court of the Gentiles, which is the rest of the world no longer profaned. Here, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, whither flesh and blood cannot enter, we have God and the Lamb, and the four beasts and four-and-twenty elders (which are the church of the first-born);-in one word, we have the vision of the fourth chapter made visible or present on the earth, the reality of the heavenly court and government clothed upon with the glorious flesh of the first resurrection; all angels