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shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
As the first and second angels represent the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches of the continent, so I apprehend the third angel typifies the insular church of England; which is not professedly in all points either Lutheran or Calvinistic, and which has justly merited and obtained the glorious title of the bulwark of the Reformation.** The description, which is given of the office of the third angel, accurately corresponds with the part which the Anglican church has taken in the contest with the adherents of Popery. For more than a century after the Reformation the writings of the English divines continued to denounce the vengeance of heaven against those who still partook of the abominations of the upostate Roman beast after all the warnings which they had received; and the ablest expositors of those prophecies, which relate to the corrupt tyranny of the mystic Babylon, have been children or fathers of our national Church. Of these it will be sufficient to mention the illustrious name of Mede; who, by his successful application of many of the predictions of Daniel and St. John to Popery, loudly called upon the whole world to come out of the harlot city, lest they should “ drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”
“ Here is the patience of the saints : here are they, that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth ; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them."
* The presbyteral and Calvinistic church of Scotland must be considered as a member of the second angel, inasmuch as, although insular herself, she has derived both her discipline and doctrine from the reformed churches of the continent : while the venerable, though depressed episcopal church of Scotland, may be esteemed, in a similar manner, a member of the third angel, being the same both in doctrine and discipline as the church of England, though, so far as her present line of episcopal succession is concerned, of later origin. See Skinner's Ecclos. Hist. of Scotland. VOL. II.
Gloriously successful as the Reformation eventually was, the patience of the saints was severely exercised during its progress. It was a season of great trial and persecution : and many of them of understanding perished in trying, and in purging, and in making white, their apostate brethren.* Great was the increase which the noble army of the martyrs then received. They overcame the dragon, not by the arm of flesh, but “ by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.”+ Hence they had need of that consolatory declaration, “ Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth.” By their preaching, the gloomy fears of purgatory were dispelled; and the pious learned to build with confidence upon the assurance of the Spirit, that, whenever they depart hence and are no more seen, “ they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.”
“And I 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. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he, that sat on the cloud, thrust in his sickle on the earth : and the earth was reaped.
“ And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth ; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city; and blood came out of the winepress even unto the borse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. • Dan. xi. 35.
+ Rev, xi. 11. For the substance of these remarks upon the characters of the three angels, I am indebted to Mr. Whitaker; whose mode of interpreting this particular portion of the Apocalypse I very much prefer to that adopted by Bp. Newton. See Whitaker's Comment. p. 430-436.
Having passed the epoch of the Reformation, we now advance into the times of God's last judgments upon his enemies, the days of the third woe-trumpet. Two remarkable periods of the most conspicuous of these judgments, the several steps of the whole of which are afterwards described under the seven vials, are here arranged under two grand divisions, figuratively styled the harvest and the vintage. In the days of Bp. Newton, the third woe-trumpet had not begun to sound ; none therefore of the vials were then poured out. Hence his Lordship justly observed, “ What particular events are signified by this harvest and vintage, it appears impossible for any man to determine ; time alone can with certainty discover, for these things are yet in futurity. Only it may be observed, that these two signal judgments will as certainly come, as harvest and vintage succeed in their season ; and, in the course of providence, the one will precede the other, as, in the course of nature, the harvest is before the vintage; and the latter will greatly surpass the former, and be attended with a more terrible destruction of God's enemies."* But, although both these signal judgments were future when Bp. Newton wrote, it has been our lot to hear the voice of the third woc, and to behold in the French Revolution the dreadful scenes of the harvest. Still however a more dreadful prospect extends before us. The days of the vintage are yet future : for the time hath not yet arrived, when the great controversy of God with the nations shall be carried on between the two seas, in the neighbourhood of the glorious holy mountain, in the blood-stained vale of Megiddo, in the land whose space extends a thousand and six hundred furlongs.t
* Dissert. on Rev. xiv. † After a long consideration of the subject, I rest in the opinion of Mede, Newton, Lowman, Doddridge, and Bengelius, that the apocalyptic barvest denotes a barvest, not of mercy, but of wrath. Mr. Mede, who has elaborately and minutely discussed the point, observes, that the idea of a barvest includes three things ; the reaping of the corn, the gathering of it in, and tbe ibresbing of it: whence it is made a type in Scripture of two direct opposites ; of destruction, when the reaping and the threshing are considered ; of restitution and salvation when the in-gatbering is considered. (Comment. Apoc. in Messem.) Now the context of the apocalyptic barvest seems to me most definitely to teach us, that a barvest of judgment is intended. Throughout the whole book of Revelation, with the exception of a few passages which sufficiently explain themselves, the eartb is used as a symbol of the Roman empire pagan and papal. Upon
Such are the contents of the little book. Its several chapters, running parallel to each other in point of time, jointly furnish a complete prophetic history of the Westtern Apostacy during the whole period of the 1260 years, under all the three woe-trumpets. It principally however exhibits the corruptions of Popery under the two first woe-trumpets : the third is but briefly touched upon, and that only to prevent a break in the period of 1260 years. As the little book comprehends the whole of this period, a point which itself repeatedly insists upon, * it was ne
this earth all the vials of God's wrath are poured out, whatever subsequent distinction may be made in their effusion. (Rev. xvi. 1.) It is the vine of this eartb that is to be gathered, when her grapes are fully ripe: and it is tbe ripe barvest of this self-same earth that is to be reaped, when the time for reaping is come. Here we may note, that it is not, as in our Lord's parable (Matt. xiii. 24, 38.), said to be abe barorst of a field, which is afterwards formally explained to mean the wbole world: but, as the sickle is thrust into the earth to gather the vine of the earth, so is the sickle likewise thrust into tbe carth to reap the barvest of the earth. If then the earth mean tbe Roman empire in the case of tbe vintage, which cannot reasonably be doubted, since those that are cast into the winepress are the Roman beast, the false propbet, and tbe kings of that same earth, and since (according to the acknowledged principles of symbolical imagery) the vine of tbe carth must denote the corrupt church of the mystic Babylon, whose abominations,—whose ripe clusters of iniquity,-will eventually occasion the ruio of its supporter the secular beast (Dan. vii. 11.): if, I say, the eartó mean the Roman empire in the case of the vintage, must we not conclude from the almost studied similarity of phraseology used by the prophet, that the earth means likewise the Roman empire in the case of the barvest? And, if this be allowed, what idea can we annex to the reading of the barvest of the corrupt Roman Empire, which, like tbe grapes of that same empire, is declared to be ripe, except that of some tremendous judgment that should precede tbe vintage and more or less affect the wbole empire? In such an opinion also I am the more confirmed by finding, that a judgment about to befall Babylori
, the constant apocalyptic type of the Roman church and empire, is by Jeremiah expressly termed a barvest. (See Jerem. li. 33.) This difference indeed there is between the two prophets, that Jeremiah dwells upon the third part of ihe barvest, the thresbing ; while St. John selects the imagery of the first part, the reaping: yet I cannot but think, that the context of both passages sufficiently shews, that a barvest of judgment, not of mere
is intended. The apocalyptic barvest, by being confined to the eartb or tbe Roman empire, cannot denote either the general in-galbering of Judab and Israel, or tbe universal influx of the gentiles to the millennian church, and since, like the vintage, it is exclusively confined to the idolatrous and persecuting Roman empire, since in hoth cases the sickle is equally thrust into ibis empire ; I feel myself compelled to conclude, that, like the vintage, it denotes some signa! jułyment. This judgment I suppose to be the first part of the third wee; a wue, which must be expected to mark a period in history no less striking than the successive founding of tbe Saracenic and Turkisb empires ; a wos, which is ushered in by an event no less singular than definite, the fall of a tenth part of the great Roman city, or of one of the ten original Gorbico-Roman monarcbies by an earthquake. This judgment in short I suppose to be the borrors of the second French revolution and its immediate consequences, commencing on the 12th of August 1792, and ushered in by the fall of the monarcby both arbitrary and limited which at that time was the only one that remained of the ten original kingdoms; a revolution, which in tbore censequences, or (to opt the prophetic phraseology) during the reaping of the barvest of tb. marib, has been felt to the remotest parts of tbe Roman empire.
** See Rev. xi. 2, 3. xii. 6, 14. xiii. 5.
cessary to notice the sounding of the third woe-trumpet ; which, like its two fellows, is included in the 1260 years.* The prophet therefore does notice it, briefly informing us that it should be immedietely preceded, and as it were introduced, by a great earthquake which should occasion the fall of a tenih part of the Latin city; and that it should principally consist of two tremendous manifestations of God's wrath, two seasons of peculiar misery, the harvest and the vintage. A more particular account of these matters he reserves for future consideration under the pouring out of the seven vials : and the account itself he places, not in the little book, but in the larger book of the Apocalypse, inasmuch as it concerns not merely the western but likewise the eastern Apostacy, and affects indeed more or less even the whole world. The 15th chapter of the Revelation therefore must be considered as chronologically succeeding the 9th, the intermediate chapters being a parenthetical history of the West, and constituting what St. John terms a little book together with an introduction to it. In the 9th chapter, we have an account of the two first woes in the East : in the 15th, the prophet begins to describe the effects of the last woe. Hence it is manifest, that the intermediate space must necessarily be occupied by the little book and its introduction, · Let us now attend the prophet in his account of the effusion of the vials, which are all comprehended under the third woe, and which must be divided into three classes: the vials of the harvest, the intermediate vials, and the vial of the vintage.
* At least so far included, that six out of its seven vials are comprehended within the 1260 years. The last vial, or that which contains the season of the vintage, seems to be poured out as soon as the 1260 years expire; and it coincides with what Daniel calls the time of the end, or the period of God's great controversy with tbe nations.