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However this may be, the time is most critical, the subject heart-stirring : and it calls aloud on each individual for self-examination, watchfulness, and prayer. In the very fact of there being now brought upon the scene all together, visibly before the eyes of men, those three spirits of the Dragon, the False Prophet, and the Beast Antichrist, that for eighteen centuries have successively or together withstood the Gospel, an intellectual interest is given to the times we live in very extraordinary. How much greater their spiritual interest ! The solemn warning voice which follows the text, “Behold I come as a thief ; blessed is he that keepeth his garments, that he may not walk naked and his shame appear,”—suitable as it is to every age of the Church, appears now doubly so : when the spirits of delusion are thus abroad, the night thus far spent, and the cry raised by so many, as almost to answer to the voice in the prophetic text, that the day,--the day of Christ's coming,– is at hand.' Watch, it says, especially to his ministers
4. In the " Monde Primitif comparé avec le Monde Moderne," by M. Court de Gebelin, Paris, 1781, the author thus writes, p. 181. "Nous venons de voir que les Armoires de la Guyenne sont un leopard, celles des Celtes (surtout les Belgiques) étoient un lion, et celles des Francs un crapaud. Le crapaud designe les marais dont sortirent les Francs.” And again, p. 195 : "La Cosmographie de Munster (Liv. ii.) nous a transmis un fait trés remarquable dans ce genre. Marcomir, roi des Francs, ayant penetré de la Westphalie dans le Tongre, vit en songe une figure à trois têtes, l'une de lion, l'autre d'aigle, la troisième de crapaud. Il consulta là dessus, ajoute on, un celèbre Druide de la contrée, appellé Al Runus : et celuici l'assura que cette figure designoit les trois puissances qui auroient regné successivement sur les Gaules : les Celtes dont le symbole étoit le lion, les Romains designés par l'aigle, et les Francs par le crapaud, à cause de leurs marais."
5. In the 6th century, xlvi, of the Prophecies of Nostra Damus (p. 251) translated by Garencières, (London, 1672,) there occurs the following verse :
Un juste sera un exil envoyé
Roi retirant à la rane et à l'aigle. On which De Garencières observes ; “By the eagle he meaneth the Emperor ; by the frog the King of France: for before he took the flower de luce the French bore three frogs."
6. I may add that in the article on Heraldry in the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, there occurs the following : “ Paulus Æmilius blazons the arms of France, Argent three Diadems Gules. Others say they bear three tvads sable in a field vert (ap. Gwyllim, c. I.): which if ever they did, it must have been before the existence of the present rules.”
Rom. xiii. 12, 14.—1 here wish so to take the expression Christ's coming in a certain latitude of meaning, as to include the voice of many who may yet VOL. IV.
and watchmen of the temple : 1 for his coming is near; and he expects his servants to be awake at their posts, and looking out for his appearing !? Watch, that thou put not off, like the slothful indecorous slumberer, 3 or one drugged into sleep by the poison-draught of some spirit of delusion, thy garments of righteousness and salvation : 4 those garments which, as Christ first gave them, so He requires that He find thee never stripped of them :-lest, perceiving thee naked, He shut thee out from his heavenly temple and kingdom ; 6 and thy spiritual nakedness and shame be exposed before the world !? not be expecting his personal manifestation, or the great judgment of quick and deal. So, for example, Dr. Arnold. Christ, he says, is to come again after his resurrection in three different senses :- 1st, and in the highest sense, when this world shall end, and we shall rise to judgment; 2ndly, when individually we each receive Christ's call at death ; 3rdly, when He comes to bring on the whole earth, or on some one or more nations, (as on Jerusalem at the time of its destruction by the Romans,) a great season of suffering and judgment. And then he adds, that to all of us now living it may be said that both in the 1st sense He may come in this generation, as we know not the times and seasons which the Father hath in his own power; and also that in the 3rd He may come to us in this generation;" "there not being wanting signs which make it probable that He will so come."-So too Archdeacon (now Bishop) S. Wilberforce in a late Charge.
1 I thus particularize, because many expositors, with Vitringa, think there is an allusion in the text to the Jewish custom of the Prefect of the Temple going his rounds at night, to see that the watchmen there were awake at their posts.
2 Compare Luke xii. 35; “Let your loins be girded, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like men waiting for their lord : " 2 Peter ii. 12; “looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God :" &c.
3 Though the Eastern habits are in many respects different from our own, yet they have very much the European custom of putting off day-clothes on lying down to sleep at night, and putting on the loose and exposed night-dress. This is alluded to figuratively in Rom. xiii. 12; “It is high time to awake out of sleep. . . The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light:"--or as he says verse 14, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Again 1 Thess v. 8: “Let us who are of the day be sober; (and watch, verse 6 ;) putting on the breastplate of faith and hope, and for a helmet the hope of salvation."
The need of attention to the avoidance of spiritual self-exposure, was strikingly symbolized to the Israelites in the charges given about outward decency: as Deut. xxiii. 14 ; " The Lord God walketh in the midst of the camp; therefore shall thy camp be holy; that He see no nakedness (so the Hebrew) in thee.” Also Exod. xxviii. 42; a passage referred to by Daubuz.
Isa. xli. 10. $ Apoc. iii. 18; Because thou knowest not that thou art poor and naked, I counsel thee to buy of me white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.”
6 As the slumbering watchman of the Temple would be excluded ; or as the man that wanted the wedding garment.
7 So in the case of the watchman of the temple thrust out in his nightclothes.-I might add, that in case of detected unfaithfulness in the wife, estposure was one of the punishments sometimes inflieted. So Hosea ii. 3: “Let her put away her whoredoms ; lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born," &c. But the idea of the marriage relation does not seem to be referred to in the verse before us,
§ 2.—THE SECOND FLYING ANGEL.
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the spirit of her fornication.” Apoc. xiv. 8.
We have been hitherto directing our attention to the progressive fulfilment of the prefigurations on the Part within-written of the Apocalyptic scroll ; a Part containing the main stream of its prophecy. With regard to those of the supplemental Part without-written, it does not need any lengthened observations of mine to prove that during the last twelve or fifteen years we have advanced from the fulfilment of its visions of the first herald Angel, flying in mid-heaven with the everlasting Gospel (or rather from the beginning of its fulfilment, as the subsequent Angels must be regarded as not superseding, but only following in the wake of their predecessors,)—I say from the vision of this first herald Angel to that of the second: which second Angel next appeared to St. John flying through mid-heaven, with a cry partially at least anticipative (such the context proves it) of the doomed and near impending utter fall of the mystic Babylon ;-of Babylon " which had made all the nations to drink of the wine of its fornication.” The fact of such a voice having been raised very powerfully and influentially of late years amongst us is notorious ; as well as the occasion and proximate cause which led to it. Just as the apparently irresistible outbreak of infidelity at the first French Revolution, was the occasion
1 Avuou.—Daubuz conceives the word Oumov to mean poison : as the Septuagint renders the Hebrew on not only by words signifying wrath, but poison ; e. g. in Deut. xxxii. 24, 33, Job xx. 16, vi. 4, Psalm lviii. 4:--because an animal's anger and his poison are both in the gall; and moreover when he is angry the poison is discharged.
? For a prefiguration of the harvest and vintage follow in the same series, presently after; of which one or both are by almost all interpreters, I believe, explained as judgments connected with the destruction of Babylon. In the same way, “ Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” is said in Isaiah xxi. 9 anticipatively of the fall of the ancient Babylon.
of the lifting up of the standard of the everlasting Gospel under the Holy Spirit's direction to oppose it, so, on that extraordinary revival of Papal energy and influence among us, which in 1829 brought about the concession of the Roman Catholic claims, just a little while since observed on by me, and which has ever since continued rampant, the thoughts, inquiries, and protesting voice and energies of many of God's servants were aroused to denounce the abominations, and expose the true character and doom of Rome, the mystic Babylon, so as laid down in sacred Scripture. And thus both in 1827 the Reformation Society arose, with this distinct object in view, and afterwards the Protestant Association : and men of true Christian self-devotedness gave themselves to the work ;' with admirable effect in enlightening the previous exceeding ignorance, and stirring up the previous exceeding apathy, of their Protestant fellow-countrymen on the subject.—Besides which the study of prophecy from nearly about the same time began to be taken up more generally and earnestly than before ; and its representations respecting Babylon and its harlot Church, in regard both of the past and the future, increasingly discussed and understood : even the day-day Popedom-favouring views of Apocalyptic prophecy, urged by certain Expositors during the period spoken of, only serving, as I am persuaded, to make the fitness of the application to Papal Rome of its descriptions and denunciations of Babylon stand out ultimately in broader daylight.— Moreover, the circumstance of Papal priests and emissaries having in the meanwhile almost dogged the steps of our Protestant missionaries, in every country and district whither these latter might previously have carried the everlasting Gospel, has necessarily forced a protesting cry against Rome and the Papacy there also : a cry that, from the nature of things, and the signs
1 Need I specify names ? To these persons, as well as to those who have united to act out the vision of the first Angel flying abroad with the everlasting Gospel, Christendom owes, I conceive, a large debt of gratitude.
2 The missions of the Church Missionary Society, for example, can testify to
already visible of a coming conflict, is sure to wax louder and louder.
So that, on the whole, the fulfilment, —at least the commencing fulfilment,-of this vision must be allowed, I think, to have become now clearly marked. — And to myself, let me be permitted to add, the fulfilment appears the more remarkable, from the circumstance of my having, some twenty years ago, on the first direction of my mind to prophetic studies, been led to doubt the intended application of the vision of the first flying Angel to the evangelic missions and Bible diffusion then in progress, (striking beyond all former precedent, as the parallel of this era of missions and the prefigurative vision otherwise appeared,)" by the exceeding improbability, as I deemed it, if not impossibility, of any thing subsequently occurring to answer to the vision of the second Angel ;– that is, of any such solemn earnest cry of protestation as it prefigured being raised against Rome and Popery, either in England or among the heathen, under the circumstance of the fallen, hopelessly-fallen state, as it then appeared, of the Popedom.? As it is, the progressing fulfilment of this vision at the present time does but add striking confirmation to the interpretation above alluded to of that which precedes it: --and just the very confirmation that it needed. .
I have only to suggest, in conclusion, how, while the mingling voices are heard on the one hand of these two angels, or of the gospel-preaching and the anti-papal
1 Compare the historical applications of this primary Angel given by Daubuz, Bishop Newton, and Vitringa :-Daubuz explaining it of the evangelical preachers of the end of the 4th century, especially Augustine and Vigilantius, who both urged Pagans, he says, to come into the Church, and protested against the corruptions commencing within it; Newton of the preachings and protest of the Frankfort Council and doctors of the time of Charlemagne (his object being to make Waldo's and the Waldensians' protest the second angel) ; Vitringa of the preaching of the earliest Doctors of the Reformation, especially Luther:-Even in the case of Vitringa's interpretation, (which Mr. Bickersteth follows) how comparatively inapt as a fulfilment of the prefiguration, “ I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people," &c.
? Luther however had expected it. In his Colloq. Mensal. p. 89, he says : “ The world will help the Popedom up again, through neglect and despising of its privileges : then will follow soon the day of judgment.”
3 I might now (Oct. 1845) perhaps say, of the three Angels. See Note p. 73. 2nd Ed.