Page images

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

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 this fact.

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

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.

protestation that they respectively prefigure, and, on the other, of those of the three evil spirits like frogs,—the spirits of infidelity, popery, and priestcraft, the result of the whole is to be preparing the world the better to understand the Lord's controversy with professing Christendom; and so to recognize the reason and justice of his actings, in the quickly coming battle of what is called presently after by God's own Spirit the great day of God Almighty.


[ocr errors]



I propose in the present Chapter giving a brief general sketch of the future, as set forth in the Apocalyptic prefigurations of either series, down to the winepress-treading (the event immediately preceding the Millennium), noted alike (for there can be but one wine-press treading) in xiv. 18-20 of the one and xix. 15-20 of the other: 2 which common figure of the wine-press treading constitutes a notable closing mark of chronological parallelism at that point between the two series. I shall consider in Apocalyptic order the briefer first. A running comment will be added, with a view to illustrate the symbols, to direct attention to certain important points in the prophecies that might possibly otherwise be overlooked, and to show what we may probably expect as their fulfilment.--I purpose adding, in a separate Chap


Apoc. xvi. 14.- I say this in contradistinction to certain human impressions as to its advent, foreshown as what would be previously entertained, alike by the enemies of the Church and the Church itself, in Apoc. vi. 17, xii. 10.

2 So nearly all commentators.—Daubuz is the only one I know to differ. But few will, I conceive, agree with him. And the incorrectness of the historical interpretation of the Vials connected with his singular theory of a double vintage is too obvious, I think, to need refutation.

ter, a notice of the latter part of the prophecy of Daniel xi, xii, the only other continuous and chronological prediction in Scripture relating to the same period: seeing that without this my exposition, which in its concluding conjectural chronology is chiefly based on Dan. xii, might be deemed unsatisfactory and incomplete.



In the primary and briefer sketch of the progress of events towards the consummation,—the same that I suppose to have been inscribed on the Part withoutwritten of the Apocalyptic scroll,—there occur the four several symbolic pictures, or notices following.”

1st then,—and next after that second flying Angel, whose voice, as I observed shortly since, we seem already to have heard begun in the Church, with its warning against Papal Rome, and denunciation of its corruptions and impending fall, -St. John beheld in vision a third Angel flying abroad in mid-heaven, in the wake of the former two; with not only a warning voice against worshipping the Beast and his image, but a declaration

"I mean with regard to the idea of seventy-five years intervening between the incipient or primary ending of the 1260 years of prophecy, and their final and complete termination :-seventy-five years being the interval between Daniel's 1260 and 1335 years. See Vol. iii. p. 257.

2 The passage containing the two first of these notices is as follows.

9. “And a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10. He too * shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture t into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11. 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.

12. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

13. 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.”

και αυτος πιέται.

* του κεκερασμενου ακρατου.

also of the impending end of such worshippers, as doomed to drink of the bitter winel of the wrath of God, and to be tormented with fire and sulphur before the holy angels and the Lamb; the smoke of which torment would ascend up for ever. -A prefiguration which seems to me to require, in order to its fulfilment, 1st, a general agreement among Christ's faithful Protestant servants of what is meant both by the Beast and the Beast's Image ; 2ndly, a general and strong impression among them, as to the punishment of such as might worship or obey the one or the other being a punishment by fire, and that as imminent as terrible ; 3dly, a public, notorious, and general outcry of warning to this effect throughout Christendom, - Protestant Christendom at least,—with its vast colonial dependencies.And thus I consider the symbol to be as yet unfulfilled.? While there has been for some three centuries a very general agreement among Protestants on the sense of the Apocalyptic Babylon, as signifying Papal Rome, and of the Beast, as in some way or other (though here opinions more vary) signifying the Popedom,3--on the meaning of the Beast's Image opinions have not only greatly varied, but its popularly known solutions been one and all thus far most unsatisfactory. The reader will


KeKepao uevov akpatov literally mixt unmist :-unmixt in the sense (as Isa. i. 22) of undiluteil; mixed, as the wine sometimes given to criminals before execution, with sundry bitter ingredients. So Daubuz: who compares (as does also Mede) Psalm lxxv. 8; “In the Lord's hand is a cup, and the wine is red: it is full of mixture, and He poureth out of the same: as to the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” Compare too Isa. xxix. 9, They are drunken, but not with wine :” Isa. li. 21; “ Hear, thou drunken, but not with wine; I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury,” &c: and finally Jer. xxv. 15; “ Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it."

[So written in my first Edition, published Jan. 1844. But see Note on the next page.]

3 From the time of the Reformation. Indeed the Waldenses so explained it before.

Even they who explain the Beast of the secular Roman empire, as Faber, Cuninghame, and Bickersteth, do yet so view that empire as animated and directed by the Papacy, that their interpretation virtually, and to all practical purposes, tends to the same point as that of those who with myself explain it, or its ruling head, of the line of popes.

* See my Note 3, p. 183, Vol. iii. The solution offered by Mr. Fysh and myself has not, I imagine, been yet at all generally known


« PreviousContinue »