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phecy. As where the Souls of the Martyrs cry out from un- Apoc. vi. 9. der the Altar. Where the Angel ftands upon the Golden Altar Apoc.viij. 3. which is before God, and offers incenfe. Where a voice is heard Apoc. ix. 13, from the four horns of the Golden Altar which is before God. Where the Temple is to be furvey'd, and the inner Court there- Apoc.xi. 1, 2. of to be meafur'd; as being pure and clean: but the outer Court to be rejected, and deliver'd to the Gentiles to be troden under foot by them. Where the Temple is faid to be opened in Heaven, and the Ark of the Testimony feen therein, and An- & chap. xiv. gels coming out of it with Vials of wrath. Where the Harpers 15, 16, 17. are tuning a Hymn of Praise on the brink of the Sea of Glafs, Apoc. xv. 2. or of the Molten Sea of the Temple. Where, laftly, to name
no more inftances in a plain cafe, a great Voice proceeds from the Apoc. xvi. 17. Temple of Heaven, from the Throne, faying, It is done and concluding the main of the fad Vifions of this Book. But it will be here much to our prefent purpose to obferve the Business and Employment of the four Animals, and the twenty four Elders in the prefent Scene. this we may easily understand, by the clear account of it given us at the conclufion of the fourth Chapter; viz. They are a fort of Divine Chorus, prepar'd to Praife and Celebrate the greatest and most glorious Myfteries of God's Providence, in the principal Difpenfations and Manifeftations of it foretold. in this Book: and this in a moft regular manner, and agreeable harmony. The 24 Elders, according to the Nature of their Sacred Function, going before the four Animals, or Body of the Faithful, in the Chriftian Church; and guiding them in their feveral humble, folemn, and devout Adorations; and finging before them Divine Hymns of Praise and Thanksgiving to the Almighty, and to the Lamb, upon all the grand Occafions prefented to them. And the four Animals faying joyful Amens, and confirming all with their folemn Adorations alfo. And it deferves particularly to be remark'd, that agreeably to the Defcription of the Office and Nature of this Divine Chorus here, we afterward meet Apoc. v. S, &c. with the exercife of it, upon all fuitable opportunities, in the & xi. 16,17,18, reft of the Prophecy afterwards. Only it must be taken notice of, that fometimes the Hymns of Praife are afcrib'd not
& xix. 4.
11, 12. •
to the 24 Elders and 4 Animals themselves, but either to those Angels that furrounded them; or to those which were fuppos'd Apoc.xij. 10, actually in Heaven already, and thence to praife God for his Providence; and once to thofe who were deliver'd from the Apoc.xv.2,3,4. Dominion of Antichrift, and fo themselves praise God for fuch their Deliverance, and for the hopes of the larger spreading of his Son's Kingdom. The particular Reasons of which Variations I fhall not here ftand to enquire into; but only in general esteem them all in common as plain Characters of Extraordinary and Eminent Difpenfations of Providence, for the weakening of the Enemies of Chrift, and the advancing of his Kingdom in the World.
Apoc. vij. 11,
Corollary. Since thefe Sacred Hymns are fuch notable xesmesa. and Characteristicks of the greatest Triumphs of Christ, or of the most fignal and happy Mutations foretold in this Book; It will be here not improper to take notice of them all particularly, and that at prefent (before we have stated the Series of the feveral Visions) in that Order in which they lye in the Book it felf; that So hereafter, when we have propofed our Interpretation of the feveral Prophecies, we may have recourfe to thefe grand Characters of the main and most glorious of the happy Providences, and fee whether, according to that Interpretation, they do belong to the Principal of them all along, as they certainly ought to do.
The firft Hymn therefore in order is that upon occafion of the Apoc. v. 8, &c. Lamb's obtaining the great Privilege of Opening the Sealed Book, or of knowing and revealing the deep and hidden ivíyfteries therein contain'd. The fecond Hymn is upon occafion Apoc.vii. 11, of the Deliverance and Exaltation of the Innumerable Company with Palms in their hands; and is not, as the former, Jung by the 24 Elders, and the 4 Animals themselves, but by a Chorus of the Angelick Hoft that surrounded them. The third Apoc. xi. 16, Hymn is upon the Sounding of the feventh or last Trumpet, when the Kingdoms of this World are declar'd to be become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Chrift, and that He is Apoc. xii. 1o. to reign for ever and ever. The fourth Hymn or Form of Exultation is a Voice in Heaven upon the ejection of the Dragon thence, when the Man-child lately born was caught up to Apoc.xv..2,3,4. God, and to his Throne. The fifth Hymn is of those who had
conquered the Beast, and his Image, and rejoyced to see the Commencement of Chrift's Kingdom, and to find the Vials approaching, which would gradually deftroy all the remainder of Chrift's Enemies, and compleat the intireness of his Kingdom: and feems to be parallel to the occafion of the third Hymn above-mention'd. The fixth and laft Hymn is upon occafion of Apoc. xix. 1--7the final Destruction of Babylon; when the Kingdom of Christ is compleated, and the Marriage of the Lamb ready to be celebrated: and, excepting the first, seems to be the most univerfal, and most folemn of all the rest; and exactly suitable to that higheft occafion, the concluding and victorious Triumph of Chrift over all his Enemies; and the establishment of his fole and univerfal Kingdom in the World for ever.
The Prophetick part of the Revelation of St. John contains the most remarkable Revolutions and Mutations relating to the Roman Empire, and the Christian Church therein contain'd, from the days of St. John, till the fetting up of Chrift's Kingdom, and the Day of Judgment.
That the Revolutions and Mutations referr'd to in this Book, must be not small and inconfiderable, but great and concerning; nay, generally the principal of the feveral Ages, common Reafon will make us allow, and every one of courfe does naturally expect; fo that I fhall not need to produce any farther proofs of it: and the bare view of the enfuing particulars will hereafter discover the fame all along from the loftiness of the Prophetick expreffions on all occafions. And that the Series of the Apocalyptick Vifions begins fo carly, and reaches fo far, is clear from the Arguments following.
1. The Original Date, or Epocha, of thefe Vifions, as we have already noted, is exprefs in the Vifions; And from St. John's own words the Events were to begin immediately upon the feeing of the Vifions themselves; for they were things which muft shortly come to pafs: Thofe are pronounced bleffed who Apoc.i. 1. &
fearch xxij. 6.
fearch into and understand this Prophecy, because the time is Apoc. i. 3. affirm'd to be at hand. Nay, what is particularly remarkable, Apoc. xxij. 10. the Visions are directly order'd not to be jeal'd up, becaufe the time is again exprefly affirm'd to be at hand. And if all thefe repeated affurances be not fufficient to perfwade us that the Prophecy was very foon to begin to be fulfilled I do not eafily know what Expreffions can be fufficient in fuch a
Apoc. vi. 1.
2. This fame Original Date or Epocha is evident from the nature of feveral of the Vifions themselves. The first Seal introduces our Saviour on a white Horse, beginning his Conquefts over his Enemies. The Courts of the Temple, reApoc. xi. 1. fembling the States of the Church, begin with the inner Court wherein the Temple it felf ftood; and take their rife from the Holy of Holies, or the Throne it felf; and that inner Court therefore muft reprefent the pureft state of the Chriftian Church at its first beginning. And the Woman with Child is evidently an Emblem of the earliest and primary Pains and Struggles, with which the first propagation and fettlement of the Chriftian Church were to be attended, before its prevailing over the World.
3. The fame Original Date or Epocha is evident from the double Change at leaft, in the form of the Roman Government Apoc. xvij. 9, then to come, 'ere the ten Kingdoms were to arife; and from the great Power and Dominion of the Dragon himself, and his perfecution of the Woman with Child, long before the rife of thofe ten Kingdoms. For fince Hiftory informs us, that the-Rife of thofe ten Kingdoms was in the fifth Century, it is thereby evident that a confiderable part of this Prophecy muft have been over before that time; and fo it muft have had its Original Date, as early as is here affigned by us. And that the laft Period of this Prophecy, will not be till the fetting up of Chrift's Kingdom, and the Day of Judgment; the remaining Arguments will as certainly demonftrate. For
4. The very entrance of the Prophecy fhews its great End and Period. Behold he cometh with Clouds, and every eye fall fee him, and they also who pierced him: And all the Tribes of the Land shall mourn because of him: even so, Amen. q. d.
Apoc. i. 7.
This is the Scope and End of the Series of the Vifions of this Book; this is their common Conclufion and Period; the Coming of our Saviour in the Clouds of Heaven to fet up his glorious Kingdom in the World; and particularly to convert the Jews who crucify'd him.
5. This fame End is alfo evident from the nature of feveral of the Vifions themselves. The Conclufion of the fealed Book as well reprefents our Saviour on a white Horfe, compleat- Apoc. xix. 11. ing and finishing his Conquefts, as we faw the entrance of it introduc'd him in the fame manner to begin them. The outer Court troden down by the Gentiles reaches till the time of Apoc. xi. 2. the cleanfing of the Sanctuary, on the Commencing of Chrift's Kingdom: And the ftay of the Woman in the Wilderness comes Apoc.xij.6, 14. down to the fame time. Now 'tis plain, that we are not yet at thefe points of Time. And therefore, fince a confiderable part of the Revelation belongs to the interval after that time, it muft follow, by all Accounts, that the Apocalypfe cannot reach much short of the End of the World, and the Day of Judgment.
6. This is evident from thofe Prophecies of Daniel, which run Parallel with this Book: they plainly terminating at the final fetting up of Chrift's Kingdom, and its Conclufion at the Day of Judgment. I beheld, fays Daniel, till the thrones were Dan.vij. 9, 10. fet, and the ancient of days did fit; whose garment was white as fnow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery ftream iffued, and came forth from before him: thousand thousands miniftred unto him, and ten thousand times ten thoufand stood before him: the judgment was fet, and the Books were opened.
7. This is moft of all evident from the conclufion of the Book it felf; which ends with the moft particular and folemn defcription of the Day of Judgment that is in the whole Bible, and makes that conclude the Series of its Prophecies. And I saw a great Apoc. xx. 11, white Throne, and him that fat on it; from whofe face the Earth and the Heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I faw the dead fmall and great ftand before God, and the Books were opened; and another Book was opened, which is the Book