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liberty, from the world; our blessed Captain of salvation saw fit to represent himself as making the descent in our text. He assumed the glorious appearance there noted, and came down! “Darkness was under his feet, and he did fly upon the wings of the wind!” “At the brightness that went before him, his thick cloud passed-hailstones, and coals of fire! The Lord thundered; the Highest gave his voice-hailstones and coals of fire! He sent out his arrows, and scattered them; he shot out his lightnings, and discomfited them! Then the channels of the waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils!” This the church may sing, and may add, “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of great waters!” Such a protector has the church, and such an antagonist has her persecutors! The latter may seem to triumph; but “salvation is of the Lord;” and God will make bare his holy arm in the sight of all nations, and the ends of the earth shall see his glory. Behold then, O Zion, the works of the Lord! Devoutly reflect on his glory, and his kind expostulations. “Wherefore didst thou fear, 0 ye of little faith?” “In nothing terrified by your enemies, which is to them an evident token of perdition; but unto you of salvation, and that of God." 6. Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man that shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy Maker who hath stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and thou hast feared continually because of the fury of the oppressor, as though he were ready to destroy; and where is the fury of the oppressor?” The rainbow on the head of Christ in our text, may be seen by the eye of faith depicted on every dark cloud of judgment, be it ever so terrific. Behold the Sun of righteousness shining upon it; and to the eye of faith the rainbow will appear. God with us in these things says, “It is I; be not afraid!” “Say unto Zion, Behold your
God.” "Your God will come with a recompense, he will save you. in the Lord then, and in the power of his might; that ye may be able to stand in the evil day!”
Ver. 4. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
It has been shown in the preceding lecture, that the notable descent of Christ in this chapter must have alluded to the scene of judgments introduced in the French revolution of 1789. These seven thunders prefigured its wars, which were most terrible. Some ideas of the import of these seven thunders, seem to have been communicated to John, which he was about to commit to writing; but he was forbidden to do it. This is not to be understood as though the import of these seven thunders was never to be known on earth. For if they were never to be known; why were they given at all? They were given, and left on record for man, as well as were the other prophecies; and their being sealed up, was only till the time of their fulfilment, as may be shown from Daniel's prophecy, and as we have indicated in the fact, that the "little book” in the hand of the angel (Christ), when the event takes place in our text, is presented as open. This sealing up of the true sense of the scene, is copied from the visions of Daniel, of the same event. Light will be reflected upon this tenth of the Revelation from what we have in Daniel, chapter xii. The prophet Daniel had predicted the rise of the wilful power of the last days, as shall by-and-by be shown. It is said, Dan. x. 1, that "he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision,” even as is implied in our text, that John had some understanding of the things uttered by the seven thunders. But Daniel was commanded (Dan. xii. 4) to "shut up the words and seal the book even to the time of the end!” as again in verse 9, “Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up, and sealed till the time of the end!” precisely as John was directed in our text, to “ seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not!” The former is the parent text of the latter;
both being of the same period and event. The
passage in Daniel is followed in the same verse 4th, by information of an event, which should betoken the time when this seal upon the words should be taken off, viz., the missionary spirit of the last days, when “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased!” or when the missionary angel of the last day shall fly, to preach the gospel to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people; then may the seal be taken off! The little book in the hand of Christ shall then be found open. The event of this judgment shall then have burst upon the world, and may be understood. We may here note, that the prohibition relative to this particular prophecy's being not to be understood till fulfilled, is so far from indicating that other prophecies generally shall not be understood till accomplished, that the indication is just the reverse. The prohibition here is a special case, and attends not the other prophecies; but the divine commands relative to them are, that they may and should be understood, even before their sulfilment, at least in some good degree, as has been shown.
We will now consult the parent prophecy in Daniel relative to the events in this tenth chapter of the Revelation. We find in Dan. x. 1, "a thing was revealed to Daniel; and the thing was true; but the time appointed was long!” This remark, and all that is said upon its event, go to assure us, that the thing then to be revealed was a new event of the last days: and the prohibition resting upon it (which has been noted) shows, that it was something besides, and subsequent to popery and the grand imposture of Mohammed. These had before been predicted, as well as the great eastern monarchies; but now some new and subsequent event of the last days was to be given to close this book; and this was to be sealed up till it was fulfilled. No hint was given, that the time before the antecedent events predicted in Daniel, should be long: but this new thing to be at last predicted, must be attended with this notice, that “a thing (clearly implying a new thing) was revealed to Daniel; and the thing was true; but the time appointed was long!” And he shows it to have been a hing connected with the battle of the great day of God, and the restoration of the Jews; as chap. x. 14, and xii. 1, where the event was to befall the people of Daniel; and was to be the occasion of Christ's standing up for them, and bringing a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.
With these things in view, we will proceed to examine the thing which was thus revealed to Daniel. The whole of Dan. x. is taken up in preparation for predicting this then far future event; as is also chap. xi. to verse 35. A line of kings is given, in order to introduce Antiochus Epiphanes, a noted tyrannical and persecuting king of Syria, as a type of the infidel power to be predicted. This type, thus introduced, occupies from verse 21 to 35; and then, as is common in predictions of type and antitype, the writer slides, with no formal notice, from the former to the latter, and gives the event which was designed.
Dan. xi. 36, "And the king shall do according to his will." By a king, in such prophecies, is meant not any individual man, but a power, whether an empire, or kingdom, or republic. That a new subject is in this 36th verse introduced, is evident from what has been said; and from this, that the power described before this verse was clearly Antiochus, who lived centuries before the Christian era; but the being introduced in the 36th verse is a power of the last days, and which falls in the battle of the great day of God, at the close of the noted 1260 years, as is shown in the following passages in Daniel. A great power should arise, wilful in violent outrage of all law! It follows, “and: he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god.” By a god here is meant a king, or civil ruler. “I said ye are gods.” He shall magnify himself above every civil ruler; or, a war with kings, shall be one of his characteristics. His atheism follows: “And shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods." He will, in his early existence, deny the God of heaven. Verse 37, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers:” or, the power so long venerated by his ancestors as a god,—the pope,-he shall at first contemptuously reject and put down, however he may afterward, - from views merely secular,-in a degree establish him again. Then follows, “nor the desire of women. With all his outrageous licentiousness and lusts, he shall wage war with the female sex; as though all the tender regard for them which God has implanted in the human breast, had become extinct. Most fully did the French fulfil all this. The latter they fulfilled when they in wanton barbarity beheaded the innocent queen of their own nation, and followed up the event with the outrageous execution of 250,000 of their own innocent females; as was attested and well known at that day. They also abolished the institution of marriage, declaring it to be an insufferable:
monopoly; and thus subjected their females to promiscuous brutal lusts! Well might such a trait of character as this be hinted of this infidel power of the last days, by its not "regarding the desire of women!” Paul gives the same trait of the same character, thus: “without natural affection,” when describing, in 2 Tim. iii. 1-4, this power of infidelity in the last days; which see. The most fit "natural affection” of man for our female race, would be thus perverted; even that virtugus tender affection for the dear and dependent “help-meet” of man, destined to be the virtuous mother of his offspring! this affection, implanted by the Creator in the breast of man, should be, by this power of iniquity, attempted to be torn up! This stroke has been supposed by some to be the same with that in 1 Tim. iv. 3, “ forbidding to marry;” which the papal see fulfilled in relation to its clergy. But it clearly belongs to another and subsequent system of infidelity. See and compare 1 Tim. iv. 1, with 2 Tim. iii. 1, and you will see the latter is an advance from the former. And never did popery so take to itself the character of not regarding the desire of women, as did the infidel power that burst forth in France in 1789.
Daniel proceeds, verse 38; “But in his estate shall he honor the god of forces:” or, when this licentious power shall come into operation, as having gained an existence, he shall " honor the god of forces:" shall honor mahuzzim* (in the original); fortresses, military munilions. The word in the singular, mahoz, imports, a tower, fortress, strength. In the plural, then, and connected with a huge military force, it must mean its dependence on fortresses, or military munitions, generals, and the arts of war. This was the case indeed with the French. If they had denounced all subordination, all authority and rule; yet were their own eyes necessarily turned to a subordination to their own generals, leaders, and the arts of war. And this soon prepared the way for what follows.
“And a god, whom their fathers knew not, shall they honor with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things.” An emperor, unknown to their fathers, shall they soon receive at the head of this military despotism, with the greatest magnificence. This now is all plain history. Bonaparte was this new god, unknown to their fathers. Verse 39;
* In the margin of many great Bibles, this word mahuzzim is rendered “ gorl's protectors.” But this is a plirase, and not a correct rendering. And it is thus phrased to accommodate it, mistakingly, to popery, as though it related to their tutelar saints; but it does not thus.