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he says, when noting the event which closes the 1260 years; or the destruction of this wilful power. It takes place upon his accomplishing “to scatter the power of the holy people,”-the very event in our text! Must not this be now future? Says our text, “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war upon them, and shall overcome them.” At the close of their 1260 years, then, this beast shall, for a short time, “scatter the power of the holy people!” Then he himself shall go into perdition; and the mystery of God shall be finished. The sense of this scattering of the power of the holy people, the event will in due time unfold. This making war upon them, overcoming them, and killing them, must import something of deep concern!
Mr. Scott says, “present appearances do indeed favor the opinion, that the general and successful war of the beast against the witnesses will be conducted under another form and other pretences, and perhaps by other instruments and means, than have been former assaults. Papal persecutors were concealed infidels. And infidels concealed under any other mask, may equally answer to the prediction.” Although I had never seen these remarks of Mr. Scott, when I formed and published my sentiments upon this subject, I was struck when I found his sentiments so accordant with my own.
8. An argument to show that the witnesses are not yet slain, is the fact, that none who are in favor of its being a past event, are able to point to il! The description of the event is such, that had it been transacted, none could afterward be at a loss to show the fact. The witnesses are slain; they lie in a street of the great city, unburied; all nations and tongues of the wicked triumph over them; they rise from the dead; they ascend up to heaven, and their enemies behold them. Are things like these to be done in a corner, and unable to be discovered? Impossible. There is, the same hour, a great earthquake, which shakes down a tenth part of the great city, or system. Many are slain, and all are terrified, and confess God's hand. These are great and notable events; have they taken place, and yet uone can point them out!
9. It does not becomie man to disbelieve or undervalue the warnings of the word of God. They are given for important purposes, and should be believed and improved. It would seem natural for erring man to mistake so great
an event as the flight of the angel of missions over the earth, to plant the gospel in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (a thing not yet finished), for the actual dawn of the Millennium. But we find this event is, in Rev. xiv. 6, distinct from the commercement of the Millennium, and antecedent to a number of most important events, which are themselves antecedent to the Millennium. And these events should not be blended or overlooked. If the church has scenes of danger before her, and God has given warning of it; it will not aid the cause of Christ to cry peace, and assure her, her warfare is already accomplished. If soldiers have a battle to fight; it but ill prepares them for it, to assure them they have already gained the victory, and the enemy are vanquished. Should such assurances be given them, lest they be discouraged, would this prepare them for the battle? 'The Millennium is certain, and will be glorious. But it will be just preceded by the battle of that great day of God; the last and most violent attack of Satan. And no victory must be shouted previous to this, unless by anticipation. The armor must be put on and kept bright, and the warnings of the word of God sounded. If the short depression of the church, in our text, would discourage, if known beforehand; why did Inspiration predict it? This question is of great weight, should it prove that it is now a past event.
It was once future, and was predicted. Should it then have been suppressed, lest Christian exertion should be discouraged? It is to be hoped that all Christians are not so mercenary as this; that they follow not Christ for the loaves and fishes; but for the miracles. Those who labor in the cause of Christ, only in the belief that all the worst days to Zion are past, and only good days are before us, and they may live to see the Millennium,-possibly are not among the best workmen for the kingdom of heaven. When Jeremiah announced to the Jews that they had great evils to experience from the king of Babylon, he was cruelly persecuted; while the prophets (such as they were) who assured them no such trials were ahead, were caressed. But Jeremiah proved the true prophet, and the best friend. The disciples were elated with high expectations relative to a kingdom of Christ, which they should soon behold in vast magnificence. Our Saviour, to correct their error, assured them the Son of man was going to be rejected of the elders, crucified, and put to death. This, with the zealous Peter, was too much. How vastly dis
couraging! “And Peter took Jesus, and began to rebuke him. This be far from thee, Lord. This shall not come unto thee." Jesus turned, and said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men!" True soldiers of the cross will, when acting in character, believe and improve the most trembling warnings of Heaven; and will engage to fight the good fight of faith, though called to seal their warfare with their blood. "He that would save his life, shall lose it.” Christ's soldiers are not called to enlist under his banner with a belief that the enemy are already vanquished; nor that the way to heaven is henceforth smooth and bloodless. Such are not the motives which Christ addresses to his true followers. But he does allow them to rejoice, that the greater the cross, er the crown. And the rewards of the last great day may convince us, that those who live just before and at the slaying of the witnesses had a lot of duty assigned them not inferior to any of his followers on earth, and not the least animating of them all. If any are disposed to lend their silver, gold and jewels to the tribes of the Lord, with an expectation only of redoubling their property thereby in time; the donations may serve the Israelites indeed; but the donors will lose their reward. Happy are they who aid the cause of Christ with views truly evangelical. We must cast our bread upon these waters of preparing the way for the Millennium; and wait till the days of heaven to find it.
The street of the great city in the text, where the slain witnesses lie, must be shown by the event. It no doubt means in the most open view of the world. The city spiritually called Sodom, and Egypt, and where our Lord was crucified, probably means nothing more than the great ruling infidel system of the day, in whatever land. This is a Sodom, for lewdness; an Egypt, for cruelty and oppression to the people of Christ; and an infidel Jerusalem, for the crucifixion of Christ in his members. The particulars of the slaying of the witnesses; of their lying unburied; and of the joys of the wicked infidel world over them,—the fulfilment of the text will best unfold. Much is implied in the plain warning given; but the particulars of the description were not designed to make us wise above what is written. The prophecies are to give needful general warnings; but not to make us prophets. If our faith embraces as particularly as God informs, we need go no further. And attempts to do it have but injured the cause of prophecy.
Behold the depravity of the heart of fallen man, that the preaching of the gospel should torment them that dwell on the earth, and that men should be capable, after all the evangelical light which God has given, of forming the deliberate plan of destroying the cause of Christ from the world, and should rejoice and triumph when they think it is accomplished. Truly, “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” And the heart of man must be renewed; or his soul is eternally lost. Could a heart of such enmity be happy in heaven? If admitted there, it would again, if possible, slay the witnesses, and even God himself! Ifthe preaching of the gospel on earth “ tormented” them; the torment would there be perfect.
Can light then, renew such a heart as this? Could the Spirit of God himself cause light to do it? He could not. For, though he is omnipotent, he cannot perform impossibilities. “God cannot lie!” The carnal heart hates the more, the more the light shines. And nothing can prevent this, but a new creating act of God in that heart! “Created in Christ unto good works." "I will take the stony heart out of your flesh: and will give you an heart of flesh, --and will cause you to walk in my statutes. "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost that is given unto us. " "For it is God that worketh in
you both to will and to do of his good pleasure!" "Thou hast wrought all our works in us. We have here the only ground of hope for fallen man. And, bl essed be God, he that made the heart of a free moral agent, can as easily new create that heart, consistently with man's free moral agency and accountability! and all objection to this is worse than idle; it is impious; for it is an arraying of human wisdom against the wisdom of Heaven. And wo to him that strives with his Maker. He who allows himself to add to the word of God, or to diminish from it, will find his part wanting in the book of life. True Christians are God's witnesses, and do in heart, in profession, and in life, bear witness to the doctrines, duties, and motives of the gospel. People then, who do not thus, fail of possessing the true mark of the people of Christ. Great is the honor which God sees fit to put on his witnesses, to note them as having power to shut heaven, and to smite the earth with all plagues. Truly they may say, - The beauty of the Lord our God is upon us." Let all such be humble, and confident in God. And let them take to themselves the whole armor of God, and be able to stand in the evil day!
Ver. 11. And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon
them which saw them. 12. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud: and their enemies beheld them.
“The triumphing of the wicked is short.” The rejoicing and sending of gifts one to another of these hosts of Antichrist, soon close in scenes to them vastly terrific. After the great and notable depression of Zion for three and a half years, Heaven interposed for them by signal events in their behalf, or showers of grace, or both, and produces what is here noted as their resurrection from the dead. Such figures are known in the word of God; as the valley of dry bones, in Ezek. xxxvii., can testify. By giving new strength to the saints, and probably by converting many hitherto dead in sin, a host of intelligent and most zealous Christians God now raises up in a sudden and glorious manner; who step forth, like champions of the faith, to terrify the enemy, and to make them to become, in a manner, like the Roman guards at the tomb of Christ, who stood (or foll) aghast, and became as dead men! Possibly the antitype of this very scene is now fulfilled. This will give such a spring to the Christian cause, as has never yet been witnessed. And, to express powerful triumph of the reanimated witnesses, and the confusion of the hosts of the infidel world, the former are said to be called by a great voice from above, to ascend to heaven; which they speedily do in the full view of all their enemies. The great providential events, and the power of divine grace, which will forin this voice, and the ascending of the witnesses in clouds to heaven, the blessed events not now far distant, will unfold! Such will be the scenes of joy to the friends, and of terror to the enemies of our blessed Lord. Haman will die upon his own gallows; and Judas on his own fatal tree. Terrors and affrights to the enemy will now awake and multiply; and will close in the fatal plunging of Antichrist into the ocean of divine wrath.*
* For a parent text of the resurrection of the witnesses, see Isa. xxvi. 19; “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise; awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast out the dead.” The events of this chapter clearly are at the period just preceding the Millennium; see Henry, Scott, Lowth. They view this verse as giving a mystical resurrection to the de