Зображення сторінки

we desire it more ardently, may we also patiently wait for its full revelation and glory.

(7.) CHRISTIANS COMFORTING EACH OTHER, is another duty connected with the coming of Christ. Christians are now "companions in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." Rev. i. 9. They have to suffer for well-doing, they have to bear the scorn of the world, and the mistakes and misrepresentations even of brethren; but let us attend to the divine direction, and let the coming of Christ be viewed not as a matter of controversy but of comfort—"Wherefore comfort one another with these words”—1 Thess. iv. 19.He died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him; wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do,” (v. 10, 11.) Oh! if laying aside things in which we differ, we were oftener regarding this glorious hope, and speaking of it with glowing expectation, surely our hearts would be more knit together in love, and we should rise to a higher point of devotedness to God our Saviour. What consolatory hopes on the death of our brethren, (1 Thess. iv. 13, what exceeding joy in the presence of the Lord, (Jude 24,) what a gathering together of the general assembly of the first-born (2 Thess. ii. 1; Heb. xii. 23) does the coming of the Lord set before us! The body may indeed be committed to the grave, and there mingle with the dust; but that body contains the hidden seeds of a future glorious, undecaying, immortal body, which, at the last trumpet, shall rise in glory unutterable and incorruptible, and with a spirit altogether pure and perfect, and for ever dwell with fellow-partakers of the same glory, and in the bliss of the one Lord and Redeemer. Surely here is [354] the Christian's most effectual topic of consolation amid all his trials and sorrows. “Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” i Peter iv. 12, 13. Exceedingly inconsistent with the hope of this coming is all bitterness, wrath, malice, and hard censures of our brethren, (Rom. xiv. 9, 10; 1 Cor. iv. 5; Matt. vii. 1-5; xxiv. 48, 49,) it should rather inspire feelings of sympathy, tenderness, love and compassion towards all men.

Let us JOIN THE MEDITATION OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST GLORIFIED. The apostle tells the Corinthians—“I determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and him crucified;" he determined not to keep back the deepest part of his humiliation, while, as his Epistle shews, (ch. xv.) he dwelt at large on the glories of his return and the resurrection of his saints. I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me, has a primary reference to his death, but it has a larger aspect, including the consequences of that death and the glorious exaltation which followed it-WHEREFORE God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. There is such glory in the doctrine of the cross, it is such a display of all the divine perfections, and their full harmony, in the recovery of sinful men, that it will ever be the great boast and joy of the believer, and the grand ordinance for the salvation of lost sinners: but the glory to come is the triumphant [355] issue of that cross, displaying also most abundantly the enlarged wisdom, faithfulness, and loving-kindness of our God. We should not separate one from the other in our meditations. Our Redeemer himself thought much of the glory to follow, (John xvii.) and so was sustained in enduring the cross, (Heb. xii. 2.) it may hence be seen how much his followers need the same sustaining hopes in their sufferings and conflicts. The confession of the name or glory of Jesus, may be now an important evidence of fidelity, as well as the confession of his death. Pergamos's fidelity was proved in not denying the faith, (Rev. ii. 13;) Philadelphia's fidelity is proved in not denying the name of Christ. Rev. iii. S. To keep back his death, in the testimony given to him, was an earlier temptation of the church; to keep back his glory may be a special temptation in the testimony which we have now to give. It is peculiarly opposed to the infidel character of our age. Nor is any thing that God has revealed on this glory to be viewed as immaterial; there will be found to be a real value in everything revealed as a part of our future reward. The 1000 years' reign of the risen saints, previous to their final and everlasting glory, and the blessedness of the new earth as well as the new heavens, may well have an animating and holy influence on the Christian, without their puffing him up with pride, or being substituted for his everlasting heavenly felicity; when we remember that suffering is the way to this glory, and holiness the all-essential meetness for it.

(9.) I would add another scriptural direction applicable to all, but especially to my brethren in the ministry, TO LABOUR FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS [356] WITH AN ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE JOY, which it will give us in the day of Christ. "Shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." Phil. ii. 16. O what a joy is before holy Paul in the almost boundless results of his labours!

[ocr errors][ocr errors]





[359] The Author, after considering the vast variety of interpretations which have been given of this difficult but truly precious book, most acquiesces in the view taken by a valued friend, to whom he has before referred, and which he gives in this Appendix.

It may at least serve, with the preceding remarks, as a standard of the comparative approach of differing systems to each other. With some modifications, the scheme, or general arrangement, most harmonizes with Mr. Frere's views, and the more special applications with Mr. Cuninghame's. The leading earlier Protestant interpretations are those of Brightman, Mede, Vitringa and Bengelius; and the leading later interpreters, who have more or less followed these, are Woodhouse, Faber, Cuninghame, and Frere. After considering their respective systems, the Author is satisfied that there is more harmony and unanimous establishment of truth, than many suppose. He relinquishes as wholly untenable, all older or modern attempts, that would consider the Apocalypse as accomplished in the first stages of Christianity, or as yet wholly unfulfilled; or which proceed on an entirely new system of interpretation, wholly at variance with that which has been generally adopted by the large body of Protestant interpreters who have more or less followed the leaders just mentioned. After reading those new systems, the Author is only the more satisfied that there is sufficient ground to acquiesce in the general Protestant interpretation.

It may assist us first to compare the plans of former interpreters, and shew their harmony in great points, especially THE SYSTEMS OF FABER, CUNINGHAME, AND FRERE.

[ocr errors]

[360] The views of Apocalyptic arrangement and interpretation, based on regular principles, which have latterly been most widely received in the British church, are those of these three authors. The first of them excels rather in its discursive learning; the second in the justice of its individual interpretations; the third in symmetry of arrangement. They are alike based on the system and synchronisms of Mede: but the two last, by their applications of the seals, approach nearly to the arrangement of Vitringa; and Mr. Frere has sought to establish it by indications drawn from the parallel texts of the prophecy. The present currency of these three systems, the latest modification of the scheme of Mede, and with all the advantage of fuller historic light, will form the natural preparation for the full analysis of the prophecy.

First, These three systems agree alike with Mede and Bengelius, in the following principles: The commencement of the prophecy in the time of St. John; its continuance to the end of all things, without intervening break or chasm; the future and literal millennium; the application of the four first trumpets to judgments in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries; the prediction of the Saracens in one of the two former woes; the future restoration of Israel; the application of the woman to the true Christian church; the express description of the Papacy, in chap. xiii.; the mystical reckoning of the times, chap. xii. xiii.; the shock and rapid succession of the vials; the application of Babylon to the Roman church; its future destruction by the ten kings; the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the holy city, and the temple of God. All these are important truths, and it is a striking evidence of the promised blessing, chap. i. 3, that, on these, all the received systems, even that most defective in arrangement, are in entire accordance.

Secondly, These systems agree with Mede, where he differs from Bengelius, in the following points: The agreement in time, of the seventh trumpet with the vials; the application of the first woe to the Saracens; the application of the second woe to the Turks; the application of the first beast to the secular Latin empire; the application of the second beast to the ecclesiastical Latin empire, or Papacy; the common mystical reckoning of the forty-two months and 1260 days, chap. xi. xii. xiii.; the place of. chap. x. and xi. before the seventh trumpet; the rate of mystical reckoning, a year for a prophetic day; the mystical meaning of the [361] holy city, chap. xi. 2; the first death and resurrection of the witnesses; the priority of the earthquake, (xi. 13) to the seventh trumpet; and the earthquake (xvi. 16,) the extinction of the Turkish power, in the sixth vial; the retrospective mention of the

« НазадПродовжити »