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sand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. The Jewish church, the peculiar people of God. The old testament dispensation, formed also the first New Testament church, for there was a very numerous christian church in Jerusalem and Judea, before the Gospel was sent to the gentiles. A definite number of all the children of Israel were sealed by the holy spirit of promise. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal. The Lord knoweth them, that are his. And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But the great multitude which no man can number of all nations, kindreds and tongues, from among the Heathen, were brought into the fold of Christ. Both Jew and Gentile believers made one in Christ. Eph. 2. 18. 19. 20. 21. For through him we both have an access by one spirit unto the father. Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the house-hold of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ himself, being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord. 9. After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands; 10. And cried with a loud voice, saying, salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.11.And all the angels stood round about the throne,& about the elders and the four living creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12. saying Amen: Bles
sing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving and honor and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever, Amen. Here the blood bought throng with all the heavenly host, are seen praising and adoring God and the Redeemer, with all the energy of perfect and holy creatures, here is a clear revelation of the enjoyment, felicity, happiness,and employment of a glori
fed state. 13. And one of the elders answered saying unto me, what are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14. And I said unto him, sir, thou knowest, and he said unto me; these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15. Therefore are they be fore the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his tem ple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them: 16. They shall hunger no more; neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat,
17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them: and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. These are they which came out of great tribulation. The epistle to the Hebrews gives an exact history of them. 11. 36. 37. 38. 39 40. And others had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
This chapter, like the sixth, contains also a history of the world from the beginning to the end of time; but chiefly God's care of his church and people in every trial, and danger, difficulty, and distress. The servants of God, from the beginning, have always been the objects of his peculiar care and special regard. But the grace of sanctification, wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost, is the seal of infalible assurance of our redemption to come, of a glorious resurrection. Eph. iv, 30, And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. After a specific and definite num
ber of the Old Testament saints were scaled and all gone to glory, the New Testament saints or Christians, to the end of time, were sealed also. A great multitude which no man can number of all nations, and kindreds and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. The fearful and heart-rending destruction of Jerusalem, and the Jewish nation, could not take place till all the Christians were sealed with the seal of the living God; not one of whom suffered in that awful calamity. But in the dreadful persecutions, that have drenched the earth with the blood of the martyrs and saints since that time, the cruel persecutors could only kill the body, "having no more that they could do:" being sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption.
In the first verse of chapter viii, at the opening of the seventh scal, the church seems to have had peace for the space of half an hour. A short interval indeed! Soon to be followed by the sound of many Trumpets, and wars, and terrible bloodshed in the world, and in the church, till wars shall cease to the ends of the earth. This seal, comprehends, a concise history of the church and of the world, until that blessed era, and gives a minute deliniation of the Divine Government of the church militant, in all her warfare till she finally arrives triumphantly in the pure and holy mansions of bliss, where sin can never more annoy, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are forever at rest.
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven (the church) about the space of half an hour.The church had a little breathing under the reign of Constantine the great and his successor Theodocius; but the enlightened Christian is not ignorant of the devices of the grand enemy of God and man. When the Divine displeasure and righteous Judgment of God fell upon Ananias and Sapphira, great fear fell upon all the church, and as many as heard these things. Acts 5. 13. And of the rest, durst no man join himself to them;
but the people magnified them. 14. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men & women; & the sharp persecutions that arose against the church from time to time, kept hypocrites and false professors at a distance, who could not bear the fire and faggot; and cruel treatment of certain lewd fellows of the baser sort. But whenever the church was established by human laws and they found themselves safe from persecution, the church was soon over run with such men as Elemas the sorcerer, and Diotrephes, who must have the pre-eminence, which gave new impulse to the mystery of iniquity, which had been working incesssantly, till it produced the artificial distinctions of Bishops and high dignataries in the church, which finally produced popery, and Islamism, which I hope to show anon. 7. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God, and unto them were given seven trumpets.Here is seven distinct periods of horrible and desolating wars; well recorded by numerous historians, both the friends and enemies of the divine religion of the Bible. 3. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. The christian has no altar to bring his sacrifices of prayer and praise to but the Lord Jesus Christ; and by the sweet incense of his merit and mediation, he finds a gracious acceptance at the throne of God. Heb. 13. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14 15. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines, for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats which have not profitted, them which have been occupied therein.
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat, which the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth, therefore, unto him with
out the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no con tinuing city, but we seek one to come. By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that 'is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. 4. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angels hand. 5. And the · angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, & cast it into the earth; and there were voices, and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake. Here is the blessed success of the preaching of the gospel by many evangelical ministers, many of them Boanergesses, or sons of thunder, "the voices of thunderings and lightnings;" and the earthquake of wars and commotions in the world. 6. And the seven angels, which had the seven trumpets, prepared themselves to sound. 7.The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. I am inclined to think, by the trees and all green grass here is meant the almost total annihilation of the Jewish nation and the abomination of desolation set up under the first trumpet and the first woe that continued under all the other trumpets till the end of the saracenic war, where the second woe commences under the Othmans or Turks and comes down to the year 1815 or the downfall of Napoleon, and the end of the second American war, with one of the horns of the beast.
8. And the second angel sounded, and as it were, a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood: 9. and the third part of the creatures, which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. Now let the reader imagine to himself, this wonderful figure; an immense volcano or burning mountain in active and terrible convulsion cast into the sea. The terrific scene cannot be described. So it no doubt alludes to the immense armies of barbarians, of theHuns, Goths and other hordes from the north of Europe and Asia,