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The opening of the TABERNACLE of the Testi
MONY in beaven,mor the reformation of religion and the church.-preparatory to the seven divine judgments upon the kingdom of THE BEAST,—which are to effect its total overthrow.—The impenitency and blindness of his worshippers, (while a long respite is given them,) still continuing.--The judgment begins with the plague of a figurative ULCER.-By the infliction of the second plague, its corroding malignancy spreads over the whole popish system, -and works deadly effects by the influence of the third.
THE judgment of the apostate church having been related concisely under the an HARVEST and a VINTAGE, the prophet now, in chap. xv. resumes the tale of woe, in order to unfold the particulars more at large.
The heaven where this scene is represented is (as before) the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE, or whole extent of the pope's spiritual dominion, Seven angels* are summoned to hold them, selves in readiness against the time (now near approaching) when God will require their services, to execute so many several judgments upon the kingdom of the mystical Egypt, which, as warnings and inducements to repentance, are to advance nearer and nearer, by several approaches, to the throne and person of the spiritual PHAROAH, and end in his destruction,
But previously, a view is taken of the state of religion amongst the reformed, or witnesses, at the time when these plagues are about to begin ; and they are reported of very favorably, as contrasted with the shocking corruption of the apostacy. They are represented as “ standing upon a sea of glass mingled with fire,”man emblem which represents the purity of their doctrine, and the ardour of their zeal for God and his truth. Or it may represent their troubled state, and frequent suffering of martyrdom by fire, from the triumphant power and cruelty of their persecutors. Yet suffer what they may, they still persevere in “singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb;" they adhere steadily to the holy scriptures of the OLD AND New TESTAMENT, as the sufficient and only safe guides in faith and practice; and “ rejoicing even in tribulation,” they anticipate in hope and faith, the happy time when God will deliver and avenge his church, and receive glory and a pure worship from all nations. *
* NATURAL Causes operating, the judgments of God up. on his enemies are figuratively called angels. Such was the destroyer of Sennacherib's army.
The “ opening of the temple of the TABERNACLE OF THE TESTIMONY in heaven," is the opening of the reformation in religion, and republication of the gospel, which under the uncontrolled reign of the beast, might be compared to the temple of God shut up, and made inaccessible to his pure worshippers,
* Zeph. iii. 9.
that come to seek him there, where alone he will be found, in the word of God. * the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God,t and from his power; and re
* The vision in this xv. chap. which is only preparatory to the tremendous scenes which open upon us in the next, may have occupied a great length of time, as I conceive this to apply to the opening of the reformation in the beginning of the sixteenth century: from which period the first fall, or commencement of Rome's decay, and wasting by the breath of Christ's mouth, is to be dated. The following, which introduces and brings on, by seven successive judgments, her final catastrophe, or "destruction by the brightness of his coming," has commenced but a few years ago, and probably will not take up a very long period of time. For though God in his mercy “ waits patiently, and is provoked every day” for a long time, yet he strikes without further notice at last, and when his judgment is actually begun, the time for expectation of longer respite is past. That the blinded worshippers of the beast should have been incapable for so great a length of time of “ tering into the temple of the TABERNACLE OF THE TESTI'HONY," now thrown
open to the reformed, and still are unable to learn the new song which they are singing, is wonderful, but nevertheless literally and notoriously matter of fact. The time that intervened between Wickliff and Luther, the two first heralds of the gospel revived, was 150 years : the time from that opening of the temple, to the actual pouring out of the first vial, has been about 230 years.
+ 2 Thess. i. 8, 9.
mained equally inaccessible to the infatuated and blinded worshippers of the beast, during the whole continuance of these judgments, the glory and power of God, which is light and demonstration to his servants, being darkness still to them, the same as if the temple had not been opened. This is wonderfully verified by the obstinate bigotry of the papists to a system of religion, as irrational and
op: posite to the word of God as paganism itself, Strong delusion is sent upon them, and though the glory of God shines around them, yet the temple is still filled with smoke, and they cannot enter into the
of God's proceedings, in any of the several wonders which proceed out of the temple, each in its appointed time.
* This is a highly figurative representation of the awfulness and certainty of God's judgments to come down upon the mystery of iniquity ; so long perpetuated, and so monstrous a corruption of religion, that it hath been the subject of in. numerable prophecies. And it seems also to intimate the continued impenitency of the figurative Egyptians under their plagues, which is more particularly expressed in the following scenes. The light and knowledge amongst the churches of THE WITNESSES, has been twice represented before,--Rev, xiv. 3, where it is said “m2 man (of the antichristian party)