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grapes of the earth and the harvest were ripe, denotes that the principles of the two classes which they represent, are fully developed and defined, and their character settled and made conspicuous as worshippers of God, or apostates, so that it is manifest that his dispensations towards them, are in conformity with their dispositions and conduct. The dejection of the vine into the great wine-press of the wrath of God, signifies that those whom the vine symbolizes are to be crushed by the vengeance of the Almighty. The treading of the wine-press outside of the city, the symbol of the nationalized hierarchies, denotes that the grapes are from their vineyards, and represent those, therefore, who have been subject to their control and devoted to their use. The river of blood flowing from the press, indicates the visibility and the vastness of the destruction.
This symbol, then, foreshows that angels are to descend from the divine presence, and gather together the incorrigible enemies of God, who have been devoted to the apostate hierarchies, in order to their destruction. It is a different gathering, therefore, from that at Armageddon, where the wild beast and false prophet are to be taken ; as that is to be prompted by the unclean spirits, this by angels. That, moreover, is to precede the seventh trumpet, this is undoubtedly to follow it. That is to be voluntary, this by compulsion. It is the gathering, therefore, probably foreshown in the parable of the goats, in which those who have evinced their want of a proper disposition towards Christ, by refusing to succor his brethren when persecuted by the wild beast and false prophet, are to be judged and destroyed; and is to embrace those only, as the parable implies, who have acted in that relation, dwelt within the territory of the great city, owned her jurisdiction, furnished her with her resources, and supported her in her tyrannies.
The dejection of the vine into the press, is a different work from the treading. The former is the act of the reapers. The latter, we are shown in the nineteenth chapter, is to be the work of the Son of God. The period is to be after the fall of the city and the destruction of the wild beast and false prophet, as it is to follow the harvest, of which the risen and glorified saints are to be the reapers, and, therefore, is to be after the visible advent of the Son of God. The wild beast and false prophet are first to be taken alive and cast into the lake of fire. Their armies, the whole organized array of their supporters, are next to be slain. Then as a shepherd, Christ is to gather and judge the nations who have acted in an immediate relation to him as Messiah, and assign the true
worshippers to everlasting life, and tread the apostates in the wine-press of wrath.
Mr. Brightman regarded the vintage as symbolizing the suppression of the monastic institutions of England by Henry VIII., and confiscation of their property ; the angel from the temple as Cromwell, the king's vicegerent in ecclesiastical affairs; the angel having power over the fire of the altar, as archbishop Cran
But the grapes are the symbols of human beings, not of the relations of such beings, their lands, houses, and other wealth. Henry VIII. was the head of one of the dynasties represented by the horns of the wild beast, not the treader of this wine-press. Cromwell belonged to the body of that wild beast, and Cranmer was of the hierarchy of the national church, and thence of the body denoted by great Babylon. They were not angels of the divine presence, therefore. And finally, the dispersion of the monks and nuns, and confiscation of their property, took place three hundred years and more before the close of the wild beast's reign; but the period assigned to the vintage is to be after its judgment and destruction.
The supposition of Mr. Daubuz, that the vintage foreshows a war on the Catholic church by Protestant states prompted by Reformed ministers, is equally erroneous. He founds it on the assumption that the temple in heaven in which the Almighty was throned, is a symbol of the state of the church on earth, as established and protected by a civil government. He thence regards the angel with the sickle coming out of the temple, as a prince coming out of a Protestant state; and the angel at the altar, as a symbol of Reformed ministers, exciting him to war. But that is to make the angels of the temple in heaven, symbols of the antichristian rulers and apostate teachers represented in the Apocalypse by the ten-horned wild beast, the wild beast of two horns, and the image. All princes, who, since the rise of the ten kingdoms, tyrannize over the church, and embark in religious wars, and all nationalized ecclesiastics who prompt such wars, belong indisputably to the array represented by those symbols. The witnesses of God do not resort to the sword for aggression or defence. They destroy their enemies only by the fire that proceeds out of their mouth. To relinquish or distrust that weapon and become warriors and persecutors, were to forfeit their office as witnesses. Nor is the temple in heaven a symbol of a state of the church on earth established by civil governments, or in any relation to political powers. Visible objects are never symbols of mere relations. There is no analogy between them. Nor is the temple in heaven, in which the Almighty is throned and receives the homage of the angelic hosts, a symbol of the relations of a nationalized church to its civil government. They are not only without resemblance and absolutely dissimilar, but the supposition is the most monstrous that can be conceived ; as it implies that the throne also is on earth, and the being who occupies it; that he is also a visible, and thence a human agent; and as he is the object of religious homage, the head, therefore, of the apostate church, the usurper of the empire, and the rival of the Almighty.
Mr. Mede and Mr. Cuninghame exhibit the vintage as the same as the gathering and destruction of the kings of the earth and their armies, at the battle of Armageddon. But that is to
instigated by the unclean spirits, and is to be voluntary ; this is to be caused by angels, and is to be by compulsion. That is to be in order to a battle ; this in order to a judgment and destruction.
CHAPTER XV. 1 4.
THE VICTORS ON THE GLASSY SEA.
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and wonderful : seven angels having the last seven plagues, because in them the wrath of God is finished. And I saw as it were a glassy sea mingled with fire; and they who were victorious from the wild beast, and from its image, and from the number of its name, stationed on the glassy sea, having harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb; saying, Great and wonderful thy works, O Lord God Almighty ; just and true thy ways, King of the nations. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name as alone holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before thee, because thy judgments have been made manifest.
The whole of this spectacle was in heaven. The sea, as is seen from chap. iv. 6, was a space in front of the throne, and exterior therefore to the elders. It resembled, from its transparent pavement interspangled with gems, a smooth, watery expanse, refracting the red glow of sunset, or the crimson tints of the sky. Its comparison to a sea indicates an extent far too great for the interior of the temple. It was doubtless a vast area extending from its front, and implies a corresponding greatness of the host stationed on it. They are the victorious from the conflict with the wild beast, and with its image, and with the number of its name ;-—the vast crowd of witnesses who have held the testimony of Jesus, and refused submission to those antichristian powers, through the long period of their triumph ; neither having sanctioned
the civil rulers in their usurpation of the prerogatives of God, obeyed the apostate hierarchies as of the authority which they claim, nor, through fear of persecution, suppressed their dissent, and yielded a nominal submission to their sway, which is the victory over its name doubtless, in distinction from the victory over the wild beast and its image. That they thus chant the wisdom and rectitude of the Almighty when about to judge those usurping and persecuting powers, indicates a vast intelligence of the reasons of that great measure of his administration, a realization of its necessity to his vindication, and an understanding of the salutary impressions it is to make on the universe. They have harps of God, given by him, and devoted to his praise ; and they sing the song of Moses, as it is like his a celebration of the greatness, wonderfulness, and justice of the divine ways; and the
song of the Lamb, as he is the Lord the God Almighty, who has exercised the government of the universe during the triumph of the wild beast, and the King of the nations who is now to judge that usurper, take possession of the earth, and bring all its tribes to obedience. Their song, Great and wonderful thy works, O Lord the God Almighty, just and true thy ways, King of the nations, is an adoring acknowledgment that it was in boundless wisdom that he had through so many ages allowed the triumph of the wild beast, and persecution and slaughter of his witnesses, and that spotless rectitude and truth had marked all his dispensations towards them in their conflict with that usurping power, and were now to mark the avenging judgments by which he was to destroy it. The question, Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name as alone holy, implies that the grounds on which he proceeds are to be so fully made known, and the greatness and wisdom of the results of his administration, that none can resist the demonstration of his benevolence and skill, or escape the conviction that he alone is adequate to conduct the government of his empire, all-knowing, all-wise, all-good, almighty; that all the objections of his enemies are groundless, and all the doubts, the fears, the perplexities of his people without foundation; while the prophecy, All nations shall come and worship before thee, because thy judgments have been made manifest, implies that the terrific inflictions by which he is to destroy his great antagonists, are to be seen by the nations to be a vindication of himself
, and be the means of awakening them from unbelief, convincing them of his being, perfections, rights, and dominion, and bringing them to yield him acknowledgment and homage.
How sublime the ascriptions of this song from those who had endured the most cruel persecution for his sake; and whom to human eyes he often seemed to have deserted, and left without pity to the malice of their enemies ! Not one of that long train of witnesses and martyrs but joins in the strain. What a sense it bespeaks of the rightfulness of his sovereignty! What an acquaintance with the reasons of his procedure! What a comprehension of the results that are to spring from the manifestation that men are allowed to make of their hostility to him, and from the exhibition of his righteousness towards them! What a knowledge and realization that his ways, which have seemed most inscrutable, are to become invested at length in the eyes of all his children with dazzling light and beauty, contribute to the resistless energy of his government, subserve the conversion of the nations, and add forever to the grandeur and blessedness of his empire !
Mr. Brightman and Vitringa regarded the harpers as symbolizing believers on earth. But that is to make the temple in heaven the representative of a temple or place of worship on earth, the Deity a symbol of some visible being worshipped in it, and the homage therefore of the victors over the beast, the symbol of an idolatrous homage.
CHAPTER XV. 5-8.
THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH THE SEVEN VIALS.
And after these I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And the seven angels who held the seven plagues came out of the temple clothed in pure resplendent linen, and bound with golden girdles around the breasts. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven