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whose early buddings are withered, without fruit, twice dead, 13 to be utterly rooted up: fierce waves of the sea, foaming out
their own shame: wandering stars to whom blackness of 14 darkness is reserved for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from
Adam, prophesied against them, and such as these, when he said, 15 « Behold the Lord cometh with myriads of his holy ones, to exe
cute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly among them, of all their impious works, which they have impiously
committed : and of all the hard things which impious sinners 16 have spoken against him.” These are murmurers, that find fault
with their lot, walking according to their own lusts; and their
mouth speaketh extravagant things, having * persons in admiration 17 for the sake of gain. But you, beloved, remember the words
which were formerly spoken by the apostles of our Lord Je18 sus Christ : For they have told you, that in the last time mockers 19 shall come, walking according to their own ungodly lusts. These
are they who separate themselves; sensual, that have not the 20 Spirit. But you, beloved, edifying yourselves in your most holy 21 faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of
God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal 22 life. And do your utmost for the preservation of others; on some 23 have compassion, making a difference: but others save with fear,
snatching them out of the fire ; ever careful to preserve your own
purity hating even the garment spotted with the flesh. 24 Now to him, who is able to keep you from falling, and to pre
sent you blameless before the presence of his glory with exceeding 25 joy: to the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, do
minion and power, both now and through all ages. Amen.
REFLECTIONS. Let those who have the honour of being numbered among the disciples of Christ, stand at the remotest distance from the evil with which these unhappy creatures are branded by the apostle in this epistle. And may divine grace preserve all his churches from such spols in their feasts of charity! May our horizon be secured from those dark and gloomy clouds without water; may the plantations of God among us be free from the incumbrance and disgrace of those withered and fruitless trees, twice dead, and plucked up by the roots ! How illustrious was the prophecy, with which Enoch the seventh from Adam was inspired; and how precious is that fragment of antediluvian history, which is here preserved, and which shall surely be accomplished in its season! The day is now much nearer, when the Lord will come with ten thousand of his saints : may the ungodly remember it, and suppress in time the speeches which will then assuredly be reproved, and repent of the deeds, which if unrepented of, however forgotten now, will be brought into open view, and draw down upon their heads the destruction which at present seems to linger. That we may have confidence before him at his coming, let us remember the
words of the apostle, and implore the influences of the divine Spirit, which sensualists, who walk after their own lusts, quench and stifle, and which they mock and deride. Let us, however, be concerned to edify ourselves in our most holy faith, and to pray in the Holy Ghost, under his influence, direction, and assistance. The security of the heart amidst so many temptations, and its richest cordial in all its afflictions, is the love of God; but how soon does the celestial flame languish and die, if it be not constantly fed with new fuel ! Let it then be our care, in humble dependance upon divine grace, to keep ourselves in the love of God; which will be cherished in proportion to that degree of faith and hope, with which we look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life ; for what can so powerfully excite our love to God, as such a consideration ?
If we do expect it, let us express our regard to the salvation of others, as well as to our own; and apply ourselves to those, who seem to be in danger, with such different addresses of awe or tenderness, as their different circumstances and tempers may require. But some way or another, let us exert ourselves to filuck them out of the fire, who are in danger of falling into it, and perishing for ever.-A care to preserve our own ch.racters and conscience unspotted, will be necessary to our courage, and hope of success, in such efforts as these. Let us therefore be more frequently looking up to him who is able to kech us from falling, and to improve as well as maintain the work he has wrought in us, till we shall be presented blameless before the presence of his glory. Then shall our hearts know a joy beyond what earth can afford, beyond what heaven itself shall have given us, in the separate state ; then shall God also rejoice over us, and the joy of our compassionate Saviour be completed, in seeing the full accomplishment of the travail of his soul. To him who has so wisely formed the scheme, and will faithfully and perfectly accomplish it, bc glory, and majesty, dominion, aad power, both now and forever. Amen.
THE REVELATION OF JOHN.
THOUGH the authority of this book was questioned in the third century, in 1 a few years after it was written it was very generally numbered among the afiostolic writings; and, as Dr. Mill obscrves, hardly any one book irath received more carly, more authentic, or more satisfactory attestations. There is very little reason to doubt that John, 10 whom these revclations were made, was the evangelist of that name, and the author of the three cpistles. According to the charge delivered to him, Ch. i. 19, this book may be divided into three parts. 1. The glorious vision he had of Christ, Ch. i. 2. The efistles he ordered him to write to the seven churches relating to their present circumstances, Ch.ii. iii. 3. The condition of the Churches in afier times, from Ch. iï. (0 the .end. After a sublime description of the Deity, enthroned in giory, is a representation of a sealed book, given to the Lamb, who alone was worthy to open it, Cl. iv. V. Here the scene of prophecy begins; which according to Mir. Lowman, may properly be divided into seven periods. The first, that of the seals (Ch. vi. vii.) The second, that of the trumpets (Ch. viii. ix. X.) The third ( which is introduced by various representations (Ch. xi. xii.) the pouring out of the seven vials (Ch. xiii.- xix.) The fourth, an angel descending 10 confine the great dragon a thousand years, Ch. xx. 1-6. The fifth, Satan loosed again, for a short season, ver. 7-10. The sixth, the general resurrection, the last judgment, and the destruction of the vicked (ver. 11.) The seventh, the glory and happiness of the new Jerusalem, Ch. xxi. xxij. whick concludes with a solemn charge to John to reveal to the churches what he had received ; a declaration of Christ's speedy anproach, and an awful sentence against such as should add to or diminish the words of this prophecy ; many things in which are so dark and mysterious, that the author does not pretend to explain them. Saurin well observes, “ This is a very mortifying book to a mind greedy of knowledge and science, but a very satisfying and agreeable one to a heart solicitous about maxims and precefits, for regulating our tempers and lives.”
The preface and dedication ; a display of the glory of our Lord Jesus, and
sublime songs of praise to him. Ch. i 1-8.
I THE book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ ; which God gave
I to hiin, to shew to his servants the things which must shortly be ; and sending by his angel, he signified them to his servant 2 John : who testified the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus 3 Christ, whatever he saw. Happy is he that readeth, and they that
hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it; for the time is at hand. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia* ; grace and peace
be with you, from him who is, and who was, and who is to come ;
* That is, the proconsular Asia.
5 and from the seven spiritst which are before his throne; and from
Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead, and
the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who hath loved us, 6 and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us
kings and priests to his God and Father ; to him be glory and do7 minion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming in the
clouds; and every eye shall see him, even they who pierced him: 8 and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of him. Yea :
Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omegaf, the beginning and the end,” saith the Lord, who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
REFLECTIONS. With what sublimity doth this wonderful book open! which, though pregnant with inexplicable mysteries, is, at the same time, pregnant with instruction, which the weakest of Christ's humble disciples may peruse with sacred complacency and delight. For surely we are not to imagine that divine book to be unfit for our perusal, and undeserving our regard, concerning which its divine author expressly declares, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy! Thanks be to our heavenly Father, that he gave il to his Son Jesus Christ ! Thanks to the Son of God, that he gave it to his servant John, to be transmitted down to future generations.--Let us attentively view the divine glory of the Father, and of his only-begotten Son, who is the brightness of that glory, and the express image of his person ; and of the Holy Ghost, who is here represented by the seven spirits of the throne. From us, and from all created nature, let there be glory to him that is, and that was, and that is to come and to the first-born from the dead, who is superior to all the kings of the earth, and to all the angels of heaven, who is so intimately united with the Father in divine perfections and glorics, that he also is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end : that he also is almighty ; able by his mighty power to subdne all things to himself ; and is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Never let us be unmindful of the condescension of the Son of God, in becoming, for our redemption and salvation, the Son of man. Let the great things he has done for us, the great things he has taught us to expect from him, be ever familiar to our minds. How astonishing was that love, which engaged him to wash us from our sins in his own blood! How glorious is that exaltation to which he is raising us! rendering us, even in the present world, kings and priests to God, and inspiring us with the ardent hope of an immutable kingdom, and an everlasting priesthood in the temple of our God above. This is the sublime and transcendent happiness of all who with lively faith look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. This illustrious personage is coming in the clouds, and our eyes shall see him : too often already have we pierced him ; let us mourn over our + We may suppose the Spirit of God to be hereby symbolically represented.
Some readers may need to be inforined, that these are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
sins at present, that we may not pour forth floods of unprofitable tears in that awful day; as all the tribes of the earth shall do, who have dared to set themselves against the kingdom of Christ; a king. dom which shall then be triumphant over all opposition, the last of its eneinies being vanquished and destroyed.
Our Lord's appearance to John in Palmos. Ch. i. 9—16.
9 T JOHN, who ain also your brother, and partaker in tribulation,
I and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the
island called Patmos*, for the sake of the word of God, and for 10 the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's 11 dayt, and heard a great voice behind me, as of a trumpet, which
said, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last : And what thou seest, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches in Asia ; to Ephesis, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to
Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the person who uttered the voice which spake 13 unto me; and being turned, I saw seven golden lamps; and in
the midst of the seven lamps one like the Son of Man, clothed in
a long robe, and girded about the breasts with a golden girdle. 14 His head, even his hairs which adorned it, were white like wool, 15 yea as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire ; and
his feet like fine brass, when purified in a furnace; and his voice 16 as the voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven
stars; and out of his mouth there went a sharp two-edged sword; and his countenance was as the sun, when he shineth in his power.
REFLECTIONS. What unspeakable happiness can our blessed Redeemer confer on his faithful servants, while suffering in his cause! How wretched was Cæsar on his imperial throne, compared with this despised and persecuted disciple of Christ, in his old age banished to the desolate island of Patmos! There his Lord condescended to visit him, opened his eyes to prophetic visions, and diffused around him celestial glories. Nlay we in no case be ashamed of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, a zeal for which was so graciously acknowledged, so gloriously rewarded. It was on the Lord's day that the apostle was in the Spirit : how often has the Spirit of God visited his people at that sacred season! visited thein as well in their secret retirements as in the public assembly ; when the hand of providence, as in the instance before us, and not their own negligence, and indifference to di: ine ordinances, occasioned their absence from them : otherwise we might fear that those raptures of mind, which in the contempt of
* A desart island in the Ægean sea, to which he was banished by the Emperor Domitian.
+ Under his miraculous energy, on the first day of the week, called the Lord's, from his resurrection on that day.