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The glorious vision of the new heaven and earth: the blessing to attend the
faithful conqueror, and the misery of the wicked. Ch. xxi. 1-8.
I A ND I saw a new heaven, and a new earth; for the former
1 heaven, and former earth was passed away ; and the sea was 2 no more. And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, de
scending from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned 3 for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, say
ing, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men; and he shall
pitch his tent among them, and they shall be his people, and God 4 himself shall be among them as their God. And God shall wipe
away their tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor
grief, nor crying ; nor shall there be any more pain; for the for5 mer things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne
said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write, 6 for these are true and faithful words. And he said unto me, It is
done, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the
end: I will give to him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water 7 of life freely. The conqueror shall inherit all things; and I will 8 be to him a God, and he shall be my son. But as for the fearful
and unbelieving, who dare not face the difficulties of religion, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars; their part shall be in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone ; which is the second death.
REFLECTIONS. Let us pause a little, before we proceed to the more particular de: scription of this glorious scene; and let our hearts rejoice in this general view of the new heaven, and the new carth, and of the holy city descending out of heaven from God. Will God in very deed dwell with men? Will he dwell with them for ever? Will he fix his taber. nacle with them, and condescend to avow them for his people, and to make limsclf known unto them as their God? Let our souls then be awakened, to pay a due attention to such glorious and important promises. Let us hearken to the voice of him who sitteth upon the throne, whose words are undoubtedly true and faithful. Lord, dost thou make all things new? Verify the word first, we implore thee, in our hearts, that it may be verified at length in our state and condition. O thou Alpha and Omega, who art the Beginning and the End! thou who hast done so much to introduce this divine scheme of salvation, perfect it, we entreat thee, with respect to us, exciting our thirst after the water of life; and may we come and take it as freely as it is offered in the gospel.
In what part of the holy scripture is life and death, the blessing and the curse, set before us, if not in these awful passages ? Let those who are too timorous resolutely to adhere to their duty, be recovered, and, as it were, driven back to it, by the fear of divine vengeance. VOL. II.
And let all habitual and obstinate sinners, and especially all liars, who bring up the rear of a catalogue, in which murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, make a part, be awakened by this awful threatening. O desperate and inexcusable folly! to be afraid of the displeasure of men, and the inconveniences which may possibly attend an adherence to the truth, and not to fear the lake which burns for ever with fire and brimstone!
But let us courageously encounter, and then we shall conquer, all our enemies; animated by these glorions promises, in which all the encouragements contained in the sacred volume, are comprised, that he who overcomes, shall inherit all things, while God owns himself his God, and acknowledges him as his son; and if a son, then an heir, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ ; and if so, all things are indeed ours. Let those tears, that will now sometimes silently steal down our cheeks, be shed as tears which we expect quickly to have wiped away, even by the soft and compassionate hand of our heavenly Father. Let us bear our sorrows, and our pains, as those that know we shall, through divine grace, soon be out of the reach of them; and let us meet death itself, if we are sincere believers in Christ, as those that know its reign will soon come to a period; and that when once we are recovered from it, by the almighty power of our great General, we shall never more be subject to its invasion, or any of its terrors ; even then, when all former things shall have passed away.
A particular description of the splendour, purity, and happiness of the heave
enly Jerusalem. Ch. xxi. 9, &c.
9 Á ND there came to me one of the seven angels who had the
A seven vials full of the seven last plagues; and spake with me, saying, Come and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the 10 Lamb. And he brought me in the Spirit to a great and high
mountain, and he showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, 11 coming down out of heaven from God, and having the glory of
God shining around it: and its lustre was like to that of a most 12 precious gem, even as a jasper stone, clear as crystal: and having
a great and high wall ; having also twelve gates, and over the
gates twelve angels, and names written upon them, which were 13 the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. On the east
three gates; on the north three gates ; on the south three gates ; 14 and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve
foundations; and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the 15 Lamb. And he that spake with me had a golden reed that he 16 might measure the city, and its gates, and wail. And the city
was a square, its length [being] equal to its breadth : and he measured the city with the reed, (and found it) twelve thousand
furlongs : its length, and its breadth, and its height were equal. 17 And he measured the thickness of its wall, which was one hundred
forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of 18 the angel who took its dimensions. And the building of its wall
was like a rock of jasper, and the city was of pure gold, bright 19 and clear like refined glass. And the foundations of the walls of
the city were adorned with every precious stone. The first foun
dation was jasper ; the second, sapphire ; the third, chalcedony ; 20 the fourth, emerald ; the fifth, sardonyx ; the sixth, sardius ; the
seventh, crysolite ; the eighth, beryl; the ninih, topaz; the tenth,
chrysoprasus; the eleventh, hyacinth ; and the twelfth, amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls ; each of the gates was
of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, transparent 22 as glass. And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty, 23 and the Lamb, are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the
sun, neither of the moon to shine therein ; for the glory of the Lord 24 enlightened it, and the Lamb was the light thereof. And the na
tions of the saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth 25 do bring their glory, and their honour into it. And the gates of it
shall not be shut by day, nor at all ; for there shall be no night 26 there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations 27 into it. And nothing unclean shall enter into it, nor any thing
which practiseth abomination and falsehood ; but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
REFLECTIONS. GLORIOUS things are indeed spoken of thee, O thou city of God. Thus does the divine Being condescend to aid our feeble faith, by such sensible representations. But none of these things which are spoken, can give us an idea grand and magnificent enough. The pearls and the gems, the gold and the crystal, the honour of kings, and all the nations they govern, all these fall inconceivably short of that glory ; for eye hcth not seen, nor ear heard, nor (active and boundless as the human imagination may seem) has it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God has prepared for them that love him, in these regions of perpetual day, of everlasting security, in this grand temple, the whole of which shall be replenished with the most sensible tokens of his presence.
And who shall abide in this thy tabernacle ? Who shall dwell in this thy holy hill ? They who are written in the Lamb's book of life; they whom God has, from the beginning, chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, being predestinated to the adoption of children, through Jesus Christ unto himself. And who are these ? None that are unclean and profane ; none that work abomination and a lie ; but the pure and pious, the humble and holy. “ Form us, O Lord, to this character by thy grace : and never let the gaudy glare of sensual enjoyments, and worldly possessions, turn our eyes from contemplating this glorious sight, or alienate our hearts from the pursuit of this blessedness; till, having heard of it by the hearing of the ear, and believed the faithful report, our eyes shall behold those divine substantial glories, which these emblems, resplendent as they are, can but imperfectly represent. In the mean time, O Lord, lead us onwards through what dark and gloomy path thou pleasest, to these abodes of light and glory; determine for us in what cottages we shall lodge, though ever so mean and obscure, while we are pursuing our journey to this royal, this imperial palace.
Afuriher vision of the river of life, and of the tree of life; the happiness of
the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem. Ch. xxii. 1-9.
1 AND he shewed me the pure river of the water of life, clear
Il as chrystal, issuing out of the throne of God, and of the 2 Land. In the midst of the street of it, and on the one side and
the other of the river, was the Tree of Life, producing twelve
kinds of fruits, every month producing one kind of fruit : and 3 the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And
every curse shall cease. And the throne of God and the Lamb, 4 shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him. And they shall
see his face ; and his name shall be borne upon their foreheads. $ And there shall be no night there ; and they have no need of a
lamp, nor of the light of the sun ; because the Lord God shall 6 enlighten them ; and they shall reign for ever and ever. And
he said to me, These words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets hath sent his holy angel to shew his 7 servants what must quickly be done. Behold I come quickly :
Blessed is he who keepeth the words of the prophecy of this 8 book. And I John saw and heard these things : and when I
heard, and saw thein, I fell down to worship before the feet of the Dangel, who shewed these things to me. But he said to me, Sec
thou do it not : for I am a fellow-servant with thee, and of thy brethren the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book ; Worship God.
REFLECTIONS. We will not now employ our time in reviewing the infirmity of this holy apostle, who seems again to have fallen into the same dans ger of idolatry from which he had so lately been recovered. Nor will we stay to examine whether he took this angel for our Lord Jesus Christ, as some have imagined ; or to determine what homage it was he attempted to pay. Let us content ourselves for the present with reflecting, how necessary it is we should be on our guard, against exceeding in our esteem and affection for creatures who have been the means of conveying to us signal advantages, and especially assista ing our views of the New Jerusalem ; To the contemplation of which may we now return with new and growing delight.-Let us raise our eyes to the water of life, which issucs from the throne of God and the Lamb ; to the tree of life which grows on its banks, and produces such a variety of fruit, both for food and refreshment, and for the healing of the nations ; to that more excellent paradise', in which there shall be no curse ; where, from the throne of God and of the Lamb, shall be scattered ten thousand blessings on all his servan! 8 ; who
shall there serve him, with everlasting, with increasing delight, being admitted to see his face, and exulting in their having the name of God written upon their foreheads ; which they reckon a brighter and nobler ornament, than the most glorious crown or diadem, without such an inscription, could be. These are the words of truth and faithfulne88 ; and, as such, may our faith embrace them, and our souls ever rest upon them.
O, that we may feel our thirst after this water of life, our hunger after this fruit of the tree of life, more powerfully excited. We shall, in both respects, be satisfied in the proper season ; and, in the mean time, God will send us some refreshments, during our continuance in the wilderness. Already are we, if we are true believers, delive ered from the curse ; and those things which were the original effects and consequences of it, shall be over-ruled by our gracious God, and converted into a blessing. And O, may divine love, and every genuine regard to God and to the Lamb, prevail and govern in our hearts; and may our lives be devoted to that service in which we hope our eternity will be employed. Have we not already, as it were, received the mark of God in our foreheads ? Have we not solemnly enlisted ourselves to fight under the banner of Christ ? Have we not, in repeated and most affecting solemnities and ordinances of his own institution, declared our desire of being for ever devoted to him ? O, let us ever remember the sacred engagement. Let holiness to the Lord be written on our hearts, as well as on our foreheads. Let all our affections and all our faculties, all our possessions and all our pursuits, be consecrated to God. To bear this name and inscription, will now, even in this dark and benighted world, shed a glory around us. It will be as a sacred guide to our ways, it will cheer and animate our hearts, it will bring down to us many a delightful fore-taste of that world, where, in his light, we shall see light, and where we shall reign with him for ever and ever. Amen.
Christ orders John to publish what had been revealtd to him ; and declares his speedy approach to reward men according to their works. Ch. xxii.
10–15. 10 AND he (i. e. our Lord Jesus Christ) said unto me, Seal not
A up the words of the prophecy of this book ; for the time is 11 near. Let him that is unjust, be unjust still ; and let him that is
polluted, be polluted still ; and let him that is righteous, be right12 eous still ; and let him that is holy, be holy still. And behold, I
come quickly, and my reward is with me : I will recompense to ev13 ery man according as his works shall be. I am the Alpha and the 14 Omega, the beginning and the end ; the first and the last. Hap
py are they who do his commandments, that they may have the
privilege to eat of the tree of life ; and they shall enter by the 15 gates into the city. But without are dogs, and sorcerers, and for
nicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and every one who loveth and maketh a lie.