Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

purc in heart, and holy in life, for they saith he unto me, See thou do it shall see God: that is, have a clear and not : for I am thy fellow-servant, apprehensive, though not a full and com

and of thy brethren the prophets, prehensive, knowledge of him. 4. His and of them which keep the sayings name shall be in their forcheads : bis of this book : worship God. name, that is, his holy nature, his image and likeness, by which they shall be known, The prophetical part of this book being as a man is by his name : an allusion pro- now ended, here follows the conclusion, bably to the high-priest, who had holiness which is managed in a way of dialogue, 'to the Lord wrillen on his frontlet; or a between Christ, the angel, and the apostle. reflection upon the worshippers of the beast, Note here, i. How the divine authority of who have his name on their foreheads; in this book is strongly asserted, and its excellike manner the name of God shall be on lences commended : These sayings are his servants' foreheads; they are thankful for faithful and true : that is, all things conimperfect lineaments here, but shall be salis- tained in this book of prophecies are cerfied with his likeness then and there. Last- tain, and infallibly true. The Holy Spirit ly, It is closed with this, they shall reign of God foresaw that this book would be for ever and ever, not for a thousand years, more questioned than other books of holy as the militant church is said to reign on scripture, therefore he confirms the divine earth after antichrist's destruction, but for authority of it by an holy angel, and the eternal ages, and this not partially, but truth of all things in it, and especially that fully and completely, when all their spi- which relates to the happiness of the saints ritual enemies, 'sin, Šatan, and the world, in heaven, the inhabitants of the New Je. yea, death itsell, shall be put under their rusalem, with a frequent assertion, viz. feet, and that for ever. From the whole These sayinys are faithful and true. It learn, That when we are at any time de- iş added, they shall shortly be done ; this jected upon the account of our dark and im- is spoken of the beginning of their accomperfect knowledge, or afflicted upon the oc- plishment, they shall begin to be fulfilled, casion of many wearisome nights and days and to take effect, and shall receive their of sin and sorrow, of trouble and templa- full and final accomplishment in due time. tion, of misery and desertion, which we Behold here in Christ's omnisciency an have here on earth, let this meditation com- evident proof of his divinity; he knows all fort us, that the happy day is coming, when things to come, as well as all things past : there shall be no night, but an eternal sab- and whereas Christ says, these things shall baih of rest, light, and life, with plenty of shortly be done ; we learn, That ihe time all good things, even fulness of joy, and of the church's suffering is a limited time, rivers of pleasure for evermore.

it is a short time, after which shall follow O Lord, the well of life so pure an eternal deliverance, and a great reward, Doth ever flow from thee,

Observe farther, That Christ subjoins a proAnd in thy light thy saints are sure mise and assurance of the certainty and sudEternal light to see.

denness of his coming to judgment, for the -The Lord giveth them light, and they support of his church, during the short shall reign for ever and ever.

time of her sufferings and services, Behold,

I come quickly ; next he pronounces them 6 And he said unto me, These say- blessed who keep the word of this book, ings are faithful and true : and not only in memory and profession, but in the Lord God of the holy prophets practice and performance. Observe lastly, sent his angel tu show unto his ser- this book : he leaves here upon record bis

The sincerity of St. Jolin, the penman of vants the things which must shortly relapse into that error into which he had be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly; fallen before, chap. xix. 10. The good blessed is he that keepeth the say- man relates his own sin ; yea, records his ings of the prophecy of this book. relapse into the same sin, once and again, 8 And I John saw these things, and which, as it discovers thai he preferred the heard them. And when I had heard glory of God before his own reputation, so and seen, ! fell down to worship be- it evidently declares that a holy man may fore the feet of the angel which inadvertency, or the power of a temptation,

possibly relapse into the same sin through shewed me these things. 9 Then and how much it is the duty of every one that thinketh he standeth, to take heed lest and the direction of a rule, but the sweethe fall. Of St. John's weakness in wor- ness of a promise, and a gracious privilege shipping the angel, see the notes on chap. that they shall persevere in holiness unto xix. 10. as also the angel's answer, Worship the end. God: as much as if he had said, “ Thou 12 And behold, I come quickly; mistakest the object of thine adoration, I and my reward is with me, to give am a created being, and can accept of no such homage as this, which is peculiarly every man according as his work

shall be. due to the great Creator."

The former verses contained a dialogue or 10 And he saith unto me, Seal interlocutory discourse between the angel not the sayings of the prophecy of and St. John : here Christ begins to speak, this book ; for the time is at hand. and continues his speech to the middle of 11 He that is unjust, let him be un- the 20th verse, wherein he declares, that it just still: and he which is filthy, let will not be long before he comes to judge him be filthy still : and he that is the world, to give unto those who are good righteous, let him be righteous still: evil everlasting punishment. Here observe,

everlasting happiness, and to them that are and he that is holy, let him be holy J. an excitation, Behold! 2. The celesstill.

tial object, Christ Jesus, I come quickly. Observe here, 1. A strict charge given And, 3. The end of his coming, My reunto St. John, not 10 seal or close up the ward is with me to render unto every one words of this prophecy, but to publish and according to his works. Learn hence, 1. make it known for the use and benefit of That the notices of our Lord's coming to the church, for which reason this book is judgment, are usually, in scripture, ushered called a revelation : Seal not the sayings in with great solemnity, with a mark of atof the prophecy of this book. Where tention and observation; this word, Behold, mark, That although this book be the ob- is generally prefixed and set before; thus, scurcst part of the scripture, yet it is Christ's Jude 7. Behold! the Lord cometh with command that it should not be concealed ten thousand of his saints, to erecute from the knowledge of the people: how sa- judgment upon all

. So the apostle Jam crilegious then is ihe practice of the church gives an awful admonition, Behold! the of Rome in robbing the common people of Judge standeth before the door, ready to all the scriptures, locking them up in an un

pass a final sentence. And St. John in this known tongue, and forbidding the people book of the Revelation seldom speaks of to read the same! Observe, 2. How the Christ's coming, but he breaks forth into Holy Ghost here pre-occupates an objection, an ecstasy of admiration : Behold! he which St. John 'might be ready to make, cometh with clouds, and every eye shall “If I seal not up, but make known this

see him, and they which pierced him. prophecy, the wicked men of the world, Learn, 2. That the special distribution of persecutors especially, will be made worse rewards and punishments is reserved until by it ; they will be unjust still, and filthy Jesus Christ : My reward is with me to

the second coming and appearance of still, and more so than ever :" Be it so, says he, yet the righteous will be more confirmed give to every man according to his work. in their course of obedience: and such as Learn, 3. That it is our wisdom and dury are holy, will be holy still, and such as are

to represent, by actual and solemn thoughts, righteous, will be righteous still. There is, the certain and speedy coming of Christ to we see, a dangerous perseverance in sin, as the righteous judgment of the world ; I well as a desirable perseverance in grace and

come ; behold, I come ; behold, I come holiness ; let him that is unclean be unclean quickly, to render unto every man accordstill. Where mark, this is no permission, ing to his works. much less a persuasion, to sin, but a dread. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the sul threatening or commination, that such as beginning and the end, the first and give up themselves to sinning, shall be ju- the last. 14 Blessed are they that dicially given up by God to sin as a punish- do his commandments, that they ment; such a liberty as this to sin, is the worst of bondage. Again, he that is holy, may have right to the tree of life, let him be holy still; ihe words carry with and may enter in through the gates them not only the force of a command, into the city.

As if Christ had said, “ I am the eternal the root of Christ, Isa. xi. 1. There shall God, the first cause and the last end of all come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, things : I first made the world, and I will and a branch shall grow out of his roots. at last put a period to it; and when time 3. Christ styles himself the bright morning shall be no more, they shall for ever be star, that is, the light of the world, enlighthappy in the enjoyment of me, who have ening and enlivening the new creation; the here obeyed me, and lived in conformity to fountain of all knowledge, grace, and commy doctrine and example; they shall fort, on earth, and of all glory and happithrough holiness enter the gates of the New ness in heaven. As the morning star first Jerusalem, that glorious city, having the brings light to the world, so Christ first tree of life in it; present blessedness, as published the light of the gospel, and now, well as future happiness, belongs to those by this revelation, gives a superadded light that obey God's will, and keep his com- to his people, informing them what shall mandments; Blessed are they, and bless- befall his church until his second coming cd for ever shall they be."

to judgment. 15 For without are dogs, and sor- 17 And the Spirit and the bride cerers, and whoremongers, and mur- say, Come. And let him that hearderers, and idolaters, and whoso- eth say, Come. And let him that ever loveth and maketh a lie. is athirst, come;

And whosoever Without, that is, without the gates of the will, let him take the water of life city of the New Jerusalem, are all filthy and freely. unclean sinners, all cruel and bloody perse

Observe here, 1. The persons mentioned, cutors, all raging and furious enemies to me The Spirit and the bride ; by the Spirit and my people, all idolaters and all liars ; understand the Holy Ghost

, and by the these shall be shut out of heaven, as dogs bride, the whole Catholic church in geneare shut out of the house; and shut into ral, both in heaven and earth, and every hell, to be imprisoned with devils and dam- true believer in particular. Behold how ned spirits, and that everlastingly, to lie for the Spirit speaks in the bride, and how the ever in that mysterious fire, whose strange bride speaks from and by the Spirit

. Christ property it is always to torture, but never by his spirit is present with her, by his into kill, or always to kill but never to con

fluence he is assistant to her. Observe, 2. sume : they would die but they cannot die; The title here given to the church, she is they seek for death, but cannot find it; called Christ's bride, and he elsewhere call

. they desire it, but it flies from them.

ed her bridegroorr.: now this title of a bride 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to given to her, is, 1. A title of eminency and testify unto you these things in the excellency, and stands in opposition 10 churches. I am the root and the adultery; she is a bride, not a whore; the offspring of David, and the bright and so often called : she desires not Christ's

false church is not a bride, but the whore, and morning star.

coming, no more than an adulteress desires Observe here, 1. That the Lord Jesus the return of her husband; but the bride, Christ is the author of this Revelation, and being a chaste virgin, longs for it. 2. As owneth it to be his ; the angel did but de. the word bride is a word of excellency, as clare it

, St. John did but write it, Christ it stands in opposition to adultery; so is it a himseif was the inditer of it: they were word of extenuation and diminution, as it not the inventions of St. John, nor the stands in a distinction from matrimony and sayings of the angel, but the revelation was complete marriage; it is the bride, not a Chrisi's ; which leaves all men inexcusable married wife. The saints are contracted to who believe not the same, but question the Christ in this world; the marriage is near, divine authority thereof. Observe, 2. The and shall be consummated in the next

. A bride titles here by Christ given of himself

, 1. is a spouse on the confines of marriage, near The root of David, that is, as God, from the approaches of the conjugal solemnity. whom by creation David and all mankind Blessed be God ! it will not be long behad their being, and did spring. 2. The fore Christ and his church, Christ and every offspring of David, according to his hu- believer, who are now betrothed and espousmanity; Christ as God was the root of ed, shall be fully and completely married, David: but considered as man, David was

and in the perfect enjoyment of each other. Observe, 3. The affection which this bride 18 For I testify unto every man expresses towards her bridegroom; she says, that heareth the words of the proCome, she passionately and impatiently de- phecy of this book, If any man shall sires, and vehemently longs for his coming add unto these things, God shall Come, is a word of invitation ; “I pray add unto him the plagues that are come, it is my earnest suit and request that thou wouldest come." Learn nce, That written in this book : 19 And if the glorious coming and appearance of Je- any man shall take away from the sus Christ to judgment, is vehemently de- words of the book of this propliecy, sired and earnestly longed for by all be- God shall take away his part out of lievers. The Spirit in the bride, and the the book of life, and out of the holy bride by the Spirit, say, Come. Observe, 4. The invitation of access returned by city, and from the things which are Christ, the bride says, Come; says

Christ,

written in this book, Let him that is athirst come ; we must Here we have a dreadful commination first come to Christ by faith and repentance, and severe threatening denounced by Christ, before we can ever desire Christ's coming against all such as shall add any thing to to us by dealh and judgment. Observe the scriptures in general, and to this prolastly, The intimation given by Christ of a phecy in particular ; not by way of true gracious acceptance, and a grateful en. interpretation, but either formally, by join. tertainment: Whoever will, let him take of ing any thing to be received as scripture the water of life freely. Here note, 1. which God never revealed to be such ; or The benefit mentioned or the mercy offer- virtually, by putting such a sense and ed, water of life, all grace here, and glory meaning upon scripture as God never inhereafter ; grace, as it leads to glory, and tended, and the words cannot rationally glory as it follows upon grace : grace bear. Almighty God here declares, that he carries life in the bosom of it, even eter- will add to such his plagues, and shut nal life. Note, 2. The persons to whom them out of the holy city, the New Jerusathis benefit is offered and tendered, that is, lem, the kingdom of heaven : and if so, to whosoever will : to show that salvation learn we what great guilt the church of is not forced upon us against our wills, but Rome contracts, and what a dreadful curse bestowed upon us in the use of our facul- she lies under, by making oral tradition of lies, and in the exercise of our own endea- equal authority with the scriptures, and by vours ; we are the subjects of this willing- adding new articles of faith, new points of ness, but God is the author of it, Psal. cx. 3. doctrine : which is, in effect, to accuse Certum est nos velle, cum volumus : sed God of ignorance or inadvertency. True, Deus facit ut velimus ; præbendo vires the doctrine of christianity is a tradition efficacissimas voluntati : says St. Austin. it was delivered by Christ to the apostles, Note, 3. The offer itself, let him take it and by the apostles to their successors ; but freely ; grace is the free gift of God, as now they being long since dead, we cannot well as eternal life. Such is God's muni. receive from them the doctrine of life by ficence and royalty, that he will not sell word of mouth, but must stick to the scriphis good things; if he did, such is our in- tures or written word, for these things were digence and poverty that we could never written for our sake. But if any man buy them ; therefore, says God, take freely. shall add unto these things, God shall Yet must we understand it only of a free. add unto him the plagues that are writ. dom from merit, not a freedom from endea- ten in this book. We reject not all tradi

God's offers in the gospel are condi- tions, because scripture itself is a 'radition ; tional ; he proffers his Son, and all good but we blame the church of Rome, and with him, but upon condition of our accepte deservedly sure, for making her private un. ance on his own terms. Let none then strait- written traditions of equal authority with en the grace of God, where he has enlarged the scriptures, and for urging that they it. 'If a man has a mind to keep his sins, he ought to be received pari pietatis affectu, shall have no mercy, be they never so small; with the same pious affection with which but if he be willing to leave his sins, and 10 we receive the holy scriptures. And thus accept an offered Saviour, as offered, he shall they set their post by God's post, and equal not be excluded from mercy, be they never their traditions with the doctrines of faith : so great ; for, says Christ, Whosoever will their opinion is bad, but their practice is let him take of the water of life freely. worse; for they value their own traditions

3 M

[ocr errors]

vour.

VOL. II

above the scriptures, and prefer them before coming so exceedingly desired by his the scriptures ; they never called their own church and children? Answ. For finishtraditions "a nose of wax, a dead letter, a ing the days of sinning, and destroying the dumb rule, an obscure doctrine;" but in works of Satan; for accomplishing the num. this manner have they stigmatized the holy ber of his own elect, and for hastening his scriptures; and how they will escape Christ's kingdom ; for freeing the creature from subsevere commination here before us, for add. jection to vanity; for manifesting the glory ing to, and taking from, the word of God, of his justice and mercy, and for putting his concerns them to look to it; for they must saints into the full and final possession of certainly answer for it at the bar of God. their promised inheritance. Learn, 2. That 20 He which testifieth these things servants, to have the full fruition of Jesus

it is the unfeigned desire of God's faithful saith, Surely I come quickly ;- Christ; this is the habitual desire of their

That is, Jesus Christ, the faithful and true hearts, that Christ would come, and receive Witness, from whom St. John received this them to himself, though at the same time revelation, as he formerly had done the holy they may tremble at some circumstances of gospel, saith, Surely I come quickly. his coming : there is a degree of sinful bonWhere note, 1. That this prophecy or pro- dage, which hinders much our spiritual mise of Christ's second conuing to judge the confidence and boldness; but the more holy world, is here left as Christ's last word upon

we are, the more emboldened we shall be record; it is almost the last word in the against the day of judgment. Bible, doubtless, that it might be seriously 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus minded, and frequently remembered by us. Christ be with you all. Amen. Christ had in this chapter twice before, namely, at vcr. 7. and 12. testified that he This is an epistolary conclusion, used alcame quickly; yet he repeats it here again, most in all the epistles of the New Testato excite us to prepare for it, and to live ment, and so here, because this prophecy continually in the expectation of it. Note, was in the manner of an epistle directed to That as Christ has three several times in

the churches. St. John began this epistle this chapter given us the assurance of the with this salutation, chap. i. 4. and so ends certainty of his coming, so he prefixes an

with it here; he knew there would be a Ecce, or Behold, before it, Behold! I long tract of time intervening between the come quickly: and here he prefixes the giving of the promise and the fulfilling of word surely before it, Surely I come quick- it

, between the bride's making herself ready. ly, to awaken the security, and leave the and the day wherein the marriage was to be incredulity of sinners without excuse, who solemnized; he well knew that before the live as if they did not believe any such day consummation of all things, there were many would come.

sad dispensations which the churches would Amen. Even so, come,

Lord Jesus.

certainly meet with, many false doctrines

would be spread, many duties to be perTo the fore-mentioned assurance of the formed, many afflictions to be endured, all certainty of our Saviour's coming, St. John, which would require an extraordinary assistin the name of the whole church, subjoins ance and special grace; therefore he prays that a hearty Amen, an earnest wish, a passion. the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be ate desire and longing for our Lord's com- with them all; teaching us incessantly ing, saying, Even so, come, Lord Jesus, to desire for ourselves, and to crave for as thou hast promised, and thy people long others the auxiliary aids of divine grace, to expected. Learn hence, 1. That the com. cnable to the acceptable performance of ing of Christ to judgment is a truth firmly every duty, and to the patient enduring of believed, and earnestly desired by all good every trial. The greatest mercy that can christians. St. John here, in the name of be wished to any, or that any can wish for the church, takes, as it were, the word out themselves, is the grace of God, to excite of Christ's mouth, like a quick echo, and and quicken us to our duty, and to assist presently improves the promise into a pray. and help us in the performance of it; and

Christ's farewell word to his church is, accordingly St. John shuts up this book, I come quickly : the church's farewell suit and therewith the canon of the whole scripto Christ is, Come Lord Jesus,come, quick- ture, in these words, The grace of our Lord ly. Qucst. But why is Christ's second Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

THE END.

er.

« ForrigeFortsett »