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? And they cried with a loud voice, * saying, how long, Lord, holy and true,
doft not thou judge and avenge our blood .' on them that dwell upon the earth?'. Rev. vi. 10.
Here we fee plainly, that the souls of the martyrs do very vehemently cry for vengeance upon these cruel tyrants which shed their blood. Moreover, they cry for it fpeedily, and feem to be impatient of delay. But it is to be observed, that they do not this in any hatred, or private desire of revenge, in respect of any wrong or cruelty fhewed to them; but in very love and burning zeal of the kingdom and glory of Christ, and whatsoever desire they have, it is wholly to that end. Wherefore they are here under a. figure brought in crying for vengeance, rather to exprefs what judgment of God tarrieth for the cruel persecuters, then to thew what mind they bear towards them. For it is indeed their cause that crieth for vengeance. And as Abel's blood, so their blood crieth aloud in the ears of the Lord of hoits for revenge.
Moreover, we may not imagine or gather out of this loud crying of the martyrs in heaven, that they have any disturbance, impatience, disquietness, or any discontent. men: there. But this they do in a fervent desire of that fulness of glory, which they
assuredly hope for and look for in consumation of all things, when both their souls and bodies shall be joined together.
And long white robes were given unto • every one; and it was said unto them, . That they should rest for a little season, until their fellow servants and their brethren which should be killed, even as they were, were fulfilled.' Rev. vi. 11. .
These white robes do signify that honour, glory, and dignity, whereunto not only the martyrs, but also of all other faithful believers are advanced in the chambers of peace: for so white robes are to be understood in fundry other places of this book. And this doth plainly prove, that the mar. tyrs 'were now in glory with Christ.
Now, as concerning the answer to their complaint and cry, it was this, that they should be content, and have patience for a little season, (for the time remaining, to the end of the world, was but as a day with God, and as a moment in comparison of eternity:) and the reason of the delay is yielded, which is this, that there were numbers of others, their brethren in the world, which should be martyred and llain for the truth, as well as they, under the great antichrist of Ronie, and the bloody Turk, at and upon the opening of the leven th feal. And therefore in considera.
tion that the most wife God had decreed and fore-determined with himself in most secret and hid counsel, to bring multitudes, of others to glory by the same way and means that they themselves were brought, that therefore in the mean time, being so short a time, they should rest satisfied and contented. And here by the way, we fee what stayeth the coming of Christ unto judgment; namely this, that the number of the martyrs and faints and all such as he hath chosen unto life, are not yet accomo plished.
"And behold when he opened the fixth seal, and lo, there was a great earth-quake, and the fun was as black as fack-cloth of hair, and the moon was like blood.' Rev. vi. 12. . i.
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig-tree cafteth her green figs, * when it is shaken of a mighty wind." Rev. vi. 13.
• And heaven departed away as a scroll « when it is rolled, and every mountain
and isle were moved out of their place." Rev. vi. 14.
Upon the opening of the fixth feal, very doleful and fearful things do follow: as earth-quakes, the darkning of the fun, the obscurity of the moon, the falling of the Itars, the rolling together of the heavens,
the removing of mountains and ifles out of their places, the howlings and horrors of kings, captains, and other potentates of the earth, which are all things very terrible and fearful to behold: and all these do reprefent and figure out unto us the most fearful tokens of God's high displeasure and most heavy indignation against the wicked world. Very grievous things fell out upon the opening of the second, third, and fourth seals: but they are far more grievous which follow upon the opening of this sixth seal: for this sixth seal containeth an aggravation and increase of all the former judge. ments. For now after the cry of the martyrs for yengeance, God the avenger of the blood of the righteous doth shew himself from heaven, and declare his wrath in a more fearful manner than before, even to the great astonishment of all the creatures in heaven and earth. So horrible a thing is the shedding of the blood of the Christians. For now we fee plainly, that God heareth the cries of his martyrs, and cometh as a giant, or an armed man, to take vengeance of all their enemies, for, precious in the 'sight of the Lord is the death of his saints:'. Pfal. cxvi. 15. and he is much moved with the cry of their blood, as here we see. And therefore now threatened to hold a general allize, wherein he will make inquisition
after blood, and arraign and condemn all such as are found guilty thereof: according as the persecuting emperors and many others did find and feel by woful experience. For, if God be angry but a little, who may endure it.
Now although the stories do report, that in those days, which was above three hune dred years after Christ, there were many great and fearful earth-quakes in divers nations and cities of the world: yet it is apparent, that the earth-quake here spoken of, cannot be taken literally, nor any of the rest here mentioned. For there was never any time, neither is it mentioned in any chronicle, that ever the sun was as black as fack-cloth of hair; or the moon turned into blood; or the stars fell from heaven; or the heavens rolled together like a fcroll; or that mountains and islands were moved out of their places. Therefore of necessity all this must be understood metaphorically; that is, that God did in fo Itrange and fearful a manner manifest his wrath from heaven by tumults, commotions, feditions, and alterations of kingdoms, as if these things of the sun, moon, and stars, had been visibly represented to the eye. An earth-quake in this book, and other
rowed speech fignify commotions of com