• their eyes, and to be led by the Lamb un. "to the fountain of living waters,' Rev. vii. 16, 17. All which doth very plainly and plentifully express that infinite glory and endless felicity which is prepared for all the true and faithful worshippers of God. Many good lessons and observations might be gathered out of all this: But I do of pur. pose omit them, in this work I do chiefly ly and almost altogether aim at the intera pretation, therein also studying brevity, foundness, and plainness.


W E have heard out of the seventh :VV chapter, how the devils and their instruments, the Roman emperors, did stop the course of the gospel. Now in this .' chapter we are to hear the woful effects of the stopping thereof, which was the spring, ing up, and prevailing of manifold errors and herefies in the world. So that the principle design is to fhew, that God for the contempt of his gospel, and great in.

of, did give up the world to blindness, to error, to superstition and herely: and as the apostle faith, “because they received

not the love of the truth, therefore God • sent them strong delusions, that they

Thould believe in lies,' 2 Thes. ij. 11. For 'as before we have heard how the world was most fearfully punished with external plagues and judgments, so here we are to understand how the same was punished with judgments spiritual and temporal, as formerly was mentioned upon the stopping of the four winds. · For although that fpi.

ritual plague was very great, yet these · spiritual plagues which follow upon the opening of the seventh seal, are far greater. For now we are to hear and understand, not only of the errors and heresies, where. by a way and passage was made by degrees, as it were by certain steps, for Antichrist to climb up into his cursed chair; and to take poffeffion thereof; but also we are to understand of his very tyranny and kinja dom itself; and also of the kingdom of the Turk, and the last judgprent. For the things contained under the opening of the seventh seal, do reach unto the end of the world. For the book fealed with seven seals, containeth all the whole matters which were to be revealed.

This chapter containeth four principle things, as it were the four parts thereof.

First, The great attention and silence, with admiration which was in the church

[ocr errors]

at and upon the coming forth of this most
horrible vengeance. .
. Secondly, Before the execution of these
most execrable plagues, the church is re-
membered and fet in safety with all her
children, by her great mediator Christ
Jesus. :

Thirdly, The execution of this vengeance which cometh forth at the blowing of the seven trumpets by seven angels.

Fourthly, The vengeance itself contained .. in the prevailing of error and heresy; the falling away of the pastors of the church, and ihe universal darkness that followed thereupon.

"And when he had opened the seventh • seal, there was silence in heaven above

half an hour,' Rev. viii. 1... .. By heaven in this place he meaneth not the kingdom of glory after this life; but by heaven is meant the church here . upon. earth, as it is fo taken, Rev. xii. 1. xiv.

2. There may be three reasons assigned 'why the church is called heaven.

firft, Because the birth thereof is from heaven; for (it is born of God,' 1 John V. 1.

Secondly, Because the inheritance thereof is from heaven, and therefore is called, • the inheritance of the saints,' Col. i. 12.

Thirdly, Because the conversation there. ? of is in heaven,' Phil. iii. 20.

To this may be added, that our Lord Jesus in his gospel doth so often call his vi. fible church, the kingdom of heaven,' by a trope, because Christ beginneth his reign in the faithful therein, whom afterward he translateth actually into the very kingdom of glory. By filence here is meant the great attention of the church, because great things were now at hand. For now upon the opening of the seventh seal, far greater matters are threatened than any before: and therefore the church doth liften unto them in deep silence, and as it were in horror and trembling through ada miration; for now there appear such dreadful judgments of God, to be executed upon the earth, that all the heavenly company are astonished and amazed to behold it, and do as it were quake and tremble to think upon it. For as when heavy, news cometh down from the Prince to be proclaimed in open markets, all good subjects do listen and give ear with filence and trembling; so it fareth in this case. By half an hour, he meaneth that short time, wherein the minds of the godly were prepared, fitted and disposed, wisely to consider of these matters, and to make good use of them. I. know right well, that this verse is far other.

wise interpreted by some: but I take this to be most found, and simple, and best a. greeing to all that followeth; for the next verse is joined unto this by a conjunction copulative, to note a coherence of the matter, and to draw the sense together: for he faith, “And I saw seven angels, which stood *before God, and to them were given se.

ven trumpets,' Rev. viii. 2: .. : These feven trumpets fignify that God would proceed against the world in fearful hostility, and come against it as an open enemy unto battle, proclaiming open war against it, as it were with sound of trunipet and drum, setting up the flag of defiance against it. And hereupon groweth this filence and trembling in the church, which only moved with the signs of God's wrath, when as all others fit still in security, as the prophet Zechariah faith in a like cafe. ::


. i To stand in this place, signifieth to administer, as it is said of the priests and Levites, that they stand before God, and before the altar, that is minister. So here the angels do stand before God, as ready to 'administer and execute these judgments. For they are ministring spirits, and here they do found the alarm at the commandment of God. These angels are propounded as seven in number, because it pleased

« ForrigeFortsett »