« ForrigeFortsett »
ing to his great commandment. And let us always be fure of this, that the more fervent and zealous we are in religious duties, the more familiar acquaintance we lhall find with God, and he will at all times be the more open-hearted unto us, and will hide nothing from us that may be for his glory, and our good. For such as are much in heavenly contemplation, he doth reckon not amongit his servants, but amongst his dearest friends, to whom he will make known all things that he hath heard of the Father, John xv. 15. - But now let us proceed to the third cire cumstance. The third circumstance is the place where John received this prophecy, and that is set down to be the island of Patmos, which, as the geographers write, is a little desert-island lying in the Egean fea, wherein it is reported that John the . apostle was banished by the emperor Do. nitian, about the year of our Lord 96, and there received, and wrote this book of the Revelation, where note by the way, that there is no place so obscure or vast, wherein a godly mind may not aspire up unto hea, ven, and receive a greater largeness of su. pernatural things; for Daniel in prison, Peter in a tanner's house, Paul in a broken thip received a super-abundant measure of grace niore to be elteemed than all the gold
of India. Some write, that this island of Patmos, is accounted among the islands. called Sporados, which lie over against Asia, and the city of Ephesus, and was in fight both of Europe, and Africa; so that it feemed to be as it were a middle seat or holy chair, out of which Christ preached by John from heaven to the whole world. And indeed the councils of God are won. derful, and his · goodness unspeakable, · which revealeth fo great mysteries to his faithful, as it were out of the Romih prie son, and Babylonish captivity.
Moreover, John declareiħ the cause of his coming into the same island; for he saith,'. He was there for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, that is, for the preaching and constant profession of the gospel of Christ.
History reports, that John was apprehended in Asia, and by the soldiers led to Rome, that he might plead his cause before the emperor Domitian, who most fam vagelyand cruelly condemned the innocent, and caused him to be put into a caldron of hot boiling oil, out of which when he by niiraculous providence escaped without harm, he was carried and conveyed into the island of Patmos."
But immediately after John's banishment, God met well enough with this perfecuting .. . '; D.
therefore as e fervants bapter and and that
emperor Domitian. For in the fifteenth year of his reign he was cruelly and most Thamefully murdered by his own fervants. And thus much for the third circumstance.
Now it followeth to speak of the fourth circumstance, which is, the persons to whom this prophecy is written, and that is fet down in the first chapter and first verse, to be all the fervants of God. - As many therefore as be the servants of God, must attended unto this book, hear it, read it, and remember it, for to all such it is dedicated by the Holy Ghost, to all such it be. longeth, for all such it is written and recorded. .
Some do falsely and foolishly imagine, that it was given only to John, and that it Inight likewise be given to some special inen, as to fonie great scholars or deep divines, which could tell how to use it, and now to wield it. But we fee how grossly they err; for the Holy Ghost iaith, it bebelongeth to all the servants of God. And. moreover, John is willed and commanded to write all the things which he faw in sun. dry visions in a book together, and to send it to the seven churches which is in Afia, Rev. i. 11. because the Lord would have it remain in perfect record unto the use of the whole church, both that the church might have the custody of this book, and .
also that it might be a faithful witness unto the end of the world, that this book was written and penned by John the apostle, of whose truth and sincerity the church had sufficient experience.
True it is indeed that there are but seven churches named, but under these seven churches all others are comprehended. It had been an infinite matter to reckon up all the particular churches which were then in the world and to have opened their feveral estates: therefore under these seven churches of Asia, and their , articular and several estates, the state of the universal church militant is laid open. I conclude therefore that the whole doctrine of St. John's Revelation, appertaineth to the univerfal church of Christ throughout all the world, and in all times and ages, fince it was written and recorded. And that as all scripture is written for our instruction and comfort, Rom. xv, 4, and as all fcripture is given by divine inspiration, is profitable to teach and convince, &c. 2. Tit. ii. 16. so this book of the Revelation is written for the special comfort and instruction of the church in these last days. And so I do conclude this fourth point. The first circumstantial point is, the end and use of this prophecy, which is to publish and blaze abroad the things which must shortly corne
1.* D 2
to pass, that is, all things prophefied in this book, and to be fulfilled even to the end of the world, and whereas he saith, That these things must come to pass, Rev.. i. 1. he gives us to understand how great the stableness, and assuredness of God's determination is. For look what things are fore-appointed by God's determinate purpose, they are altogether unchangeable: the Lord is God, and he is not changed, Malachi iii. 6. And he saith, "My de“termination shall stand," And Christ faith, Heaven and earth shall pass away,' &c. Matth. xxiv. 35. It is therefore most certain, that every particular thing contained in this prophecy, shall be fulfilled in God's appointed time. For God hath dif. closed these things to his Son Christ, not to the end he should shut them up again in himself, but that he should show them forth to the godly, that the whole church might fare the better by them. It doth then become us all to inquire and search into these things which must shortly come to pass, that thereby we may be strengthened and comforted against all future dangers. And Christ faith, Behold I come ; fhortly: blessed is he that keepeth the
words of the prophesy,' &c. Rev. xxii. 7. But how thall we keep them except we know them? And how shall we know them