« ForrigeFortsett »
except we read them, and study them? If therefore we mean to be partakers of this blessedness, we must not only esteem this book to be very profitable, but abfolutely necessary for all the servants of God to be exercised in. And if ever there were any time wherein it behoved to set forth, to urge and to bear in this doctrine to all the people of God, then it is chiefly necessary to be done in this our time. For this age of ours hath in the Pope's kingdom many sharp and quick wits, which commend with marvellous praises both the Pope and the church of Rome, and buz into the ears of the common people, and unlearned sort, many things quite contrary to the doctrine of the fcripture. The Jesuites and priests are grown exceeding crafty and cunning, The Papists are rich, wealthy, and full of armour and ammunition, Popery feemeth to gain ground again, and the Papists look for a day. It stands us then to love Christ and his gospel, that we should be well ap.. pointed, and thoroughly armed againít them. And for this purpose the Revelation of St. John is of great use and neceffity.
As I said before, so I say again, that it is the prophecy of our time, written to this special end, that by it we might be both fore-warned and fore-armed. If we do consider the whole matter of this book, we
shall easily find out the use and end of it; for the excellent matter of it doth argue the excellent end and use of it. .
Now then, as concerning the general • matter of this book, here are to be found
very large and lively descriptions of the most glorious person of Christ, and all his excellent offices, both of King, Priest, and Prophet; and also most notable descriptions of the church, and of the ministers of it; and of the persecutions and afflictions, which it must of necessity pass through in the world, Rev. chapters i. ii. iii. .Also of God's merciful providence for his church, and most vigilant care over it in the midst of all extremities. Here are set before our eye's very lively descriptions of the churches deadly enemies; both of Satan himself, and his three great inftruments, the Roman emperor, the Pope, and the Turk...
Here are set down all their cruel persea cutions of the church, and their utter overthrow in the end. Here are described, hell, death, the resurrection, and the last judg. inent. Here also the very kingdom of heaven, is at large described, with all those great rewards, infinite glory, and endless. felicity which remain for all the faithful worshippers of God..
I conclude therefore, that for as much as this prophecy is of such excellent con.
tents, therefore the use and necessity of it must needs be very great. And for this cause John is willed and commanded by Alpha and Omega to write the things which he had seen, the things that were, and the things that shall come hereafter: by the things which he had feen, is meant that glorious vifion mentioned in Rev. i. 13,14, 15, 16. wherein Jesus Christ did appear unto him in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, in a molt glorious manner, as is there described. And all this was in the island of Patmos, where John was first call. ed and authorized to this work, and there fore he is willed first of all, to record this vision which he had already seen..
By the things that are, he meaneth the present state of the seven churches of Asia, which were then the most flourishing churches in the world, as they are described in the second and third chapters; and in them the estate, of all other churches.;
By the things that shall be, he meaneth all the prophecy of this book, which were to be fulfilled in their time, and all those Itrange accidents, which should come to pass in process of time, and the several ages of the church, even unto the end of the world. Thus we see how John received a precife commandment from the Son of God, to write things past, presént, and to come, that they might stand in record unto all posterity, from generation to genea ration. Thus much touching the fifth cire cumstance, which is the end and use of this book.
Now followeth to fpeak of the last cira, cumstantial point, which is the authority of this prophecy, which is strongly con : firmed from the author of it, which is Jesus Christ, and therefore it is called the revea lation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him. And again it is written, 1 Jesus sent mine angel to testify these things in
the churches," Rev. xxii. 16. Here we see plainly, that Jesus Christ the very Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, is the author of this book, for he subscribes his name unto it, and sets his hand and real unto it. Needs therefore the authority of it be very great, which cometh from so great a personage; for look what dignity and authority he is of; from whom the book cometh, of the same dignity and authority is the book itself. .
Another strong argument to confirm the authority of this book, may be taken from the protestation of Jesus Christ in these words; 'I proteft, unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of
this book, if any man fhall add unto these . sayings, God shall add unto him thé
plagues that are written in this book.
* And if any shall diminish the words of the book of this prophecy, God Mall take
away his part out of the book of life.' - Rev. xxii. 18.
i Here we see how Jesus Christ maketh the authority to this book equal to all the other oracles of God, to the which it is not lawful for any man to add or detract under
also for the authority of this book, that St. John doth. fo often repeat, reiterate, and inculcate his own name, I John, I John, I John; I John the apostle; i John the evangelift; I. John the divine, shewing by all these repetitions, how needful a thing it was that the faithful should be thoroughly instructed who he was, even one of the Lamb's twelve apostles, and therefore to pe void of all suspicion and doubt concerning the authority of this book, and not once to imagine it to be any invention of Man, or feigned device, since it was penned by fo great an apostle. .
M oreover, the authority of this pro. phecy is confirmed by four reasons in the
chapter. The first is the affirmation the angel, who faith, the words are
thful and true,? Rev. xxi. 6, 7, 8. le fecond is the authority of the molt gh God himself in these words. “The Lord God of the holy prophets fent liis Lord