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dead bury their dead; but for us let us prepare to preach the everlasting Gospel, which the witnesses have to carry forth into all lands. Out of Babylon the beast ariseth, he made his first essay out of Papal Babylon in infidel France; he will make his second essay out of Protestant Babylon in this our island, where it hath been testified that the witnesses shall be slain.
And here lieth the great burden of this witnessing, because our fathers and mothers and all we hold dear, are lying in the lap of the harlot, satisfied with her false beauty, and commending her as the chosen one of God. To whom we must testify without reluctance, freely and fully of the anger of God, which resteth upon them, and the day of destruction which gathereth over them. And therefore our foes shall be the men of our own household, and they shall think they do God service in seeking to cut us off. Moreover the powers that be are all found conspiring together, both king and subject, priest and people, how they may bring about the grand restoration of all things, by turning Babylon into the beast, hy hatching the egg of the cockatrice; and the witnesses come in upon their busy benevolence and soaring pride, and glorious liberality, saying, ye are working iniquity with greediness, ye are fighting against God with both hands. Ye are converting the prison-hold of saints into the den of dragons, turning Babylon, that sty of swine, into a pandemonium of devils; ye are opening the bottomless pit, and covering the minds of men with sevenfold darkness; ye are setting up devil-worship under the pretence of reasonable service ; ye are making Babylon to become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. What reforming king or parliament, what bishop or general assembly of the church, full of their own ways, will stand such denunciations from me or any man. They will first despise it, and when they see it prevailing against their despite, they will fight against it'; and excommunications and imprisonments and persecutions and death shall fly thick as the hail around our heads; but it shall not come near us to destroy us, though to afflict us in a thousand ways it shall fearfully prevail, to wound us in our hearts, to cut us short in our means of livelihood, to prevent us of our rights and privileges, to deprive us of our consolations, to separate us from all sympathy and love and Christian fellowship. Hence the innumerable blows whereby the cherubim shall be beaten into form. And he that shunneth this hammering for the truth's sake, shall not be one of those whom the Lord will call up to the chief rooms at the marriage feast.
The effect of this ministry against Babylon will be as the sound of the rams' horns, and the shout of the people against Jericho, and to the Lord's people it will be as the proclamation of King Darius to the Jews; who went up laden with the vessels of
the temple to build the temple, whose glory is to be greater than the glory of the former house. That same Cyrus who burst the two-barred gates and dried up the river and smote the king in his palace in the midst of his glory, did also issue the decree for the going up of the Jews to rebuild the temple and for carrying up thither again all the vessels which pertained to the house of their God. And so our vessels, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and others by whom the ministry of God was carried up in the church, have we appropriated to the service of Bubylon, who useth thern in her feasts of pride and blasphemy, building up a system of pope, cardinals, legates, metropolitans, bishops and others, vessels of the sanctuary turned to the service of Satan, which shall be all recovered and set up in their proper places and turned to their right use in the service of Christ the Head of the church. And out of Babylon shall come the men who are to minister in their several orders before the Lord; for there are no men who are not captives in Babylon, whom the Lord may take. The work which God is setting his hand to, is not of reconstituting the primitive church, but redeeming his church out of the captivity of Babylon, and serving bimself with her to accomplish the great and gracious purposes which are yet unfulfilled. This is a great stumbling stone to many. They look into the word of God, and they say, Thus it was at the beginning, and thus it is not now; therefore there is no church. I am no pastor, I am no preacher, I am no baptized man; and straightway they go to the work of baptising afresh and setting up churches according to their liking; and saying, Here now is the true church amongst us. We are not captives in Babylon, but are abiding in Jerusalem. To whom it fareth that they become lean and naughty like the evil figs which Jeremiah saw, and which were not fit to be eaten they were so evil. Such are the dissenting churches, bearing the worst fruit in all the vineyard. Nay but the true men are those who have abidden in Babylon, there built houses and planted vineyards, and prayed for her peace, and waited their Lord's time of coming forth, which being now arrived, they come forth strong and hardy men, well favoured and fit for the Lord's service of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. I perceive another stumbling block, which the enemy is preparing against many who are now coming up out of Babylon, that they will have our ordinances and our offices to be exactly as they were upon our com. ing up out of Egypt. That is to say, they will have every thing to be as it was on and after the day of Pentecost; and because the work goeth not on with the tongues of fire and in the bearing of the assembled nations, and with multitudinous conversions, they are dissatisfied, and stand aloof, and have no advantage of the Lord's grace. Just as if nobody should have followed Ezra
and Nehemiah, because they did not strike the blows of judgment, or order the tabernacle of testimony, as Moses and Aaron had done. This all springeth from lack of faith to be led of God by a way we know not, nor our fathers have known; from lack of the discernment of love to know our Father's voice, and for lack of obedience, from being pre-occupied with other things. The Lord hath shewed me these things, for he only is my Guide. I guide not myself, but walk after him day by day; and I seek to keep myself from all forecastings and prejudgments, for I am not able nor will take upon me, to counsel my God. Oh, my God, make me obedient to thy voice of love. "I remember thine own word, “For judgment am I come into the world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind.” On earth have I no confidence, but this alone, that thou wilt not lead astray those who trust in thee. I desire no other confidence, I believe there is no other to be found within the whole circle of creation, at least within the noblest region thereof, the region which man doth inherit as his own; and therefore though I write these things concerning the future, it is only to set out the object to faith and hope, it is not to set it out to sight or natural understanding, not to prognosticate or fix the future, so that a man shall be able to say, thus and thus must it be, now I will look and challenge the Lord to fulfil his word. Such a one shall be defeated utterly. The word of the minister is unto faith, the word of the Spirit is unto faith, and to hold it to any other tribunal is to grieve the Spirit, to quench him and finally to scare him away. The Spirit leadeth unto Jesus the great Believer, and Jesus the Believer leadeth unto God, whom no man hath seen nor can see, who is only to be by faith apprehended. Without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh unto him must believe that he is and that he is the rewarder of those that-diligently seek him. Therefore, O reader, if thou peruse these my writings, thinking to guide thyself by my teaching, or the Spirit's utterances, thou preparest a net for thine own feet; do it not, I beseech thee, for I am a minister unto thy faith and not unto thy sight; and the Spirit is a Comforter to thy faith, and not unto thy sight. I fear lest I should at any time have offended in this kind. I pray God to forgive me if I have, and to guard my readers from being by my frailty or errors misled. My desire is to open and clear up the object of a Christian's hope, which is, that the Lord cometh ; and to report as seemeth to me most meet, the substance of what the spirit uttereth in the open church concerning the same.
For all this breaking down of Babylon the harlot's power, is to prepare the way of the New Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb. And with this caution I bring my present labour to a close.
ON THE JUDGMENT BEFORE THE GREAT WHITE THRONE.
The vision of judgment before the “great white throne,” described in Rev. xx. 11-15, is generally considered to represent the judgment of all men at a resurrection after the Millennium, and to be (by the students of prophecy), consequently, the last portion of the revealed purposes of God. The object of the following remarks is to submit in all humility to the wise, the probability of such a view being erronoeus.
The descent of the New Jerusalem, seen in chapter xxi., evidently takes place before or at the commencement of the Millennium, for many reasons; of which, perhaps, if not the strongest, quite a sufficient one is furnished by xix. 7, “ The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready :” which wife is that city “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” No new arguments on this subject need be offered to the readers of this Journal. The point is taken to be established: nor do we think, indeed, that it can admit of a doubt.
Assuming, therefore, that the new heavens and earth, and the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, describe a Millennial glory, what we have to submit is, that the judgment before the great white throne describes a pre-millennial judgment. A very simple observation will suggest that this must be the
and a little examination of the passage will shew that it contains nothing militating against such a supposition, but rather much favourable thereto.
The observation to which we allude is upon ver. 5 of chap. xxi. : “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new,” &c. Now, who said this ? and upon what throne sat he?. No other is mentioned since Him that sat upon that great white throne ; nor other throne is mentioned since that throne, xx. 11. The inference, therefore, should be, that the
great white throne,” with Him that "sat thereon,” persisted in John's sight from xx. 11 to xxi. 7, inclusive; and that, in respec of the vision, thus it was. The seer saw such an One sitting upon a white throne—then saw the heavens and the earth flee away before Him, then saw the dead judged before Him—then saw new heavens and earth appear in the place of the former, before Him—then saw the New Jerusalem coming down before Him--and then heard Him, even Him, before whom all this was successively displayed, say, as concerning the display of all these things, “ Behold, I make all things new," &c. And so it was : old heaven and earth fled away; the dead were raised to newness of life; old death and hell were given to the flames ; a new heaven and earth appeared; a New Jerusalem came down
all at the presence of Him that sat on the throne : and He saith, “ Behold, I make all things new.” To transpose the order of these things must be, therefore, a violence against the text, unless upon some strong warrant, which the passage, we think, does not afford. Either the whole passage, from the throne coming in sight (xx. 11), to the word "Behold” (xxi. 5) from Him who sat upon it, concerns occurrences beyond the Millennium, or occurrences which usher in the Millennium. But the descent of the New Jerusalem ushers in the Millennial glory, by admission : therefore the judgment before the throne precedes the Millennium.
Though this may appear at first somewhat startling, a little examination of the text will shew its reasonableness, we trust. The following observations are submitted to the reader.
1. In Rev. xx. 6, it is written, “Blessed and holy is he that hath a portion (exwv mepos) in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Here the power of the second death, on the one hand, and the glory of the thousand years, on the other, are contrasted by the adversative “but,” and are made essentially exclusive of each other; as when we say 'Such a one is not dead, but liveth.' If, however, the “second death” have not place till after the thousand years, the living and reigning for that period is not essentially exclusive of it, but the exclusion is in something extrinsic, or ulterior, not specified; and the adversative "but is grammatically powerless.
2. There is a second death,” which is “a lake of fire," to come upon the end of this dispensation, and to be co-existent with the Millennial glory (Jude 12, Rev. xix. 20-xx. 14). And the two states (of death and life) shall confront each other, and be co-exclusive of each other, during that period. The “ beast" and false prophet are cast into the " lake” at the commencement of the period.
3. “ Death and Hell," which are cast into the lake before the white throne, are not abstractions, but a portion of mankind. In Rev. vi. 8, he that sat on the pale horse was “ Death,” and “Hell followed him.” In Isaiah xxviii. 2, 15, 18, 19, there are who shall “make a covenant with Death,” and think to be “at agreement with Hell,” that so they may escape" the overflowing scourge” of Antichrist. And of the Antichrist of Habakkuk it is written, “Who enlargeth his desire as Hell, and is as Death,” &c. And here, in this vision before the throne, Death and Hell are made, like jailors, to surrender up all their prisoners, and are themselves cast into the “lake of fire ” (vers. 13, 14).
4. In Isaiah xxvi. 21 it is written of the resurrection of the saints, “ The earth shall disclose her blood ” (the blood she hath