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and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer them to be put in graves."

"The great city," is, in the 17th Chapter, called Babylon the Great, "the Great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth ;" and it must intend the Roman empire, or antichristian jurisdiction. "The streets" of the city are its public and conspicuous places. Here Christ is said to have been crucified; for he was crucified by the Roman authority, and his body, the church, was persecuted in the Roman territory. This city is spiritually called Sodom for its corruption, and Egypt for its tyranny. It is said, the dead bodies of the witnesses shall be denied the common rites of decent sepulture: And it is well known that the papal church disallows Christian burial to those, whom she calls heretics. If the slaying of the witnesses is to be understood literally, so must also be understood the denial of interment to their bodies. If the former signifies a general degradation, the latter may signify any marks of contempt. On either interpretation the prophecy teaches us, that, in the time here designated, Christian teachers and professors will have little influence among mankind, will be held in general disrespect, and will be treated with distinguished indignity.

The duration of this depressed state of the church will, according to the prophecy, be "three days and an half." We must here understand the time to be at least so many prophetic days, or literal years; or perhaps the phrase may be intended to express a short, but indefinite time.

The next words describe the triumph of the enemies of religion on their victory over the witnesses. "And they that dwell on the earth shall rejoice over them, and send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them who dwelt on the earth.”

The prophets "torment the inhabitants of the earth," in the same sense as they "smite the earth

with all plagues;" i. e. by proclaiming the solemn truths of religion, and by warning the guilty of those judgments in this world, and that punishment in the next, which God has denounced in his word.

Wicked men hate the truth, because it reproves and condemns them. All their opposition to the gospel originates in the corruption of their hearts. They point their malice against the witnesses, because these are the heralds and defenders of the gospel; these display its evidences, proclaim its doctrines, inculcate its precepts, and denounce its threatenings; these counteract the designs, and obstruct the success of evil men and seducers. This is the only way, in which they can torment those who dwell on the earth. They neither possess worldly power, nor are actuated by worldly malice. All that they do to torment men, is done in their character as witnesses, prophets, or preachers of the truth. The ancient prophets, who reproved the corruptions of their times, were called "troublers of Israel," or disturbers of the public peace, because they tormented those who were too haughty to bear correction, and too obstinate to think of reformation. When Lot expostulated with the men of Sodom for their abominations, they thrust him back, saying, "this man will needs be a judge." When Ahab met Elijah, he said to him, "art thou he that troubleth Israel ?" When Jeremiah warned the people of the judgments of God, the princes complained to the King," Let this man be put to death; for he weakeneth the hands of the people in speaking such words to them; he seeketh not their welfare but their hurt.” For the same cause, the idolatrous priest of Bethel complained to the King of Israel concerning Amos; "He hath conspired against thee-the land is not able to bear all his words." It was so in the Apostles' days. If they attempted a reformation in prin ciples and manners, they were said to "turn the world

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upside down." If they proclaimed Jesus who was crucified, to be the Lord of life, the rulers complained, "Ye intend to bring this man's blood upon us."

When the witnesses shall be slain, John says, "The inhabitants of the earth shall rejoice over them, and send gifts one to another." There will be great public rejoicings, at the supposed overthrow of the gospel, as if some happy and glorious change had been effected. Thus it has been in times past. When the protestants were defeated in a general battle, and multitudes of them slain, and the rest dispersed by the army of Charles V, there were general rejoicings among the papists. After the dreadful massacre of the protestants in France, called the massacre of St. Bartholomews, in which many thousands were destroyed, there were public processions and formal thanksgivings, not only in France, but in other popish countries. So it is on the victory over the witnesses here foretold. Every advantage, which the enemies of religion gain over its friends by excluding the latter from, and raising themselves to places of power, is announced by public festivities.

And when this advantage appears complete, the rejoicings become general. If the event here foretold, is still future, as many interpreters suppose, a most gloomy scene awaits the Christian church.

But for our comfort, we are assured, the time will be short. "After three days and an half, the spirit of life entered into them," into the witnesses who had been slain, "and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.And they heard a voice from heaven, saying to them, Come up hither; and they ascended up into heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them."

The church, by the remarkable power of God, shall be raised from her depressed condition, and the witnesses, animated with new strength and courage, shall proclaim the doctrines of Christ with greater

boldness and success, than before, to the joy of their friends, and the terror of their enemies, who will be as much surprized, as if they had seen them raised from the dead. They will now appear to be under God's special protection, and as secure from the malice of persecution, as if they were taken up into heaven. To be exalted to heaven, in the figurative language of prophecy, is to be raised to distinguished privileges. The phrase here intends, that the Christian church shall enjoy great freedom security and happiness.

This restoration of the church will be accompanied with great commotions in the political world; especially in that part of it, which has been subject to the papal jurisdiction. There will be signal calamities inflicted on the enemies of Christ, vast multitudes will be slain, and the destruction will fall with remarkable severity on persons of eminence and distinction. And so obvious will be the hand of God, that it will be acknowledged in a general repentance by those who survive the catastrophe.Thus John describes the scene : "The same hour there was a great earthquake and a tenth part of the city fell, and there were slain of men seven thousands, and the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven."

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John, having given a general description of the state of the church, from the sounding of the sixth trumpet, to the time when the happy state of the church will begin, resumes the subject where, he had left it. He says, "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet." This trumpet introduces the angels with their seven vials, which were to be poured out within the time, thus generally described under the figure of the witnesses. Upon this he Upon this he says, "There were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.

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We give thee thanks, that thou hast taken to thyself thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, and shouldst destroy them, who corrupt the earth.”— This is a description of the happy state of the church, which shall follow on the resurrection and exaltation of the witnesses of the gospel of Christ.

In the contemplation of the gloomy scenes, through which the church of Christ has passed already, and still may pass our minds are refreshed by the anticipation of their glorious result. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. It is happy for us, that the great events, which concern the church, have been described in prophecy, though in a figurative, yet in so intelligible a manner that the certain fulfilment of the predictions may be seen. By this means there is, to all attentive and discerning men, a standing evidence of the divinity of the gospel.

I have now, according to the best light, which I could collect, opened to you this important prophecy concerning the witnesses-a prophecy, which contains a period of 1260 years, and which is now drawing toward its final accomplishment. vision is for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come."


The practical instructions which this prophecy affords us, will be the subject of another discourse.

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