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ably extinct for their sins and unbelief, as much so as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; and in this sense they were cast into a lake of fire.
At this time, let it be remembered, the religion of the Jews, the first covenant, passed away, and the kingdom of God came with power. Such a vast change in the moral affairs of men is described in the boldest figures by the New Testament writers. Their metaphors are of the most striking character. The heavens and the earth pass away, and there is no more sea. The elements are said to melt with fervent heat; and because of the tumult among the nations, they pass away with a great noise." 2 Peter iii. 10. It is with such glowing imagery, that the twenty-first chapter of Revelations breaks in upon us. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." A new city descends from heaven. "And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." All agree, that this relates to the introduction of the gospel upon the earth; and we feel justified, therefore, in applying the events described at the close of the twentieth chapter, as having a close relation to the opening of the better dispensation.
And what did heaven proclaim should be the result of the introduction of the gospel? Listen; "I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying; Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." The Gospel is the tabernacle of God, He dwells in it, and in that Gospel he dwells with men. By this covenant, he is their God, and they are his people. By means of it, he will wipe away all tears
from their eyes; he will utterly destroy death; all sorrow, and weeping, and pain shall be ended, for the former things shall pass away. This is the grand result of the Gospel. It shall be so. The word of God, that word which cannot fail, is pledged for it. God hath sworn by himself, because he could swear by no greater, and pledged his infinite perfections for the fulfilment of his word. Glory to God in the highest !
XCIV. Rev. xxi. 8.
See remarks on Rev. ii. 11, and xx. 12-15, Sections XCI. and XCIII. of this chapter.
XCV. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Rev. xxii. 11.
The following remarks, which we copy from the "Magazine and Advocate," are commended to the candid attention of the reader.
"This passage is supposed, by many, — and is often adduced for that purpose, to prove, that there can be no change in the moral condition of man after death, and those who die in a state of rebellion and irreconciliation to God, must eternally remain so. But does the text declare any such thing? or, can such a sentiment be fairly deduced, or even inferred, from the passage, taking the whole context into the account? We think not. There is nothing said in the text or context about death; nothing said about any resurrection; nothing said about another state of existence; nor any thing. that would naturally lead the reader to suppose any other state but the present was at all referred to. The whole scope of the context would lead to the supposition, that the events spoken of were then about to transpire. John was forbidden to seal the book, for the very reason, that the time was at hand.
It is a well known fact, that, when important events revealed through the prophets or inspired men of old, were not to be fulfilled or accomplished till some very remote period, or for a long time after the prediction
was made, the prophets were commanded to seal up the book, or the sayings thereof, because the time of fullment was distant. Thus, in Dan. viii. 26, Gabriel says to the prophet, The vision of the evening and the morning, which was told, is true; wherefore, shut thou up the vision, for it shall be for many days'; that is, its fulfilment is to be at a remote period. Again, xii. 4, 9, 12, 13; Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.' Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed, till the time of the end.' 'Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.'
"On the other hand, where the events were to take place immediately, or very soon, the prophet was forbidden to seal the sayings of the book; as in the events spoken of in the text and context, on which we are now remarking. In the verse preceding the text (10), it is said; Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand.' Then, after recording the language of the text, 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still,' &c., it is added (ver. 12), ' And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. That is, there is a coming judgment, now at hand, that will find and deal with all, according to the several parts they have acted, the sides they have taken, the deeds they have done, and the characters they have formed, whether that of an enemy or a friend to the cause of Christ.
"We know there is a difference of opinion as to the time when this book was written, and most Christians date it as late as the year 96. But we are inclined to the opinion, that it was written considerably before that time, even before the destruction of Jerusalem; that that important event was then about to take place; that many of the metaphors, figures, and frightful scenes,
relate to the destruction of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jews, and the great ecclesiastical and civil revolutions that were contemporary with those events. The very introduction, or exordium, to the book, would lead one to this conclusion. Chap i. 1 - 3 ; The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.'
"Besides these considerations, furnished by the exordium to the book, by the context under notice, and many other internal marks of the book having the same bearing, the popular notion supposed to be countenanced by the text, is wholly destitute of all support from reason or revelation. If God is the creator and moral governor of mankind in this life, is he not as much so in the future? Does death dissolve the tie between the creature and Creator? or put a period to man's moral powers, or God's capacity to improve them? Must the moral condition of all infants, idiots, Pagans, Mahometans, Jews, &c., remain precisely the same through all eternity that it is at the article of death? If so, they (especially infants and idiots) can never know much, nor, consequently, can they ever suffer or enjoy much as moral beings. But does not Paul contradict this theory (1 Cor. xv. 51), when he declares. 'we shall all be changed.' And again (Rom. xiv. 8, 9); For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ hath died and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.'”
XCVI. "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Rev. xxii. 18, 19.
Having finished the prophecies of the book of Revelation, its author was desirous to prevent them from being corrupted. For this purpose he adds, "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book [of Revelations]; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, [the roll of Christian believers,] and out of the holy city, [the Christian Church,] and from the things which are written in this book, [viz. the blessings which are promised to the true and faithful disciples.]
What are the plagues that are written in this book? Have we not shown that they are not to be referred to the immortal state? See these plagues spoken of, ix. 20, and compare with the preceding part of the chapter. See also, xi. 6, where it is said the two witnesses have power to smite the earth with all plagues." See again, xvi. 9. Here the plagues are spoken of once more; and if the reader will peruse the whole chapter, particularly the first verse, he will see that these plagues were poured out upon the earth.” Again, see xviii. 4, 8; and here we are told, that "her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God, who judgeth her." Were not these plagues on the earth?
But let us look once more. In xv. 1, we read, "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven LAST plagues; for in them is FILLED UP the wrath of God." Again, in verse 6, we read, that "the seven angels came out of the temple having the seven [last] plagues." See vers.