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I am greatly inclined to think, that as chapters xi. xii. xiii. and xiv. contain general descriptions of the rise, reign, and overthrow of the Papal Antichrist, all in the period of 1260 years, or a little more, allowing for its rise before that date began. That the resurrection of the Witnesses, in chap. xi.; the victory over the dragon, in chap. xii.; and the Lamb's company, chap. xiv. (which chapter is a continuation of the foregoing) are all to be understood of the Reformation. The falling of the tenth part of the city by an earthquake, chap. xi., is the overthrow of the French monarchy, one of the ten horns of the beast; and as the seventh angel was to sound shortly after, chap. xi. 15, that he hath sounded since that event. That as the sounding of the seventh angel was to be the signal of the kingdoms of the world becoming those of our Lord and of his Christ; so in the xivth chapter, which synchronizes with the xith and xiith, the triumph of the Lamb's company is followed by an angel having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, ver. 6. This, I hope, means the general spirit among christians of late years; that as Babylon was to fall after the evangelising angel's appearance, (see chap. xiv. 8) so we may soon expect the overthrow of at least the temporal power of popery. And as the seventh seal included the seven trumpets, so the seventh trumpet includes the seven vials; and consequently they are all to follow the sounding of the seventh angel, chap. xi. 15; and are none of them yet poured out, except that the first may be begun. Finally, that we shall not have to wait for the Millennium, in order to see glorious days for the church.
There is a period, I am persuaded, in which the gospel is destined to make a glorious progress, according to chap. xi. 15 and xiv. 6, which are synchronical; while yet the vials are pouring out, as in chap. xvi., and the enemies of Christ opposing it with all their might. The Word of God going forth upon a white horse, chap. xix., is before the Millennium; and the opposition made to his progress
will bring on what is called, in chap. xiv., the harvest and vintage. This is described in chap. xix. as the last battle prior to the Millennium.-Be of good courage, my dear brethren, we shall overcome through the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony:
The period between the sounding of the seventh angel and the Millennium, is like the reign of David, whom the Lord prospered whithersoever he went; but then it was in the face of opposition. The Millennium, on the other hand, will be as the reign of Solomon, who had rest given him from all his enemies round about. Thus Satan will then be bound, and the beast and the false prophet shall go into perdition. This is emphatically the Messiah's rest, which will be glorious. Isai. xi. We may not expect to see the latter, but we may the former; and surely it will be enough for us to follow him that rideth on a white horse, or to rank among the armies of heaven in so glorious a warfare.
PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS.
EPHESIANS iii. 14-16.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner
THE writing and preaching of the apostles had two distinct objects in view. They preached, to make men christians; to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. They wrote, to make them eminent christians; to quicken believers in their heavenly
race, to promote in them a growth in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Such was the zeal of Paul in endeavouring to accomplish the former, that he counted not his life dear to him, but was willing to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. Nor was he less desirous of the latter, making it the leading object in all his epistles, and the matter of his prayer day and night.
In the apostle's words there are three things which require our notice-the object desired-its importanceand the encouragement we have to seek it.
I. The object in which the apostle was so much interested on behalf of the Ephesians: "That he would grant you to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.'
Nothing good is found in fallen man; nothing grows spontaneously in that soil but what is evil. If any thing holy be found there, it must be produced by the Spirit of God, who worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. Nor is divine influence less necessary in carrying on the good work after it is begun. Such is our proneness to relax, to grow weary and faint in our course, that we need to be continually 'strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.'
The object prayed for is not bodily strength. That is of but little account in the sight of God, though in many cases it becomes the matter of human boasting. Samson was possessed of might in the outward man to a high degree, and a poor use he made of it. Perhaps a more feeble character is not to be met with among those whom the scriptures mention as good men: with all his wonderful exploits, he weakly yielded to the tempter, and became an easy prey to his enemies.
Nor is it mere mental ability that is here intended; that was the strength of Solomon. Paul did not pray that we might be made great men, but good men; not that we
might be poets or philosophers, but christians; not that we might excel in genius or learning, but in grace and goodness; that our souls may prosper and be in health, and that we may be strengthened with might in the inner
This part of the subject will be better understood by considering some of the symptoms of spiritual might
1. The manner in which we perform religious duties may serve as a criterion by which to judge of our strength or weakness. If we be christians, we shall worship God in our families, and in secret; we shall search the scriptures, frequent the house of God, and aim to discharge the various duties which pertain to our stations in life. These things we shall feel it incumbent upon us habitually to regard: but the question is how, and in what manner, do we perform these exercises? If our souls be in a languishing state, they will become a task, and not a pleasure to us; we shall be weary of the Lord's service, feel his yoke to be grievous, and while we keep up a round of duty, our devotions will be cold, feeble and unprofitable. But if we be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall count of the return of sacred opportunities, and find that wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace. When David longed for water of the well of Bethlehem, three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines to obtain it, hazarding their lives for his sake; while men of weaker attachment would have murmured at the severity of such an enterprise. If we possess a warm heart for Christ, we shall not think much of the time, the talents, the property, or the influence which we may devote to his service; nor count our lives dear to us, if we may but promote his kingdom and glory in the world. This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.' Nor will this pleasure be confined to the public exercises of religion, but will extend to those of a more personal and private nature. It is possible we may feel much animation, and
possess much enjoyment in the outward means, while we are cold and lifeless in the duties of retirement; and this will be the case where the religion of the heart is not cultivated, nor close walking with God carefully maintained. But if we be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, communion with God will be earnestly sought after; private duties will be vigorously attended to, and the closet will yield us pleasure, as well as the tabernacles of the Lord of hosts. There are but few of whom it may be said, as of Caleb and Joshua, that they follow the Lord fully.' Multitudes of professors appear to be but half-hearted in religion; they neither wholly relinquish it, nor take it up in earnest; but are desirous of following the Lord so far as is consistent with their carnal ease, their worldly interest, or their sinful passions, and no farther. But if the object of the apostle's prayer be accomplished in us, we shall be decided for God, and prompt in our manner of serving him: not consulting with flesh and blood, not attempting to accommodate our principles and practice to those of the generality, nor wishing to do as little as possible for God, consistently with our own safety; but delighting to do all his will, we shall run in the way of his commandments.
2. The degree of our spiritual strength may be determined by the manner in which we resist temptation.—All men are tempted, but all do not resist temptation: this is peculiar to the christian character. Mere worldly men go with the stream; they walk according to the course of this world, and are hurried along with the impetuous torrent. But if we be christians, we are not of the world, and are in the habit of resisting temptations. Yet if our resistance be feeble and indeterminate; if we hesitate, where we ought to be decided; if we look back on Sodom, like Lot's wife, with a lingering desire after those sinful pleasures which we profess to have given up, and regret the loss of sensual gratifications;-Are we not carnal, and walk as men? He who is strengthened with might in the inner man, will not pause when temptations meet