AN ESSAY To the Explaining of the REVELATION WHEREIN, Amongst other things of great mo­ment, is clearly proved, that by the Beast is meant an Universal Monarch which shall here­after arise out of the Roman Empire.

That there shall be a Fifth Kingdom upon the Earth, (namely, that of the Saints) together with the manner thereof.

And that the New Jerusalem is a City properly so called, which God hath reserved in Heaven for the Saints.

Revel. 1.3.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this Prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.

Prov. 30.5, 6.

Every word of God is pure—

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a Liar.

LONDON, Printed by Henry Hills, and are to be sold by George Sawbridge dwelling on Ludgate-hill at the Sign of the Bible. 1661.

A PREFACE TO THE READER.

THe Revelation is the most excellent of the P ro­phetick Books contained in the Scripture, as being the Abstract of them all; and therefore (as the best things are most liable to abuse,) it hath been shamefully intreated by the greatest part of those, that have undertaken to explain the same. For it seemeth by their Expositions, that they imagine this to be such a Portion of holy Writ, whereon men are onely to exercise their Fancies, and to suspend the use of Reason whilest they inquire into the sense thereof Neither did I ever finde such monstrous Interpretati­ons imposed on any other Book, whether sacred or profane. For instance, when John doth in the first Chapter wish Grace and Peace to the seven Churches of Asia, from the seven Spirits that are before the Throne of God, by these (say they) is meant the holy Spirit, who is said to be seven, either because of his manifold operations, or because he wrought in the seven Churches. But by what instance taken out of any Authour, either sacred or profane, can they avouch such an In­terpretation? Who ever heard that a single person (as the ho­ly Spirit is) should either for his many Works, or for his work­ing [Page]in sundry places, be termed Seven? And how should any man ever reach the meaning of our word, if took to our selves the liberty of speaking thus? Again, when it is in the 11. Chapter spoken of two Witnesses, these (say they) are the Old and New Testament, or Magistracy and Ministry. But where in the Scripture are two Witnesses that prophesie, or two Prophets (for so the Witnesses are there in the 10. Verse ex­presly styled) put otherwise than for two men endued with a proph [...]tick spirit? Yea, can it without the greatest absurdity be said of any but two men, that they prophesie clad in Sack­cloth? that if any one goeth about to hurt them, Fire is­sueth out of their Mouths and devoureth their Adversa­ries? that they have Power to shut Heaven, and turn the Waters into Blood, and smite the Earth with every Plague as often as they please? that when they have finished their Testimony, they are killed, and their dead Bodies lie three Days and an half in the Street of a certain City? In fine, that after the three Days and an half the Spirit of Life from God enters into them, so that they stand upon their Feet, and afterwards ascend up into Heaven, in a Cloud, whilest their Adversaries stand looking on them? Is it possible for the wit of man with any congruity to Reason, and to the words of the Text, to draw these things either to the Old and New Testament, or to the Magistracy and Mini­stry? Grant once that we may with our mystical Interpretati­ons evade the literal Truth of things so plainly delivered in the Scripture, I would fain know what certainty is to be had there, or how any thing should ever be proved from thence? Like­wise we are told in the History of the two Witnesses, that they shall prophesie a thousand two hundred and sixty Days. This term of time (say they) signifieth a thousand two hundred and sixty Years: a Day, according to the usage of the Pro­phets, being put for a Year to which purpose they allege: Numb. 14.3, 34. where it is said, Your Children shall wander in the Wilderness forty Years, and bear your [Page]Whoredoms, untill your Carcases be wasted in the Wil­derness. After the number of the Days in the which ye searched the Land, even forty Days (each Day for a Year) shall ye bear your iniqu ties, even forty Years. And Ezek. 4.5, 6. where it is said, I have laid upon thee the Years of their iniquity, according to the number of the Days, three hundred and ninety Days, so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the House of Israel. And when thou hast accomplish­ed them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the House of Judah forty Days: I have appointed thee each Day for a Year. But in neither of these two places are Days to be drawn out into Years. Other­wise when it is said in Numbers, that the Israelites were forty Days a searching the Land of Canaan, we must under­stand that they spent forty Years about it: which every one seeth to be absurd. Likewise when Ezekiel lay upon his left side three hundred and ninety Days for the iniquity of Israel, and on his right side forty Days for the iniquity of Judah, by this reckoning he would have lien on his sides four hundred and thirty Years. Wherefore the words in Numbers import no more, than that, whereas the Israelites had spent forty Days in searching the Land, their Children should answerably thereunto wander forty Years in the Wilderness. So also doth the passage in Ezekiel signifie, that forasmuch as Israel and Judah had now gone a whoring from God for the space of four hundred and thirty Years, the Prophet should accordingly lie four hundred and thirty Days upon his sides, to bear their ini­quity. I conclude therefore, that it is contrary both to Scri­pture and Reason to understand by the thousand two hundred and sixty Days that the Witnesses shall prophesie, any other than such Days as are properly so called, consisting of four and twenty Hours a piece. Finally, it is said of the Carcases of the two Witnesses, that they shall he unburied three Days and an half in the Street of the great City, where our Lord was slain, (which is the most evident description of Je­rusalem, [Page]that can be given) this City (say they) is meant of Rome, because our Lord was put to death by the Roman Po­wer. 'Tis true indeed that a Deputy of the Roman Empe­rour did crucifie our Saviour Christ, but may it therefore be affirmed, that he was crucified at Rome? Are we wont to say that a thing is done at such a place, when it is done onely by the Authority of him that hath his imperial Seat there? What man that was in his wits, did ever express things in this man­ner? Certainly, did the Revelation speak at such a rate as these men imagine, it would be the most ridiculous piece that ever was penned, and the Authour thereof so far from being a Divine by way of excellency, (for so John of right is styled) as that he would not deserve a rank among sober Writers. Neither am I a little troubled, when I see men thus to dally with the Word of God, and make choice of no fitter a subject, whereon to vent their follies, than this incomparable Pro­phecy.

I have the more largely insisted upon the History of the two Witnesses, because of the frequent injury offered to that part above all the rest of the Revelation. For if some Christian State or Potentate crush any party whatsoever pretending to Religion, or some eminent persons of the same, then it is pre­sently given out by the favourers of that party, that now the the Beast is risen, hath slain the Witnesses. Thus the sacred Word of God, that was given to a far better purpose, must in­teress it self in our private Quarrels, and be forced to speak as we stand affected. But it will perhaps be here objected, that I who am so ready to observe the strange glosses that other men impose on the History of the two Witnesses, seem not in the mean time to take notice how uncouth mine own opinion is con­cerning the Beast that slayeth them, whilest I hold him (as appeareth by the following Treatise) to be such a man as shall arise from the Dead to reign, before he embrueth his Hands in the Blood of the said Witnesses. To which I answer, that though my Tenet be strange as to the Apprehensions that Men [Page]generally have touching the Beast, yet is it very facile and ob­vious, if you respect the words of the Text it self. For see­ing the Angel explaining the Mystery of the Beast, Chap. 17.9, 10, 11. plainly telleth us, that he is a King, when John saith of the two Witnesses, Chap. 11.7. that the Beast which ascendeth out of the bottomless Pit shall slay them; what other sense can rationally be put upon the words, than that the King, which is decyphered by the Beast, and ariseth from the Dead, shall kill the Witnesses? And into what Absurdities must he plunge himself, that goeth about to fasten another meaning on the place! But of this matter I dis­course at large in the ensuing Exposition, to which I refer the Reader for further satisfaction therein.

Having thus given a taste of the exotick Interpretations that are usually forced upon the Reve ation, I will now open the original Causes from whence they proceed, reducing them to three Heads, namely, that men think the whole Book to be an Allegory, and to contain a Prediction of that which shall happen to the Churches in all Ages of the World, and to have for its principal scope the discovery of Antichrist.

To the first of which three Particulars, I answer, that the Revelation cannot be a meer Allegory, seeing it is fraught with Evangelical Precepts, Promises, and Threats, and also with sundry clear and evident passages touching the Exaltati­on and Government of the Christ, the Universal Judgement, and the Glorification of the Saints in the new Jerusalem; which last being the chiefest point of all the Gospel, is no less than three times confirmed by the testimony, partly of Angels, and partly of God himself, which assureth us that the sayings re­corded concerning the same, are faithful and true. Which (as I afterwards evince in mine Exposition) is no other, than if it had been said, They are perspicuous and plain, and to be taken as the words sound.

To the second I say, that it is presumption for us to devise with our selves how much it is meet for God to discover touch­ing [Page]things to come, and so to change days into years, and years into ages, and particular men into a succession of men continued throughout many generations, as it hath been the custom of interpreters to do: we ought rather to content our selves with what is recorded in the Scripture and to follow the plain doctrine thereof, as knowing that if God vouchsafed to foretell but one remarkable event, which was to happen in all the intermediate space between the penning of this book and the consummation of the world, it was a great favour, and which we could not have required of him. How much more then doth it become us to rest satisfied, and thank Almighty God who hath been pleased to reveal so many choice secrets, as are contained in this book touching the state of future times? whosever therefore shall consider well the sixth Chapter, where the prediction of things to happen after the days of Domitian, (whose Tyranny had been hinted, Chap. 3.10.) doth begin and compare it with History, shall finde that it reacheth no further than Constantine the great. Likewise the things foretold from the beginning of the seventh Chapter to the end of the nineteenth are all (save somewhat that shall happen before the death of the Beast, and whereof mention is made in the tenth verse of the seventeenth Chapter) to be accomplished within the compass of that age wherein he shall rise again from the dead. And of this I give a touch in the following exposition. So that from the Reign of Con­stantine unto the age aforesaid is a vast gap, without the intimation of any thing that shall intervene.

To the third I answer, that if John in penning the Re­velation had intended to detect Antichrist, he would no doubt have named him, else how could he expect that any man should ever be able to fathome his meaning as to this matter. Which reason is the more forceible in that we see him so fre­quently make mention of Antichrist in his Epistles. And would there (think ye) have been so deep silence concerning him throughout the Revelation, had John there designed to paint [Page]him out more fully then before? But as men have been too quick sighted in spying Antichrist, where he was not indeed to be found, so have they on the contrary been very purblinde when they came to those places, wherein he was exposed to open view. Wherefore that we may at length attain to the right notion of Antichrist, let us mark in the first place that John did not by Antichrist intend any particular person, but many deceivers: to which purpose let us hear what he saith, 1 Epistle 4.3, 4. This is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have over­come them. The word them, as will easily appear by ex­amining the circumstances of the place, hath no other antece­dent but Antichrist, and therefore no single person was meant by him. But if this allegation should seem to any one to carry some doubt and uncertainty with it, the seventh verse of the second Epistle will soon remove all scruple, and clearly prove our assertion. For it is there said, Many deceivers are come into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is the deceiver (so the Greek hath it) and the Antichrist. In the next place, seeing it is now mani­fest that by the Antichrist many deceivers are understood, let us search out what manner of deceivers they must be, to whom this appellation agreeth. If we consult with interpreters and observe how variously they define the Antichrist, we shall be at a loss concerning that which wee seek after, only we shall finde they so order the business, as that if they had a spight against any man upon a Religious accompt, they could transform him into Antichrist, at their pleasure. Wherefore leaving them, let us betake our selves again to the touchstone of truth, the holy Scripture, and see how it defineth Antichrist. John the only sacred writer that is to guide us in this, as well as in the other particulars, describing Antichrist Chap. 2. of this first Epistle, verse 22. doth (if his words be exactly rendred according to the Greek) speak thus, Who is the liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? this is the Antichrist [Page]that denieth the Father and the Son. And Chap 4.3. he saith thus, Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God, and this is that spirit of Antichrist. And Epist. 2.7. (which place was before quoted to another purpose) he saith, Many de­ceivers are come into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. From which testimonies it is evident, that only he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ, or that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is an Antichrist. What peevish­ness is it then that they who make the same confession touching Christ and his coming in the flesh, should upon some other difference about Religion reproachfully term one another Antichristians! And how contrary is this to the determina­tion of the Scripture it self, which all should make the rule of their words and actions!

These things being unfolded, it is an easie matter to per­ceive my design in writing this Essay, which is to enure men more closely to follow the Text of the holy scipture, as in other parts thereof, so especially in the book of the Revelation, where men are wont to be loose and exorbitant in a more then ordinary manner, as if they strove who should depart furthest off from the literal sense of that prophecy. For bearing in minde continually that rule of interpreting, which all that are of a sound judgement readily admit, That we are not to recede from the letter of the sacred Text, without evi­dent necessity, (which is when the literal interpretation is repugnant either to our sences, or to the scope of the place, or to a greater number of plain Texts to the contrary) I have (as I perswade my self) given a sounder and clearer exposi­tion of this difficult prophecy then is commonly to be met with­all. I have also with the same labour cut off all those forced and factions applications of things mentioned in the said book to the Pope, which too justly render the reformed Religion suspected to Papists, who are apt enought to think that such [Page]violent wresting of the Revelation, to disparage them, pre­ceedeth from a want of solid Arguments to confute their Do­ctrine. For mine own part, there is no man that doth abomi­nate all Popish Superstitions more than my self, nor is at a wider distance from them; yet doth not the detestation of them so transport me, as that I am thereby induced to abuse the holy Scripture, to the end I may render Papists more odious. For such a way of proceeding is wont to work a contrary effect, causing men, when they once perceive the Papists to be so pal­pably wronged, to imagine that their Religion is wholly true and harmless, otherwise what need was there of so far fetched Allegations to disgrace them? I have further observed, that there is hardly found amongst us any man of unsound Princi­ples in matter of Religion, but presently calleth in the Reve­lation to his aid, torturing the rare Mysteries thereof to get something out of them, that may give a colour to his Absur­dities. Wherefore I made this account with my self, that by opening away to the plain and genuine understanding of that Book, I might possibly give a check to such groundless fancies, and hinder them from pestering the World without controll in the time to come. I desire therefore all that shall light on this Essay to peruse it with patience, and not pass sentence thereon untill they have read it quite through, and well considered the connexion of the several parts thereof, and the congruity of the things therein delivered, both with Scripture and Reason: and if they perceive the worth and sovereign use of the many secrets therein discovered, let them give the whole glory of them unto God, who is the Father of Lights, both of that wherewith the Pen-men of the holy Scripture, and also of that wherewith the sound Interpreters of the same are enlightned.

Reader, forasmuch as here remaineth an empty page, and some few faults escaped in the printing of this book, I have thought sit here to insert them, that being taken notice of in the beginning, the Book might be run over without any rub in the way.

ERRATA.

Pag. 2. for were r. are. pag. 14. l. 9. for then r. them. pag. 37 l. 21. for not are r. are not.

AN ESSAY To the Explaining of the REVELATION.

Chap. 13. Vers. 1. And I stood upon the Sand of the Sea, and saw a Beast rise up out of the Sea, having seven Heads, and ten Horns, and upon his Horns ten Crowns, and upon his Heads the name of Blasphemie.’

The Exposition.

BY the Beast here mentioned is to be under­stood a Man, according to the Exposition of John himself, who saith in the 18. Verse of this Chapter, Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the Beast, for it is the number of a Man. For if the Number of the Beast be the Number of a Man, by the Beast must [Page 2]needs be meant a Man, otherwise his Number would be the Number of something else, and not of a Man. Again, the Beast signifieth such a Man as shall be also a King, and that an universal one. A King, because it is said Chap. 16.10. that the fifth Angel poured out his Vial upon the Throne (so it is in the Greek) of the Beast. For if the Beast hath a Throne, he is a King, it being proper to Kings to sit upon Thrones. Thus the four and twenty Elders, which Chap. 4.4. are said to sit upon Thrones, do Chap. 5.10. acknowledge themselves to have been made Kings. Yea, it is subjoyned in the fore-cited passage, Chap. 16.10. that the Kingdom of the Beast was darkened. But if his Kingdom was darkened, then it undeniably fol­loweth that he is a King, in as much as a Kingdom and a King are Relatives.

But it is yet superabundantly manifest, that by the Beast is meant a King, from the Exposition of the Angel, Chap. 17.10, 11. where he saith, And there were seven Kings, five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the Beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven. When he here saith, after he had spoken of seven Kings, that the Beast is the eighth, it must of necessity be meant the eighth King. Now that this King is to be an universal one, appeareth from the 7. Verse of this Chapter, where it is said of him, disguized under the name of the Beast, that Power (Greek Authority) was gi­ven him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. Yea, the universal Monarchy of the Beast is sufficiently hinted to us by his rising out of the Sea. For if by Waters ac­cording to the Interpretation given by the Angel, Chap. 17.15. are meant Peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, then suitably by the Sea, which is the general confluence of the Waters, ought to be understood the universality of Mankinde concurring to the advancement [Page 3]of that universal Monarch, decyphered by the Beast. This Interpretation of mine is further confirmed by the seventh Chapter of Daniel, where the Angel, explaining to him the Vision of the four great Beasts that came up out of the Sea, saith Vers. 17. These great Beasts, which are four, are four Kings which shall arise out of the Earth. But those four Kings (as every one that is acquainted with Hi­story can tell) are the Founders of the four universal Kingdoms, namely, Nebuchadnezzar of the Caldean, Cyrus of the Persian, Alexander of the Greek, Julius Cae­sar of the Roman.

When it is further said, that the Beast had seven Heads and ten Horns, by the seven Heads (according to the Inter­pretation of the Angel, Chap. 17 9,10.) are meant seven Hills, whereon Rome (the Birth-place of the Beast, as I shall hereafter prove) is seated: and by the ten Horns (as the same Interpreter goeth on to explain it, Verse the 12. of the fore-said Chapter) are meant ten Kings, which shall receive authority as Kings for a while with the Beast.

And indeed the Crowns that are upon the Horns, do of themselves without any Interpretation sufficiently si­gnifie that by the Horns Kings are understood. But of these things more largely, when we come to the explica­tion of the Chapter aforesaid.

Finally, as for the name of Blasphemy, that was upon the seven Heads of the Beast, had it been the will of God that we should know it, he would have caused John to set it down: But seeing it is neither here nor elsewhere expressed, or so much as hinted, we should be content to be ignorant thereof, and not betray the impatient disposi­tion of our mindes by ghessing at it.

Vers. 2. And the Beast which I saw was like unto a Leopard, and his Feet were as the Feet of a Bear, and his Mouth as the Mouth of a Lion: and the Dragon gave him his Power, and his Seat, and great Authority.

So great is the fierceness of the Beast (whereby, as I be­fore proved, an universal Monarch is understood) that it is composed of sundry Beasts, his Body being like to that of a Leopard, whose swiftness in seising on the Prey is noted in the Scripture, Hab. 1.8. Their Horses are swifter than the Leopards: as also his lying in wait, Hos. 13.7. As a Leopard by the way will I observe them. His Feet or Paws are like to those of a Bear; whose chief strength consisteth in his Paws, 1 Sam. 17.37. The Lord that deli­vered me from the Paw of the Bear. His Mouth is like to that of a Lion, whose ravening with his Mouth is also marked in the Scripture, 2 Tim. 4.17. I was delivered out of the Mouth of a Lion. Neither is this all, but the Dra­gon (whereby the Devil is to be understood, as John him­self expoundeth it, Chap. 12.9.) giveth to the Beast his Power, which being a Power above Nature, the Beast is thereby strengthened to atchieve such things, as no natu­ral and humane Power can reach unto. The Devil also imparteth to the Beast his Throne, and consequently his Dominion over the other evil Spirits, of whom he is cal­led the Prince, Matth. 12.24. But of this also we will speak more in our Exposition of the 16. Chapter. Fi­nally, the Devil bestoweth on the Beast great Authority, which being different from those things that went be­fore, is to be understood of Authority and Dominion over all the World, according to that of the 7. Verse, where it is said, that Power (Greek Authority, the same Word that is used here in the 2. Verse) was given him over all kin­dreds, [Page 5]and tongues, and nations. Where by the the way it is to be observed, that the Authority of the Beast is no lawful Authority, nor Ordinance or God, as being given to him by the Devil; and therefore Men are no more ob­liged to submit out of conscience unto him, than unto the Devil that set him up: and accordingly when the Saints levy Arms against the Beast, and wage war with him, (though with ill success, as being vanquished by him in fight,) they do not sin against God, nor break that holy Commandment of his delivered to them by the Apostle Paul, Rom. 13.1, 2, &c.

Vers. 3. And I saw one of his Heads, as it were wounded to death; and his deadly Wound was healed: and all the World wondred after the Beast.

It appeareth by this passage, that the Beast shall re­ceive a deadly Wound, (whether in Battel, or by some other accident, is uncertain) and that the healing of this Wound shall cause all the World to admire him.

For who would not wonder at such a King as being wounded unto death, is notwithstanding afterwards cured, seeing this cannot be effected but by supernatural means? Thus when King Hezekiah, being sick unto death, was restored to his health, the Cure was not wrought without a Miracle. Neither is there any sufficient Reason can be rendered, why we should depart from the Letter in the Interpretation of this place. But if it be here objected; that the Wound which the Beast receiveth in one of his Heads, seemeth not to concern him, and therefore neither is the Cure thereof likely to draw all the World into the admiration of him, in as much as the Heads are seven other Kings. I answer, that though the Heads do prin­cipally [Page 6]denote seven other Kings, yet this hindereth not but that one of them may in a less principal manner signi­fie him also. Yea, that it doth so we are assured by the Angels Interpretation, Chap. 17.11. who saith, that the Beast is the eighth (King) and is of the seven. The ex­pounding of which divine Riddle I reserve for the Com­ment upon that place, where I will make it appear that it is the sixth Head that representeth the Beast, and conse­quently we must here understand that Head to be wound­ed with the Sword. Nor is this any whit more strange, than that the great Horn between the Eys of the He-Goat, Dan. 8.5. should signifie one and the same person with the Goat himself, as the Angel there shews it doth, Vers. 21. namely, Alexander the King of Greece, and the first King thereof, who subdued Darius the King of the Medes and Persians, and so was the Goat that trampled on the Ram with two Horns there spoken of.

Vers. 4. And they worshipped the Dragon which gave Power unto the Beast: and they wor­shipped the Beast, saying, Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him?

In this Verse is set forth the marvellous impiety of the whole World in the Reign of the Beast, for they shall not stick to worship the Devil, for investing the Beast with so vast Authority, and also the Beast that is set up by him, as judging no King in all the World like to him for great­ness, nor able to wage war with him. Neither is this Worship of the Devil to be esteemed such a sin, as that the Nature of Man cannot possibly be induced to commit it, otherwise the Devil would not have sollicited our Sa­viour Christ thereunto, telling him, that if he would fall [Page 7]down and worship the Devil, all the Kingdoms of the World together with the glory thereof should become his, Luk. 4 6, 7. For certainly the Devil is too subtil to pro­pose such a thing to our Saviour (the wisest and strongest Saint that ever was, or shall be) which is so enormous, that no Man though never so gross and wicked, is capable of being drawn thereunto. I conclude therefore that this de­testable wickedness of Worshipping the Devil, will be put in practise, according to the very Letter, during the Reign of the Beast.

Vers. 5. And there was given unto him a Mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two Moneths.

These words imply, that the Beast, though otherwise of himself most impious, yet could not utter so great things, and blasphemies, were he not animated by an ex­traordinary Power. For as it is elsewhere said in the Scripture, that none can do such or such an act of Piety, unless it be given to him, and consequently God doth in mercy enable him by the Power of his Holy Spirit: as Christ saith, that none could come unto him, except it were gi­ven him of the Father, Joh. 6.65. And Paul saith, Phil. 1.29. To you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not onely to believe in him, but also to suffer for him: So the outragi­ous blaspheming of the Name of God, here spoken of, is so high a strain of impiety, that were not the Beast in­cited and spirited thereunto by the working of Satan, he could in no wise reach unto it. The same is said of his making war, (namely, with the Saints, as you have it, Vers. 7. and Dan. 7, 25.) for the space of forty two Moneths. For this being a more than ordinary act of [Page 8]Tyranny, requireth the assistance of the Devil to stir up and strengthen the Beast to perform it. As for the dura­tion of this War with the Saints, which the Beast is said to wage for the space of forty two Moneths, seeing I have already proved, that by the Beast is meant a King, neither can any place be alledged out of the Scripture, where by Moneths are meant Moneths of Years, and not of Days onely; I collect, that the said War shall last but three Years and an half.

Vers. 6. And he opened his mouth in Blasphe­my against God, to blaspheme his Name, and his Tabernacle, and them that dwelt in Heaven.

What the Beast had by the permission of God recei­ved a Power to do, he here putteth in execution, blasphe­ming the Name of God, and his Tabernacle. By which Tabernacle is meant the heavenly Jerusalem, the place of Gods abode, as appeareth from Chap, 21.2, 3. For there when that holy City descendeth out of Heaven upon the new Earth, a voice is heard from Heaven, saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them. Which implyeth, that the heavenly Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God, wherein he will dwell with men. And this City is therefore called a Tabernacle, because (contrary to the guize of other Cities) it removeth from place to place, as Tabernacles or Tents are wont to do. Neither is the Blasphemy of the Beast terminated in God and his Tabernacle, but extendeth it self to all those dwelling in Heaven, namely, Christ and the holy Angels, which fully verifieth what Paul saith of this Beast, under the name of the Man of Sin, and Son of Perdition, name­ly, that he shall exalt himself above every one that is called [Page 9]God, 2 Thess. 2.4. For this Appellation of God is in the Scripture given both to the Father, and to his Son Christ Jesus, and also to the holy Angels. See Ephes. 1.17. The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. John 20.28. Thomas answered and said unto him, (namely, Jesus Christ) My Lord, and my God. Zech. 12.8. The house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them.

Vers. 7. And it was given unto him to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them: and Power was given him over all Kindreds, and Tongues, and Nations.

The Beast hath Power given to him, not onely to make war with the Saints, (which by the way implyeth, that the Saints oppose him with Arms, for it is then rightly termed War, when Hostility is openly used on both sides. See Chap. 12.7.) but also to vanquish them in fight. And this is a thing very remarkable, giving us to understand, that the Saints, though fighting in a just Cause against the Beast, yet cannot prevail by force of Arms, in as much as the Beast is to be defeated by the divine Power of Christ their Captain, who will at length appear in the Heaven, riding upon a white Horse, and by the Sword of his Mouth dissipate the Beast and his Complices. See Chap. 19.11, 15, 20, 21. What is here further said of the universal Monarchy of the Beast, is of it self very plain, and hath been touched before, in the Exposition of the first Verse, so that I need not add any thing thereunto.

Vers. 8. And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him, whose Names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World.

As the Kingdom of the Beast is universal, so is the Worship also, none amongst all the Inhabitants of the Earth refusing it, save they whose Names are written in the Book of Life. For they being appointed of God unto Salvation, are accordingly preserved by him from com­mitting so great impiety as to worship a King that open­ly blasphemeth God, and was set up by the Devil. Fur­thermore, when the Book of Life is here said to be the Lambs, it is because God hath prepared it for him, (for Moses of old testified, that God hath written such a Book, Exod. 32.32.) that he might know on whom to bestow eternal Life. For seeing it was the will of God, that none should have eternal Life, but they whom he had given unto Christ (as Christ himself witnesseth, John 17.2. saying of himself to the Father, As thou hast given him Power over all Flesh, that he should give eternal Life to as many as thou hast given him:) and it was ne­cessary that God should by some means reveal to him who they were, that had been given to him, he chose this way of Discovery, providing a Book of Life, wherein all their Names are written, by the inspection whereof Christ might understand, who were to be saved. Thus Christ attaineth to the knowledge of the Decrees of God, touching sundry other matters, by opening a Book sealed with seven Seals, that was in the Hand of God, Chap. 5.1, 8, 9. And lest any one should think that this is to be taken in a figurative sense, let him consult the Prophecy of Daniel, where he shall finde an Angel plainly signifying [Page 11]that the Decrees of God are set down in writing; for thus he saith to Daniel, Chap. 19.21, being about to de­clare the purpose of God touching the Kingdoms of the World, I will shew thee that which is noted in the Scripture of Truth. It is further said in that passage of the Revelation, that is now under discussion, that the Lamb (Christ Jesus) was slain from the Foundation of the World. which must of necessity be understood of the purpose of God touching the Death of Christ, for Christ was actually slain in the Reign of Tiberius Caesar, as the Scripture elsewhere testi­fieth.

Vers. 9. If any Man have an Ear, let him hear.

This Acclamation is never added in the Scripture, but when there hath preceded some notable thing, that re­quireth a more diligent reflexion to be made upon it. But what is more remarkable than this, that the constan­cy of the Saints, and their resolute denial to worship the Beast, (when all the World doth the contrary) is at no hand to be ascribed to the Saints themselves, (as men are apt to do) but onely to the Decree of God, who had be­fore chosen them to Salvation, without which they also, as well as others, would have committed that great trans­gression?

Vers. 10. He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity: He that killeth with the Sword, must be killed with the Sword. Here is the patience and the Faith of the Saints.

The equal Judgement of God is here set forth, who usually plagueth Men in the same kinde, wherein they had offended, so that the punishment carrieth the foot­steps [Page 12]and resemblance of their sin. For the Beast who had brought many of the Saints into captivity, is himself at length taken captive, and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Chap. 19.20. and the ten Kings, who had assisted him in killing the Saints, Chap. 17.12, 13. are themselves slain with the Sword, proceeding out of the Mouth of Christ, Chap. 19.20, 21. And hereby is the Faith and Patience of the Saints made conspicuous, whilest they believe and patiently wait for the vengeance of God to be poured forth upon the Enemy in the time appointed.

Vers. 11. And I beheld another Beast coming up out of the Earth, and he had two Horns like a Lamb, and he spake as a Dragon.

Now John cometh to the Description of the second Beast, whereby is understood a false Prophet, for so is he expresly called, Chap. 16.13. and Chap. 19.20. And he is seen to ascend up, out of the Earth, because he ariseth from the Dead, who have their place in the lower parts of the Earth. Thus when the Witch of Endor had raised up Samuel, she said to Saul, I saw gods, (or rather, a god, as appeareth from the following Verse) ascend out of the Earth, 1 Sam. 28.13. Now that the Dead are placed in the lower parts of the Earth, is evident from sundry Texts of Scripture. See Psal. 63.9, 10. But those that seek my soul to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the Earth. They shall fall by the Sword, they shall be a Portion for Foxes. See also Ezek. 32. from Verse 18. to the end of the Chapter. And this is the reason why the false Prophet together with the Beast (who, as I shall clearly prove in my Exposition of the 17. Chapter, ought also to be raised from the Dead, to act all those horrid things that are spo­ken [Page 13]of him in this Book of the Revelation) are not slain in the Battel of Armageddon, as all the rest are, but taken alive and thrown into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, as having been once dead already.

When this second Beast is said to have two Horns as a Lamb, this argueth that he maketh a shew of Lamb-like meekness and innocency in his outward garb, but in his Doctrine hisseth like a Dragon, uttering such things as tend to the ruine and destruction of Men, as appeareth by the sequel of this Chapter.

Vers. 12. And he exerciseth all the Power of the first Beast before him, and causeth the Earth, and them which dwell therein, to worship the first Beast, whose deadly Wound was healed.

See how this second Beast, which in shape of Horns resembleth a Lamb; begins to act like a Dragon, in exer­cising all the Power of the first Beast in his presence, that he may thereby force the Inhabitants of the Earth to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Thus Nebuchadnezzer brought all Peoples, Nations, and Languages to fall down and worship the golden Image which he had set up, by threatning to cast Refu­sers into the midst of a burning fiery. Furnace, Dan. 3.6, 9.

Vers. 13. And he doth great wonders, so that he maketh Fire come down from Heaven on the Earth, in the sight of Men;

Vers. 14. And deceiveth them that dwell on the [Page 14]Earth, by the means of those Miracles which he had Power to do in the sight of the Beast, saying to them that dwell on the Earth, that they should make an Image to the Beast which had the Wound by a Sword, and did live.

As the false Prophet made use of Power to drive Men to the Worship of the Beast, so doth he also of subtilty t odraw then to a further degree of impiety, inciting them by great Wonders, (which it is given him to do) to erect an Image to the Beast, which received a deadly Wound by the Sword, but afterward recovered of the same. For of all Impostures, whereby Men are wont to be seduced to a false Worship, there is none so powerful as that of working Miracles. Hence Christ saith in the Gospel, Matth. 24.24. There shall arise false Christs and false Prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, in so much that (if it were possible) they shall deceive the very elect. And Moses long before in the Law, Deut. 13.1, 2, 3 If there arise among you a Prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder; and the sign or the won­der come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, (which thou hast not known) and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that Prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul. Neither can any one justly say, that the Wonders to be performed by the false Prophet, are onely seeming Miracles, and not real ones. For, besides that, neither the Scripture, nor the common use of speaking, doth by great Wonders understand meer Illusions and Deceptions of the sight: the particular Wonder that John allegeth for an instance, putteth the [Page 15]matter out of all question, for he saith, that the false Pro­phet causeth fire to come down from Heaven before men. But if fire coming down from Heaven be not a true Mi­racle, I would fain learn what is?

Vers. 15. And he had power to give life unto the Image of the Beast, that the Image of the Beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the Beast should be killed.

The false Prophet who had done sundry Miracles to make Men erect an Image to the Beast, doth at length cause the Image it self to speak, with words tending to this purpose, that whosoever refuseth to worship the Image of the Beast, shall be put to death. Of such a Miracle as this we sometimes read in the Scripture, as namely, Zech. 10.2. The Idols (or Images, for so the Hebrew word Teraphim is rendred, 1 Sam. 19.13.) have spoken vanity. Where­fore there is the less reason, why any man should in the explication of this place betake himself to a figurative sense, and so impose upon the words an uncouth and un­certain Interpretation, as men love to do, when they com­ment upon this Book of the Revelation.

Vers. 16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their fore­heads.

Vers. 17. And that no man might buy or sell save [Page 16]he that had the Mark, or the Name of the Beast, or the Number of his Name.

The false Prophet thinketh he can never sufficiently engage Men to the impious Worship of the Beast and his Image, which he hath undertaken to settle, to which end he addeth another device, causing them, of what rank or quality soever they be, to receive a Mark upon their right hand, or their forehead, and permitting none to buy or sell that hath it not. Now what this Mark is, (were it not here set down) would easily appear to us, by compa­ring two other passages of this Book; the one, Chap. 14.11. Whosoever receiveth the Mark of his Name. The other, Chap. 15.2. over his Mark, over (the word and set in the English before this second over is not in the Greek) the number of his Name. Whence it is manifest, that by the Mark of the Beast is meant, either his Name, or the Number of his Name; and accordingly those words, Chap. 13.17. are to be rendred thus, Save he that hath the Mark, either (not or) the Name of the Beast, or the Number of his Name. Neither is it a new thing in the Scripture, that a Mark should be set on the Bodies of Men for Protection. Thus God is said to have set a Mark on Cain, lest any one finding him should kill him, Gen. 4.15. He also caused a Mark to be set on the foreheads of them that sighed and cryed for all the Abominations that were done in Jerusa­lem, that the Destroyers might not come near them, when they in the Vision slew all the rest of the Inhabitants of that City, Ezek. 9.4, 6. Finally, we read in this very Book of the Revelation, Chap. 7.3. that the Servants of God are by an Angel sealed or marked on the forehead, to secure them from the Plague of the Locusts, Chap. 9.4. and this Mark is the Name of the Lambs Father, Chap. 14 1. We see then by these Allegations out of the Scripture, that there is no need to fly to a mystical Inter­pretation [Page 17]in explaining the Mark of the Beast set upon Men, that they may be thereby licensed to buy and sell without molestation, especially because this Mark is said to be imprinted upon certain parts of their Body, and that (as the Devil is wont to be God's Ape) in imitation of the Name of God set upon the foreheads of his servants for their security. Of which thing no man shall ever be able to render a good account, if he once depart from the Letter of the Text.

Vers. 18. Here is Wisdom, Let him that hath un­derstanding count the Number of the Beast: for it is the Number of a Man: and his Num­ber is is six hundred threescore and six.

As touching the Number of the Beast, (that is, of the first Beast, as this Expression doth in the Revelation perpe­tually signifie) or of his Name, to such as are not ac­quainted with the Greek Tongue, wherein the Revelation was written, this seemeth very difficult: but to those who know that the Greeks in Numbring make not use of Figures, but reckon by the Letters of the Alphabet, put­ting the first Letter for one, the second for two, &c. the thing is obvious and easie. For when it is said that the Number of the Beast (by whom, as John himself ex­pounded it, a Man is understood) is six hundred sixty six, it is all one as if it were said, Write the Name of this Man in Greek, the Language of this Book, and then calculate the Letters thereof, according to the custome of the Greeks, and it will amount to the Number of Six hundred sixty six. And this very thing is hinted by expressing the Number of six hundred sixty six in Greek, not by words, but letters. Thus much then God is pleased to make known to us; but what the Name it self is, he hath concealed, reserving [Page 18]the knowledge thereof for them, that shall live in the time of the Beast. So that besides Irreverence towards God, it is also lost labour for us in these times to spend our conjectures upon it.

Chap.14. Vers. 1. And I looked, and so, a Lamb slood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred for­ty and four thousand, having his Fathers Name written in their foreheads.’

The Exposition.

BY the Lamb here standing on Mount Sion, is meant Christ Jesus the Son of God, both because the Name of his Father is writ upon the foreheads of the Saints here mentioned; and because he is brought in as their Leader: and finally, because no other person be­sides him is wont to be designed by the Name of a Lamb. By Mount Sion it self is under slood Jerusalem. For though Mount Sion (if you speak strictly and properly) was but a Castle in Jerusalem, taken by David in the be­ginning of his Reign over all Israel, 1 Chron. 11.4,5. yet is it, as being the chiefest part of that City, frequently in Scripture put for Jerusalem it self; as Isai 33.29. Look on Sion the City of our solemnities: thine eys shall see Jeru­salem a quiet habitation. And Chap. 37.32. For out of Je­rusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Sion. And Chap. 52.1. Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Sion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem. Howbeit this standing of Christ upon Mount Sion with [Page 19]so great a company attending him, doth not argue that he shall ever reign there by his personal presence, (no more than his standing by Paul in Jerusalem, Acts 23.11. doth evince that he did then reign there after such a man­ner) but onely intimate that those Saints shall perfectly follow the direction of Christ, no otherwise than if he were personally present with them in Jerusalem, as the fourth Verse of this Chapter explaineth it, saying, These are they that follow the Lamb whither soever he goeth. Fi­nally, by the hundred forty four thousand, upon whose forehead the name of the Lambs Father was imprinted, are meant those Servants of God that were sealed out of all the Tribes of Israel, Chap. 7.4. For both their num­ber, and their abode, and the place of their body wherein they are sealed or marked, exactly agree. Whence by the way it appeareth that the Sealing mentioned in the said seventh Chapter shall happen in the Age wherein the Beast shall arise, (and consequently the general conversion of the Jews shall precede his coming) otherwise those sealed ones would not thus be inserted into the History of the Beast.

Vers. 2. And I heard a voice from Heaven, as the voice of many Waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of Harp­ers harping with their Harps.

Vers. 3. And they sung as it were a new Song be­fore the Throne, and before the four Beasts and the Elders: and no Man could learn that Song, but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the Earth.

Vers. 4. These are they which were not defiled with Women; for they are Virgins; these are they which follow the Lamb whitherso­ever he goeth: these were redeemed from a­mong Men, being the first-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb.

Vers. 5. And in their Mouth was found no Guile: for they are without Fault before the Throne of God.

Whether the voice out of Heaven, resembling the noise of many Waters, and the noise of great Thunder, did utter any words, and what those words are, is not ex­pressed, or hinted, so that we must of necessity remain ignorant thereof: neither is it said, who those Harpers are, onely it is likely they are the Saints in Heaven, who are thus brought in speaking aloud from thence, Chap. 12.10. As little is it told us, what the new Song is, which they play upon their Harps; yea, we are on the contrary assured that none but those hundred forty four thousand can learn it, and therefore the knowledge thereof belong­eth not to us, or any others, but is reserved for them one­ly; which argueth that there is something extraordinary in those godly persons of the Jewish Nation above those of any other Nation whatsoever. For though it be com­mon to them with other Saints to be redeemed (or rather bought, as the Greek word signifieth. See Chap. 5.8, 9.) from among men, namely, with the Blood of the Lamb, and so to be a first-fruits unto God and the Lamb, as being theirs in a special manner, no otherwise than the first-fruits were the Lord's under the Law. See Num. 18.12, 13. yet is it peculiar to them above the multitude of Be­lievers in any other Nation: First, to be the Servants of [Page 21]God, that is, Prophets, for so this Appellation is ex­pounded, Chap. 11.18. And to give a Reward to thy Ser­vants the Prophets. And therefore no marvel if these persons being endued with the Spirit of Prophecy, know the new Song that is sung in Heaven, whilest other godly persons in the mean time are ignorant of the same. Se­condly, to be Virgins, and therefore such as have not been defiled with Women. For it evidently follows, that if they be Virgins, and so never had to do with Women, they could not possibly be defiled with them. Thirdly, to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth; which im­plyeth that they strayed not from the way wherein Christ Jesus did lead them, but yielded up themselves to his guidance in all things. Fourthly, to have no Guile in their Mouth, and therefore to be without Fault before the Throne of God: which last words, before the Throne of God, are emphatical; for it is all one as if it had been said, before the Judgement-Seat of God; because (as David testifieth, Psalm 9.7.) the Lord hath prepared his Throne for Judgement. Behold then the Dignity of the Jerwish Nation, to which the Lord will advance them in the time of the Beast, above any other Nation under the whole Heaven, namely, that there shall be of the People of the Jews at the same time an hundred forty four thousand Prophets, all of them Virgins, perfectly following the guidance of Christ, and having no guile or blame before God. Wherefore I may truly say with Moses, (when he reflected on the peculiar favour that God had vouchsafed to Israel in another kinde) Ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created Man upon the Earth, and ask from one side of the Heaven to the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Deut. 4.32.

Vers. 6. And I saw another Angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting Go­spel, to preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every Nation, and Kindred, and Tongue, and People,

Vers. 7. Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judge­ment is come: and worship him that made Heaven and Earth, and the Sea and the Foun­tains of Waters.

The first part of the Angels Message (for so the Greek word ought no be rendred. See 2 Sam. 18.20. in Greek: nei­ther is the Article prefixt, as it is wont to be, when the Go­spel is meant) is to excite men to fear God, and give glory to his Name, because the time of his Judgement is come, namely, when he will judge both the Beast and his Worshippers, partly by the Vials of Gods wrath to be poured out upon them, whereof see Chap. 16. partly by the utter Defeat of them at the great Battel of Armageddon, Chap. 19. For indeed the Judgements of God are so terrible, that even the Prophets, when they only denounced them, were wont to be seized with a great horrour. Thus Esay after a grie­vous Vision had been declared to him, Chap. 21.2. present­ly cryeth out in the following Verse, Therefore are my loins filled with pain, pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth. I was bowed down at the hearing of it, I was dismayed at the hearing of it. How much more then ought they to breed a fear of God in the hearts of such as see them put in execution? But as the terrour of Gods Judgements causeth fear, so doth the righteousness [Page 23]of them induce Men to glorifie and praise his Name. An instance whereof we have Revel. 19.1, 2. where it is said, Glory and honour be to our God, because his Judgements are true and just. The second part of this Message (which is therefore termed everlasting, because it relateth to such Duties as are not peculiar to any certain time, but to be performed for ever) is to exhort Men to the Worship of God the Creatour of Heaven and Earth. And this Ex­hortation is the more seasonable, because of the general Apostacy of the Times here spoken of, wherein partly by the force, and partly by the fraud of the false Prophet, it is grown a common practice to worship the Beast, to the greatest dishonour of God that can be imagined.

Vers. 8. And there followed another Angel, say­ing, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great ci­ty, because she made all Nations drink of the Wine of the Wrath of her Fornication.

Babylon (by which Rome is meant, as will appear by the ex­position of the 17. Chap.) shall length be utterly destroy­ed, namely, by the ten Kings that are confederate with the Beast; to shew the certainty of which mine, the Angel speaketh of it as already past, redoubling the Expression and Saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen Now the reason why he speaketh of Rome under a borrowed name, is, part­ly that he might not bring danger upon John, by causing him to describe in plain terms the Destruction of that Ci­ty, under the Dominion whereof he lived, (for Jeremy, in that he openly foretold the ruine of Jerusalem, was very likely to have been put to death, Chap. 26.11.) and partly that none but the wise might attain to the knowledge of so excellent a Prophecy, as is sufficiently hinted by those words of the Angel, Chap. 17.9. where he saith, Here is [Page 24]the minde that hath wisdom, The seven Heads are the seven Mountains on which the Woman sitteth, &c. And this my­stical name of Babylon is very aptly and elegantly given to Rome, because of the great congruity that was be­tween those two Cities. For first, Babylon was an exceed­ing large City, and therefore called great Babylon, Dan. 4.30. So also was Rome, which is therefore hyperbolically said by the Poet Lucan, lib. 1. ver. 511. to have been a sufficient Receptacle for all Mankinde: but by more so­ber Writers, that have inquired into the greatness there­of, to have been fifty Miles within the Walls. Second­ly, Babylon was the Seat of the first universal Kingdom, and Rome of the fourth. Thirdly, Babylon was exceed­ingly addicted to Sorceries and Inchantments, Isai 47.9, 12. So also was Rome; for though Laws were made at Rome against Astrologers and Sorcerers, yet were they under hand still cherished there, which gave Tacitus an oc­casion to say of them, Hist. lib. 1. cap. 7. that they were Genus hominum, quod in civitate nostra & vetabitur semper, & retinebitur. That is, A kinde of men that in our state will be always both forbidden and retained. Fourthly, Ba­bylon exercised great rage and cruelty upon the People of God, Isai 47.6. So also did Rome, of which it is said Chap. 18.24. of this Prophecy, that in her was found the Blood of Prophets and Saints, and of all that were slain in the Earth, And this last Branch of the Comparison bring­eth us to the cause of Rome's Destruction, assigned in this place by the Angel, when he saith, that all Nations had drunk the Wine of the Wrath of her Fornication. For to drink the Wine of her Wrath (according to the Lan­guage of the Scripture, taken from the custome of admi­nistring bitter Potions, whereby Men become disturbed and ill at ease) is to feel her Anger, and so to be vanquish­ed by her with the Sword. See Jer. 25.15, 16. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me, Take the Wine-cup of this [Page 25]fury at my hand, and cause all the Nations to whom I send thee to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the Sword that I will send among them. And Chap. 51.7. Babylon hath been a golden Cup in the Lords hand, that made all the Earth drunken. The Nations have drunken of her Wine, therefore the Nations are mad.

Neither ought the Fornication or Whoredom of Rome here annexed, to turn us aside from this Interpretation seeing the subtil Devices that great Cities have used to ruine other States, are in the Scripture called Whoredoms. Thus the Prophet Nahum saith of Nineveh, Chap. 2.3, 4. There is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases, they stumble upon their corpses: because of the multitude of the Whoredoms of the well-favoured Harlot, the Mistress of Witchcrafts, that selleth Nations through her Whoredoms, and Families through her Witchcrafts. You see by this passage that Nineveh was to be ruined for her whorlsh slights, whereby she drew in other Nations, and made a Prey of them, as Harlots are wont to do with their Lo­vers. But never was there any City that did so over­reach and prey upon other Nations, as Rome did, what by making them Confederates, (but upon unequal terms) what by shewing a marvellous readiness in protecting their Confederates, (thereby to have a fair pretext to make an Invasion upon others) what by pretending out of meer gallantry to deliver Free States from the Oppressors of their Liberty, (but under-hand reserving to themselves the sovereign Command over those States after they had subdued their Enemies.) All which, and sundry other whorish tricks of Rome, far exceeding in queintness those of any other City we read of, may be seen at large in the History of Livy, and the notable Discourses of Machia­vel thereupon.

Vers. 9. And the third angel followed them, say­ing with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

Vers. 10. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out with­out mixture, into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brim­stone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

Vers. 11. And the smoke of their torment ascend­eth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

This third Angel seemeth to make application of what the first Angel said. For if men ought to worship God, (as that Angel in his everlasting message did de­clare) certainly it is very great impiety to worship the Beast, who is the professed enemy of God, openly bla­spheming his Name. And lest any one should imagine it to be a small sin to worship the Beast and his Image, or to receive his mark, he denounceth with a loud voice, That whosoever doth so, shall drink of the wine of Gods wrath, that is poured without mixture, (and so not allayed with any thing to abate the force thereof) into the cup of his anger, and be tormented with fire and brimstone, before the holy An­gels [Page 27]and before the Lamb, and that to all eternity: for if the smoke of their torment shall ascend for ever and ever, (as the Angel plainly affirmeth) it is necessary that the tor­ment it self, from whence the smoke ariseth, should also continue as long; and if the torment, then also the tor­mented. So that it ought at no hand to be denyed that the worshippers of the Beast shall live for ever in the tor­ments of hell fire. Neither is it to be feared least any one should thence argue, that by this account they may be tru­ly said to have Eternal life. For Eternal life (according to the true and usual notion of the Scripture) doth not signifie a bare living for ever, but a living for ever in joy, and in the favour of God. And therefore Eternal life, Matth. 25.46. is opposed to Eternal punishment, when it is said, These shall go away into everlasting punishment, (which implyeth that they remain alive for ever, other­wise how are they capable of being punished for ever? all punishment supposing the existence of the subject that is punished:) But the righteous into life eternal. And to the a­biding of Gods wrath upon men, John 3.36. When it is said, He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him: and to damnation, John 5.29. when it is said, They that have done good, shall come forth to the re­surrection of life: but they that have done evil, unto the re­surrection of damnation. These things being so, such inter­preters are not to be heard, as go about to impose a figu­rative sense upon what is here in the Revelation clearly spoken concerning the everlasting torment prepared for the worshippers of the Beast, for they not onely weaken the force of the Angels commination, (which all must needs confess to be far more efficacious to deterr men from committing so great wickedness, if the words be plainly and properly taken) but also open a way to evacu­ate all other passages of the Scripture, where mention is [Page 28]made of the everlasting torment of Hell fire. But per­haps some one will object, that these tormented ones are said to have no rest day and night, and consequently their torment is to be restrained to such a duration, where there is a vicissitude of day and night, (which ceaseth together with the world) and so is not properly and truly everlast­ing. To which I answer, that this expression of having no rest day and night (inasmuch as it followeth those words, wherein it is said, that the smoak of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever) is used to shew, that they shall at no time have any respiration from their torment, and not that there shall be an end thereof, namely when day and night shall cease. For seeing all the time of men in this world, is part either of the day, or of the night, that which co­meth not to pass in either of them, is not at all: hence it is that the Angel, intending to shew that the worshippers of the Beast, shall be tormented without intermission, saith, that they have no rest day and night. Thus is it said of the four living creatures in Heaven with six wings apeice, Chap. 4.8. That they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, (though there be no vicissitude of day and night in Heaven) namely to signifie that they never cease at any time whatsoever to praise God in that maner. To conclude therefore, As those words, He shall be tormented for ever and ever, import that there shall be no end of their torment, so these, They have no rest day and night, imply that there shall be no intermis­sion of them.

Vers. 12. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

This acclamation of the Angel doth intimate, that du­ring the tyranny of the Beast, the patience of the Saints [Page 29]will have a most ample occasion to shew it self, there ha­ving never been before so furious a monster, that did so openly set his mouth against the Heavens, and bend all his forces to extirpate the Religion of Christ; So that then it will appear, more then in any former age, how admirable the constancy of the Saints is, who, notwithstanding all the Machinations, whether of force, or fraud, that Satan and his instruments can contrive to wrest the crown of piety out of their hands, do in the midst of a general Apostacy still adhere to the Commandments of God, and firmly be­lieve in Jesus Christ.

Vers. 13. And I heard a voice from heaven, say­ing unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do fol­low them.

Here John relates a certain voice which he heard out of Heaven, pronouncing them happy in particular, that should from thenceforth die, namely under the tyranny of the Beast, which particular happiness of them, (as we are taught, Chap. 20.4.) consists herein, that they shall be partakers of the first Resurrection. For that resurrection is there appropriated to them that suffer death for the testi­mony of Christ, and for the word of God, in the time of the Beast. And the more to incourage the Saints to die for the truth of Christ in those perillous times, the holy spirit doth second that voice from Heaven, and render the reason thereof, namely, because they rest from their labors, and their works follow them, and therefore since their works have been more eminent then those of former times, no marvel if their reward be so also.

Vers. 14. And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat, like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

This vision, together with that other in the 17, & 18. verses, do (like the two dreams of Pharaoh, Gen. 41.25, 26.) tend to the same effect, and so are indeed but one, intima­ting that the time was now at hand, when Christ should execute judgement on the inhabitants of the earth, because their sins, (denoted by the ripe fruits of the earth) were come to maturity. And that this interpretation is true and certain, appeareth from that passage, Joel 3.12, 13. (from whence these two visions of John seem to be modelled) where it is said, Let the Heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: For there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about, put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe, come, get you down, for the press is full, the fats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Now foras­much as Christ is to be a principal agent in the execution of this judgement, he is therefore brought in sitting upon a cloud, as God in like cases was wont to be in the Old Testament, See Isay. 19.1. Behold the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt, and the Idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. Moreover the cloud that Christ sit­teth upon is said to be white, to set forth the glorious ho­nour of his Majesty; like as God, intending to make that vision, Matth. 17.5. to be the more Illustrious, causeth a bright cloud to over-shadow the three Apostles that were with Christ at his transfiguration. As for the golden crown upon Christs head, it sheweth the Kingly power wherof he is possessed, as the sharp sickle doth the severity of his an­ger against the wicked, whom he is ready armed to cut off.

Vers. 15. And another Angel came out of the Temple crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the Cloud, Thrust in thy Sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the Harvest of the Earth is ripe.

Vers. 16. And he that sat on the Cloud, thrust in his Sickle on the Earth; and the Earth was reaped.

An Angel, longing to see the vengeance of Christ fall upon the Inhabitants of the Earth, that had so openly and outragiously dishonoured God, cometh out of the Temple in Heaven, (for there is the place of that Temple, from whence the Angels are wont to issue forth, as is apparent from the 17. Verse) and cryeth to him aloud, desiring him to destroy the wicked, (whose iniquity was now full) with the sharp Sickle of his Wrath, which is accordingly performed.

Vers. 17. And another Angel came out of the Temple which is in Heaven, he also having a sharp Sickle.

Vers. 18. And another Angel came out from the Altar which had Power over the Fire; and cried with a loud Cry to him that had the sharp Sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp Sic­kle, and gather the Clusters of the Vine of the Earth: for her Grapes are fully ripe.

For as much as Christ in executing this great Judge­ment is not onely himself an Agent, but useth also the Ministry of Angels, (both which things are plainly set forth, Chap. 16. & 19. where this business is again repeat­ed) a Sickle bearing Angel is likewise introduced, to whom another Angel cryeth aloud, that he should put his Sickle in ure, and gather the Vine of the Earth. Neither is it without a Mystery, that this Angel, which cryeth, is said to issue forth from the Altar, and to have power over the fire thereof. For this implyeth that he, as being wont to attend at the Altar, did perceive that the Prayers of the Saints, (with which he burned Incense before God) were now heard, and that God was accordingly resolved to avenge his People of their Enemies; wherefore it is evi­dent from this Passage, that there is in Heaven a Temple, and therein an Altar, which Chap. 8.3. is said to be of Gold, and to stand before the Throne of God, and to have (as here) an Angel for Priest to burn Incense there­on, that the smoke thereof may ascend up together with the Prayers of the Saints. Neither can it with reason be affirmed, that this Angel is Christ, not onely because it is very hard, (if not altogether impossible) to allege any passage of the Scripture, where the appellation of an An­gel is undoubtedly given unto Christ, but also for that this Angel is here plainly differenced from Christ; for Christ is said to sit upon a white Cloud, having a sharp Sickle in his hand, whereas this Angel is said to come out from the Altar, which is in Heaven. Again, this Angel is said to be another Angel, and therefore if the two pre­cedent Angels (which are also both of them distinguished from Christ) be of necessity meer Angels, so must this Angel also. Which Reason is of force likewise in the 8. Chapter, where this Angel is called another Angel, in re­lation to the seven Angels, that stand before God, and so are meer Angels, or ministring Spirits, and consequently [Page 33]he, being of their Rank, is not Christ, but a ministring Spirit also.

Vers. 19. And the Angel thrust in his Sickle into the Earth, and gathered the Vine of the Earth, and cast it into the great Wine-press of the Wrath of God.

Vers. 20. And the Wine-press was trodden with­out the City, and Blood came out of the Winepress, even unto the Horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred Fur­longs.

These two Verses shew the accomplishment of what the Angel, who came out from the Altar in Heaven, did de­sire. For the Vine of the Earth is gathered, and the Clu­sters cast into the great Wine-press of Gods wrath, and trodden without the City. Which figurative Description doth inti­mate the quashing and utter ruine of the Inhabitants of the Earth, that joyn their Forces with the Beast, that they may cut off all the Saints at once. The fulfilling whereof is set down at large, Chap. 19. Now this Wine-press is said to be trodden without the City, because this terrible execution shall be made without Megiddo, a City belong­ing to the Tribe of Manasseh, Josh. 17.11. For thither shall the Kings of the Earth draw their Armies together to make war with Christ, and his Saints, as is related, Chap. 16.16. Of which City I will discourse more large­ly in my Exposition of that Chapter. Now the greatness of the slaughter that Christ shall then make, slaying his Enemies with the Sword of his Mouth, and so shedding their Blood, is notably declared both by the depth of that bloody Stream that issueth out of the Wine-press of [Page 34]Gods wrath, (which is said to reach up to the Bridles of the Horses, and so to be above a Yard from the Ground) and also by the length thereof, running out for the space of one thousand six hundred Furlongs, which is by com­putation, at eight Furlongs to the Mile, two hundred Miles. Neither will this seem so strange, if we consider that all the Kings of the whole World together with their Armies shall then assemble themselves towards the City of Megiddo, and there be slain.

Chap.15. Vers. 1. 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.’

The Exposition.

THis Chapter containeth in it self a Preparative to the pouring out of the Vials of Gods wrath upon the Beast and his Worshippers. For John here seeth a great and wonderful Sign of seven Angels having seven Plagues, which are therefore called the last Plagues, because the Anger of God is accomplished by them, so that after them succeedeth the chaining up of Satan, and the unin­terrupted prosperity of a thousand years through all the World, as appeareth from the 20. Chapter. Now the rea­son, why the Angels are here sent to plague the Beast and his Worshippers, is because all humane means did fail. For the Saints who had adventured to oppose him with Arms, though they fought in a just Cause, were yet sub­dued [Page 35]and crushed by him, as we saw Chap. 13.7. So that now was the time for God to take the business into his own hands, and to put forth the power of his Wrath by heavenly Instruments, for as much as the earthly ones had proved ineffectual. Which Observation is of good use, teaching us to depend upon God for the avenging of his People, even when all humane ability to perform it is quite vanished.

Vers. 2. And I saw as it were a Sea of Glass min­gled with Fire, and them that had gotten the victory over the Beast, and over his Image, and over his Mark, and over the Number of his Name, stand on the Sea of Glass, having the Harps of God.

The prosecution of the Preparative aforesaid is inter­rupted by a Representation of their glorious Estate, who chose rather to suffer Death, than to worship the Beast and his Image, and to receive his Mark. For all that so suffer shall have a part in the first Resurrection, as I have before touched in the Exposition of the 14. Chapter. Now the place where the glorified Saints do stand to praise God, is said to be a glassy Sea, mingled (that is, fil­led) with fire. Of which Sea we read Chap. 4.6. Where John saith, that before the Throne was a Sea of Glass like to Crystall. Wherefore the Sea here mentioned is a large transparent Vessel, made of a glassie or crystalline mat­ter, and set before the Throne of God in Heaven, not having Water in it, (as that of Solomon's Temple, 2 Chron. 4.6. which was made after the Patern of this Sea in Hea­ven) but filled with fire. And the Use is, that the glorifi­ed Saints standing, not upon (as the English Translation hath it) but by it, may sing the Praises of God with Harps [Page 36]And in likelihood it is filled with fire, to set off the terri­ble Majesty of God, and the fire of his Jealousie, where­with he is wont to consume his Enemies, according to that Description of him, Psalm 50.3. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and burnup his Enemies round about. Finally, that they which are said to have gotten the victory of the Beast, are rightly by me interpreted to be such as suffered death, rather than they would yield to him, is evident from the notion of overcoming or getting the victory, else­where found in the Revelation. Thus is it said by the Saints triumphant in Heaven concerning their deceased Brethren, Chap. 12.11. that they overcame him (that is, Satan) by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of their Testimony, and loved not their Lives unto Death. And Christ himself saith, Chap. 3.21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, even as I also over­came, and am set down with my Father in his Throne. But it is certain, that our Lord Christ overcame by suffering Death for the Truth.

Vers. 3. And they sing the Song of Moses the Ser­vant of God, and the Song of the Lamb, say­ing, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints.

Vers. 4. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy Name, for thou onely art holy: for all Nations shall come and worship be­fore thee; for thy Judgements are made ma­nifest.

The Song which these heavenly Harpers sing, is called [Page 37]the song of Moses and of the Lamb, not that they ever used the very words thereof, (as far as we can judge by what is recorded of them in the Scripture) but because it is conformable to the doctrine of them both. Howbeit were the Hymn extant, with Christ (according to the prophecie that went before concerning him:) did sing in the midst of the Church, Heb. 2.12. as well as the song of Moses, Exod. 15. we should no doubt perceive that the song here set down was in effect the same with that of Christ, as it apparently is with that of Moses. Now the contents of this song are first the great and wonderful works of God, shewing themselves in nothing more, then in the preservation of these Saints from the worship of the Beast, when all the world ran headlong to that impiety. Second­ly, the righteousness and truth of his ways, in making these Saints according to his promise partakers of the first resurrection, because they had for him and his Gospel hated their lives in this world. And this God whose ways are so righteous and so true, is very significantly here stiled the King of the saints, because to reign is properly to govern by Laws. But there not are any that submit to the laws of God given by the hands of Christ, and so are governed by them, but the Saints, all others being either ignorant of them, or disobedient to them. Thirdly, It is intimated that it would be altogether unreasonable for any particular man to refuse to fear God, and glorifie his name, when there are so many notable arguments compelling thereunto, as in the first place, the unparallelled holiness of God. For seeing he is holy of himself and all others by the partici­pation of his holiness, he is rightly here said to be holy a­lone. Again, the example of all Nations, who come and worship before God, is another inducement to the performance of the duties aforesaid. Lastly, the righte­ous deeds of God are alledged to this purpose, partly shewed forth in the glorification of his Saints, that died [Page 38]for his sake, (of which we spake before) and partly in the destruction of the Beast, and his followers.

Vers. 5. And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

After that notable digression touching the Saints that are to be partakers of the first resurrection, John returneth to the great & wonderful sign aforesaid, wch is ushered in with the opening of the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in Heaven. By which words it appeareth, not only that there is a temple in Heaven, (whereof mention was made for­merly, Chap. 14.17.) but also a tabernacle containing it, and a testimony therein. This tabernacle I have already proved, in the exposition of Chap. 13.6. to be the holy City, the Heavenly Jerusalem. Wherefore the temple belonging to it must needs be a more Sacred portion thereof, where the glorified Saints do serve God, accord­ing to that passage, Chap. 7.15. Therefore are they before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple. Now lest any one should put off what is here said con­cerning a Tabernacle and Temple in Heaven, by turning it into an allegory (as men are too apt to do, when they expound the book of the Revelation) we ought to consi­der, that even the Author to the Hebrews, (who uttereth neither Prophecies nor Parables, but plainly delivereth the Doctrine of the Gospel) doth also make mention of a tabernacle in Heaven, stiling it The true tabernacle, yea of a Sanctuary, or Holy of Holyes, which he in like maner calleth the true Sanctuary. For thus he saith, Chap. 8.1, 2. We have such an high Priest, who is set down on the right hand of the Majesty in the Heavens: A minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not [Page 39]man: And Chap. 9.11.12. but Christ being come, an High Priest of future good things, by a greater and more per­fect Tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and Calves, but by his own blood he entred in for once (so it is in the Greek) into the holy place (or Sanctuary) having obtained everlast­ing redemption. And verse 24. Christ is not entred into the holy places (or, Sanctuary) made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into Heaven it self now to ap­pear in the presence of God for us. Which passages if we take in the plain and literal sense of them (as the circumstan­ces, if well weighed, will inforce us to do) then shall we easily perceive how aptly the same Divine Author, Chap. 8.5. speaking of the Levitical Priests, that ministred in the Tabernacle, saith Who serve unto the example and shadow of Heavenly things. Whereas if we turn aside to figura­tive interpretations, neither will that, nor sundry other places of the Divine Author aforesaid, be ever rightly understood, nor shall we be able to render a sufficient rea­son, why we may not at the same rate allegorize upon whatsoever is delivered in the Scripture, whereby it will at length come to pass, that we shall be certain of nothing that is contained therein, being lyable to be carried about with every fansie, that curious wits can invent, and impose upon the letter of the Holy text. Having thus asserted the truth, and reality of an Heavenly Tabernacle and Temple, (the consequence of which Doctrine will further appear, when we come to the 21. & 22. Chap,) we ought to pass the same sentence upon the Testimony that is said to be therein. For if the tabernacle that Moses made, was a type of a greater and more perfect one in Heaven, may not the tables of the Testimony also which were contain­ed therein? especially seeing that John himself saith in another place of this Prophecie, that the temple of God was [Page 40]opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his Testament (or, covenant.) Chap. 11.19.

Vers. 6. And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clo­thed in pure and white linen, and ha­ving their breasts girded with golden gir­dles.

The temple being opened for the seven Angels, that had the seven plagues, they accordingly issue out accou­tred like Priests in white linen and golden girdles. Thus we find that the Priests under the Law were wont to wear fine linen, Exod. 28.39. Thou shalt imbroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needle-work. And Levit. 16.11. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with the linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired. And the curious girdle of the Ephod, belonging to the High Priest, was made, as of other things, so also of gold. Exod. 28.8. The curious girdle of the Ephod which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blew, and of purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. Now that this habit of the Levitical Priests was al­so a type of heavenly things, is evident from the descrip­tion of the Angel (an inhabitant of Heaven) that appeared to Daniel, Chap. 10.5. of his Prophecy. For there Da­niel saith, I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold, a cer­tain man clothed in linen, whose loyns were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. In like maner are the seven Angels atti­red, that here appear to John. But why labor I to prove the Angels to be priests from their Attire, when (to omit [Page 41]what I observed in the Chapter immediately foregoing, namely, that one of the Angels is said to have power over the fire of the Altar in Heaven) there needs no other Argument to evince this, than that which I hinted at the first rise of mine Exposition upon this sixth Verse, name­ly, that they are conversant in the Temple of Heaven, for it belongeth unto none but Priests to converse in Tem­ples. See 2 Chron. 26.11, 17, 18.

Vers. 7. And one of the four Beasts gave unto the seven Angels, seven golden Vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

It is not without a Mystery, that one of the four living Creatures giveth to the seven Angels seven Vials full of the Wrath of God. For those four living Creatures be­ing indeed the multitude of Believers in the four Quar­ters of the World, (as appeareth by their own words, Chaps. 5.9. where, in their new Song to the Lamb, they say, Thou hast redeemed us by thy Blood to God out of every Kindred, and Tongue, and People, and Nation, and hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests, and we shall reign on the Earth:) and it being altogether impossible for them reigning upon the Earth, (if you speak properly) to reach out Vials to the Angels in Heaven, when one of them is said to give the Vials to the Angels, it onely implyeth, that by their procurement, whilest they cry day and night unto God, it came to pass that these Angels had the Vi­als of Gods wrath put into their hands, to the end they might pour them out upon the Inhabitants of the Earth. But here again we meet with another proof of the An­gels being Priests, in that they are said to have golden Vi­als given to them, whereas a Vial is not an ordinary Bowl, [Page 42]but onely such an one as is used in consecrated Places. Thus when it is said 2 Chron. 4.8. that Solomon made for the ten Tables of the Temple an hundred Basons, or Bowls of Gold, the Greek Interpreters render it Vials. Neither is it to be omitted that when the seven Vials are said to be fu [...]l of the Wrath of God that liveth for ever and ever: this Description of God is very emphatical, intimating that God, for as much as he liveth for ever and ever, can certainly accomplish his Wrath, so that his Enemies can­not possibly escape: whereas Men having their Breath in their Nostrils, and being [...]iable to Death every moment, they may indeed make great Threats, but perhaps will not survive to perform what they have threatned.

Vers. 8. And the Temple was filled with Smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the Tem­ple, till the seven Plagues of the seven Angels were fulfilled.

The filling of the heavenly Temple with Smoke, so that none was able to enter thereinto for a time, doth not intimate any abstruse and mysterious business, but onely set off the awfull Majesty of God, as will appear by the collation of other like passages of the Scripture. For thus Moses, Exod. 40.35. is said, To be unable to enter into the Tent of the Congregation, because the Cloud abode thereupon, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. And the Priests at the Dedication of Solomon's Temple, are said, To be unable to enter into the House of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had silled the Lords house, 2 Chron. 7.2. So that we ought not to hunt after Mysteries, when the Scri­pture giveth us no intimation of them.

Chap. 16. Vers. 1. And I heard a great Voice out of the Temple, saying to the seven Angels, Go your ways and pour out the Vials of the Wrath of God up­on the Earth.’

The Exposition.

THe heavenly Priests aforesaid being now furnished by means of the Saints on Earth, with the Vials of Gods wrath, are commanded by a loud voice out of the Temple in Heaven to pour them out upon the Earth. Not that the greatest part of them are not to be poured out upon other parts of the World, but, by a Figure of Deficiency, that is, [...], (as the Greeks are wont to phrase it) the Earth onely is named, both because the first is expresly said to be poured out upon the Earth, it self, and also all the rest of the Vials, though poured out upon other places, yet have relation to the Earth, and the Inhabitants thereof.

Vers. 2. And the first went, and poured out his Vial upon the Earth; and there fell a noi­som and grievous sore upon the Men which had the Mark of the Beast, and upon them which worshipped his Image.

The first Vial, as we said before, is poured out upon the Earth, and the effect thereof is a sore and evil Boil, ari­sing on them that had the Mark of the Beast, and wor­shipped his Image. In the explaining of which Vial, (as [Page 44]well as of the rest) I see no need of betaking our selves to an Allegory. For if Moses and Aaron, by sprinkling Ashes of the Furnace towards Heaven, caused it to be­come a Boil breaking out with Blains upon the Egyptians, Exod. 9.8, 9, 10. Why may we not as well conceive that the pouring out of a Vial on the Earth by an Angel may produce the same effect upon the Worshippers of the Beast? And how then is this plain Interpretation not to be embraced, when we finde in the Scripture that the same Plague did formerly happen to such as had been great Oppressours of Gods people.

Vers. 3. And the second Angel poured out his Vial upon the Sea; and it became as the Blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the Sea.

The wickedness of the Beast and his Worshippers is exceeding great. No marvel therefore if their Plagues be not onely the same with those that happened to the wicked of former times, but also exceeding them, as be­ing purposely suited by God to their impiety. Of which sort is this Plague of the second Vial, the pouring out of which into the Sea, turneth, not the third part thereof onely, as Chap. 8.8. but all its Waters into Blood, so that every living Soul therein perisheth. By this means they are debarred of fishing in the Sea, which must needs draw with it the ruine of many thousands that depend thereon for their livelihood. The same may also be said of their traffiquing by Sea. For the Waters thereof becoming Blood, like that of a dead man, they are not onely unserviceable to those many uses, wherein Mariners are wont to imploy them, but also by reason of their stench and thickness are altogether unfit to be sailed in: this Plague therefore is very great.

Vers. 4. And the third Angel poured out his Vial upon the Rivers and Fountains of Waters; and they became Blood.

5. And I heard the Angel of the Waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which wast, art, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus:

6. For they have shed the Blood of Saints and Prophets, and thou hast given them Blood to drink; for they are worthy.

7. And I heard another out of the Altar, say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righ­teous are thy Judgements.

The turning of the Sea into Blood, though it be a great Plague, is yet insufficient to punish so outragious sinners as the Worshippers of the Beast, wherefore the ven­geance of God cometh yet closer to them, by the pouring out of this third Vial into the Rivers and Fountains of Waters, whereby they also become Blood. So that now these Wretches can hardly with digging about the Rivers and Fountains get Water for their necessary uses. For neither is it suitable to conceive, that they were supplied any other way, than the Egyptians (their Predecessours in cruelty) had been in the like calamity. See Exod. 7.24. And that they had some such supply, is evident by their surviving to undergo the other following Plagues, which could not have come to pass, had they been deprived of all means to get Water. And this Plague is so agreeable [Page 46]to their sin (as it had been in former times to that of the Egyptians) that the Angel of the Waters, who had po­wer to turn them into Blood, doth extoll the signal Ju­stice of God herein, pronouncing them worthy to have Blood given them to drink, who had not spared to shed the Blood of Saints and Prophets. And not onely he, but also that other Angel, which attendeth at the Altar in Heaven. For he, having formerly desired the Sickle-bearing Angel to make a clean riddance of the wicked, whose sin was now ripe, Chap. 14.18. must needs rejoyce at the equity of Gods dealing in the pouring out of this Vial, which could not but cause many of them to perish. But it is not to be passed over without animadversion, that when the Worshippers of the Beast are here said, to have Blood given them to drink, because they had shed the Blood of Saints and Prophets: this argueth that the pour­ing out of this Vial (and consequently of the rest, there being the same reason of them all) happeneth within the compass of the three years and an half, that the Tyranny of the Beast lasteth, yea, towards the latter end of that space, in as much as these Plagues have relation to the cruelty, that had been before exercised towards the Saints and Prophets: and therefore it is likely, that the pouring out of these seven Vials taketh not up more time, than the smiting of Egypt with the ten Plagues did, which were all accomplished within the space of one Year. For Moses was eighty years old when he began to speak unto Pharaoh, Exod. 7.7. and but an hundred and twenty when he died, Deut. 34.7. the last forty years of which term he had spent in leading the Israelites in the Wilder­ness, Deut. 29.5. so that there remaineth but the eightieth year of his Life, wherein to inflict those ten Plagues upon Egypt.

Vers. 8. And the fourth Angel poured out his Vial upon the Sun; and Power was given unto him to scorch Men with Fire.

9. And Men were scorched with great Heat, and blasphemed the Name of God, which hath Power over these Plagues: and they re­pented not to give him glory.

The sin of them that worship the Beast, and receive his Mark, as it is greater than that of evil Men in former times, so is it also of a new kince, and unheard of in the World before. And therefore God provideth here for it a new Plague, the like whereof is not to be found in all the Scripture. For the fourth Vial being poured out upon the Sun, causeth it to scorch Men with fire, and that in a very grievous manner. But it any one here object, that should the Sun (the common Luminary of the World, but destitute of life and understanding) have such a Po­wer given to it, the Saints also would not be untouched. I answer, that the words of the Text imply the contrary; saying, that such as were scorched by the Sun, blasphemed the Name of God, and repented not to give him glory; whereby it appeareth that none but impenitent sinners do feel this Plague, the Sun, by the marvellous direction of God sending down fire upon them, but casting out a chearing light upon the righteous. Thus we read Exod. 14.20. that the cloudy Pillar did at the same time cause darkness to the Egyptians, and light to the Israelites. We read also Dan. 3.22, 27. that the fiery Furnace which killed the Caldeans, that did but approach thereunto, did not so much as singe an Hair of the three pious Jews, that were thrown into the midst thereof. And let this considera­tion [Page 48]be taken along with us in reading the story of all these Plagues, that they are so ordered, as that no hurt re­doundeth to the righteous from them, God making a way for their escape. As we see it did happen to the Israelites, who though dwelling in Egypt, were yet untouched with any of the ten Plagues thereof. For albeit their immu­nity be not mentioned till the fourth Plague, which was that of Flyes, concerning which God saith, I will sever in that day the Land of Goshen, in which my People dwell, that no Swarms of Flies shall be there, to the end thou maist know that I am the Lord in the midst of the Earth, Exod. 8.22. yet reason sheweth that the same is to be understood in all the foregoing Plagues, for as much as they were sent of purpose to punish the Egyptians for their cruelty towards Gods people. In like manner though it be not here ex­presly said, that the Sun did not scorch the Saints, but onely the wicked, yet must it in reason be supposed to have so fallen out, and the aforesaid intimation out of the Text sheweth as much.

Vers. 10. And the fifth Angel poured out his Vial upon the Seat of the Beast; and his king­dom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their Tongues for pain:

11. And blasphemed the God of Heaven, be­cause of their pains and their sores, and re­pented not of their deeds.

As some other of the Plagues, that God inflicted upon the Beast and his Worshippers, are the same with those that he formerly inflicted upon Pharaoh and his People, so also is this. For the fifth Angel pouring out his Vial up­on the Throne of the Beast, (which is without question as [Page 49]suitable a means to procure darkness, as the stretching out of Moses hand towards Heaven) his Kingdom, that ex­tendeth it self over the face of the whole Earth, is there­upon darkned. The extremity of which Plague is such, that it causeth Men to gnaw their Tongues for pain. For consider how grievous a thing it is, to be bound for seve­ral days together in chains of thick and palpable dark­ness, (for it would be unreasonable to think that this dark­ness of the Beasts Kingdom should be inferiour either in duration or grosness to that of Egypt) so as neither to see one another, nor to arise out of their places. Howbeit we are not to imagine that the Saints of this time (as well as the Israelites heretofore) during this dismal Fog, that bespreads the face of all the Earth, have not light in their dwellings, seeing this Plague, together with the rest, is or­dained of God for the punishment of their Adversaries, and so ought not to involve both alike. And this is suffi­ciently hinted (according to the observation on the pour­ing out of the fourth Vial) by the blasphemies that these, Prisoners of darkness are said to vent against God, the Authour of this and the other Plagues; whereas to bla­spheme God is so enormous a crime, that it is impossible it should be incident to the Saints. Wherefore I may tru­ly bespeak the People of God, that shall be in the Reign of the Beast, with the words of Isaiah, Chap.60.2. of his Prophecy, Behold, the Darkness shall cover the Earth, and gross Darkness the People; but the Lord shall arise upon thee; and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Vers. 12. And the sixth Angel poured out his Vi­al upon the great River Euphrates; and the Water thereof was dried up, that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared.

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Vers. 13. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Vers. 14. For they are the spirits of devils, work­ing miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to ga­ther them to the battel of that great day of God Almighty.

Vers. 15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.

Vers. 16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Ar-ma­geddon.

By Euphrates must needs here be meant that River, which runneth by Babylon properly so called, and emptieth it self into the Persian Gulph. For this River rising in Armenia, and traversing all Mesopotamia and Caldea, lyeth as a bar in their way, that come out of the eastern Countreyes of Persia, Tartaria, India and China, towards the land of Israel, whither the kings here spoken of are to march with their Armies. Neither is it a new thing that a river should be dryed up to give way to Princes and their hosts: For we read in the scripture that Jordane was turned back, to the end Joshua and the Israelites might in a terrible manner go over without [Page 51]interruption into the land aforesaid. Jos. 3.17. But as the River Euphrates is miraculously dryed up by the Angel for the speedier passage of the eastern Kings, so cometh not it to pass without a miracle that they are drawn to undertake so desperate a design, as to fight against Christ and his Saints, for three unclean spirits do, by working miracles, incite not onely the foresaid Eastern Kings, but also all the Kings of the world to the per­formance of this exploit. And for as much as these are seen to proceed out of the mouth of the Dragon, and of the Beast, and of the false prophet, this argueth that not onely the Dragon, but also the Beast, (to whom the Dragon is said to give his throne, Chap. 13.2.) together with the False Prophet, (who is said to exercise all the power of the Beast before him; Chap. 13.11, 12.) have dominion over the evil spirits, to send them to and fro in the earth. This so great an expedition of all the Kings in the world combining to cut off the people of God at a blow, is in it self very apt to strike a terrour into the Saints (were no river dried up to give way to any of the Kings aforesaid) and so to make them flinch from their faith and Piety, wherefore the admonition, here given by Christ, is very seasonable, who comparing his coming to that of a thief, because of the suddenness thereof (for when his Enemies shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall seize upon them) pronounceth them happy, who in so perillous a time hold fast the garments of their righteousness, whereby the nakedness of their sins committed in the time of Ignorance, is kept from appearing to their shame. As for the place, which these Kings aforesaid make their Randezvouz, it is here called Armageddon that is, the mount of Megiddo. For Har in Heb [...]ew signifieth a mount, and Mageddon is the same with Megiddo a City belonging to Manasseh, Jos. 17.11. which is there written by the Greek interpreters Mageddo, and [Page 52]hath here the letter N added thereunto by John. Thus the City which Luke Chap. 9.10. calleth Bethsaida, is by Matthew with the addition of an N termed in Greek Beth­saidan, Chap. 11.21. But as the letter N is added to the end of the Hebrew word aforesaid, so is the letter or rather aspiration of h taken away from the beginning thereof, whilest it is written Armageddon, as it fareth with the Hebrew word Hallelujah, Psal. 146.1. which in Greek is written both there and also in the Revelation, Chap. 19.1. Allelujah, without the letter or aspiration H. Now the mount of Megiddo seemeth to be chosen of God, rather then another place, towards which all the Kings of the earth must draw their Armies against that of the Saints, because this City had been of old renowned for the won­derful defeat that Barak with ten thousand men at his feet gave to the potent host of Jabin King of Canaan, who was a mighty oppresser of the Israelites. Judg. 4.2, 6. compared with chap. 5.19, 20. where in Deborahs song of victory, it is said, the Kings came and fought, then fought the Kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. For the memory of the miraculous discomfiture that hapned to Sisera, the Captain General of Jabins Army, and to the Kings of Canaan that sided with him against Gods people, is of great influence upon the hearts of the Saints to make them expect the like overthrow to be given to the Beast, and the Kings his followers in the same place.

Vers. 17. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

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Vers. 18. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earth­quake, such as was not since men were up­on the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.

Vers. 19. And die great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance be­fore God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

Vers. 20. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Vers. 21. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God be­cause of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

God had already plagued the Beast, and his worship­pers in the other three Elements, of Earth, Water, and Fire, as appeareth by the history of the first, third, and fourth vials: Wherefore that all nature may be armed a­gainst so out-ragious offenders, this last vial is poured out into the Air. Which is no sooner done, but a loud voice is heard out of the temple in Heaven, from the Throne, saying, It is done. This voyce is rightly ascribed to God himself that sitteth upon the throne, rather then to any other person about or under the Throne (as we see it [Page 54]come to pass, Chap, 19.5.) because we find him speak­ing after the same maner, Chap. 21.5, 6. He that sat upon the throne, said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write, for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. As therefore in that place it signi­fieth that there is a period set to the duration of the world, so doth it here intimate that no more vials of wrath are to be poured out, forasmuch as the wrath of God is accomplished by this last. The voyces, thunders, and lightnings that follow hereupon, are all fore-runners of the great and sore Judgements, that God is about to bring upon the inhabitants of the earth. For thus we see the plagues, pertaining to the seven trumpets, usher­ed in, Chap. 8.5, 6. Among those Judgements, an Earthquake is one, affirmed here to be the greatest that ever hapned since God created man upon the earth; the truth whereof will appear to us, if we consider the several effects of this Earthquake. For first, it sundreth Jerusa­lem into three parts, to wit, by the sinking of the inter­mediate buildings into the ground, (for no other division is wont to be the effects of an Earthquake.) And of this Cities shaking about this time we have a more ample re­lation, Chap, 11.13. For that Jerusalem is here meant by the great City, is evident in that it is distinguished from great Babylon, and the other Cities of the nations or Gentiles. Wherefore there remaineth no other City to be understood, but that of the Jews, Jerusalem, which hath this very appellation of a great City given to it. Chap. 11.8. Another effect of this unusual Earthquake is the fal­ling of the Cities of the Heathen, many of which seem to be overturned thereby, as it is wont to happen in such shakings. A third effect (or at least a consequent) there­of is the coming of great Babylon into remembrance be­fore God, to give unto her the cup of his fierce wrath. Not that God had before forgotten her, but because he [Page 55]did not then so remember her, as to execute his fierce wrath upon her, that business being reserved for this time. The maner of which execution you may read at large in the 18. Chapter. The fourth effect is the removal of eve­ry Island, and the sinking of the mountains, which after­wards ceased to appear. These two things shall either come to pass, as they are here related, (for so the others that go before are undoubtedly to be fulfilled) or else they onely denote the great alteration that shall happen over all the world, by the erecting of the fifth Kingdom upon the defeat of the Beast, and all the Kings of the earth that side with him. For in this sense is the like re­moval understood, Chap. 6.14. After this earthquake, and the dire effects thereof cometh another Judgement very terrible, namely, that of Hail, which is wont to be bred in the Air, (the place into which this seventh vial is poured) and thereof God himself saith to Job, Hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battel and war? Job. 38.22, 23. Accordingly we read, not onely that this was one of the ten plagues of Egypt, Exod. 9.23, 24, 25. but also that God did cast down great Hailstones from Heaven upon the Amorites at the battel of Gibeon, so that more died with the Hail-stones then they whom the Chil­dren of Israel slew with the sword. Josh. 10.5, 11. Never­theless it is likely that neither the Hail-stones of Egypt, nor those of Canaan were equal in bigness to them that fall down from Heaven upon the worshippers of the Beast. For they are said to be about a talent apiece. Now though we cannot certainly tell how much a talent weigh­ed, yet are we sure that the weight thereof was very great, inasmuch as the branched Candlestick of the taber­nacle and all the vessels thereof are by the appointment of God to be made of one talent of Gold. Exod. 25.31, 39. But this plague worketh no better effect upon men, then [Page 56]the former ones did. For they are so enraged with the greatness thereof, that they cannot forbear to vent Bla­sphemies against God himself. Which sheweth that the end of these Plagues is not to reform those, on whom they are sent, (for undoubtedly such as are come to that height of impiety as to worship the Beast, yea, the Dra­gon himself, are altogether incurable) but onely to punish and torment them for their wickedness, and so to set off the Riches of Gods grace towards the Righteous, whom he hath appointed to Salvation.

Chap. 17. Vers. 1, 2.

And there came one of the seven Angels which had the seven Vials, and talked with me, say­ing unto me, Come hither, I will shew unto thee the Judgement of the great Whore, that sitteth upon many Waters:

2. With whom the Kings of the Earth have committed Fornication, and the Inhabiters of the Earth have been made drunk with the Wine of her Fornication.

The Exposition.

FOr as much as upon the pouring out of the seventh Vial Great Babylon is said to come in remembrance before God, that he might give her the Cup of the Wine of his fierce Wrath: and this was a thing of great importance to be clearly known, (for we finde by experience, how much hurt the inadvertency of the time and persons, ap­pointed [Page 57]of God for the inflicting of this punishment, hath done to Christians) one of the seven Angels aforesaid cometh to John, profering to shew him the Judgement of that great City, which (according to the usage of the Scripture elsewhere, as Isai 1.21. & 23.15, 16, 17. Ezek. 16.2, 3, 35) he calleth an Harlot, with whom the Kings of the Earth have had to do, and been intoxicated with the Wine of her Fornication. The meaning of which Allegory I will unfold, when I come to the fourth Verse.

Vers. 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the Wilderness: and I saw a Woman sit up­on a Scarlet coloured Beast, full of Names of Blasphemy, having seven Heads and ten Horns.

When the Angel is here said to carry John away in the Spirit into the Wilderness; this argueth that his Body con­tinued where he was before, and that he was onely in the Spirit of his minde hurried away. Thus Paul, writing to the Colossians, Chap. 2.5. saith, Though I he absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of four Faith in Christ. Not that in the substance of his Spirit he was not as well ab­sent from them, as in his body (otherwise how could he indite that Epistle?) but because that in the cogitation of his Spirit he was present with them, and beheld their Christian behaviour, God revealing the same unto him, as it here hapned to John, to see this wonderful Vision in the Wilderness, where (as it seemeth) the Judgement of Rome, was represented unto him, rather than in the place of his personal abode, because that City is described both in this and also in the following Chapter, as ready to be­come a Wilderness and Habitation of Devils, and an Hold of [Page 58]every unclean Spirit, and a Cage of every unclean and hate­ful Bird. All which Creatures are noted in the Scripture to haunt desolate places. See Isai 13.20, 21, 22. & 34.13, 14. Jer. 50.39. Matth. 12.43. It is further very suit­able to represent this City by the name and feature of a Woman, because in the Prophets of old (whose Lan­guage and Descriptions the Revelation every where fol­loweth) nothing is more usual. Thus Samaria and Jeru­salem are brought in as two Women, Ezek. 23.1, 2, 3, 4, Who the Scarlet Beast is on whom the Woman sitteth, (and which is depainted with that colour, either for the abundance of Blood which he was to shed , or for his kingly Dignity, or for both) is afterwards declared by the Angel, together with the meaning of his seven Heads and ten Horns. But for the names of Blasphemy, whereof he is full, it is neither here nor elsewhere so much as inti­mated what they be, wherefore it would be no less than impudency in us to undertake a description of them.

Vers. 4. And the Woman was arayed in Purple, and Scarlet colour, and decked with Gold and precious Stone, and Pearls, having a golden Cup in her Hand, full of Abomina­tions and filthiness of her Fornication.

No marvel if this Woman, which sitteth on the Scar­let Beast, be so richly and royally attired, for Rome (decy­phered by her) being the Seat of the Empire, and recei­ving both the Spoils and Tributes of all the Nations in the World, must needs be infinitely rich; which was in­deed the cause of her corruption in point of manners, making her now reach out the golden Cup of her Abo­minations and whorish filthiness, as she had done that of her whorish wrath before, Chap. 14.8. For whereas she [Page 59]had in the times of her strict Discipline by her valour and marvellous cunning brought all Nations under her yoke, being now on the contrary grown extremely loose and vicious, all manner of debauchery and lewdness did distill from her as from the Head, into the Body of the whole Universe, so that she is in the following Verse styled, The Mother of the Abominations of the Earth.

Vers. 5. And upon her Forehead was a Name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth.

As the Servants of God had his Name written on their Foreheads, and the Inhabitants of the Earth that of the Beast, so also hath the stately Woman, that John saw in the Wilderness, a Name inscribed on her Forehead: which, lest any one should think it to be that very Name, whereby she was commonly known amongst Men, hath the word Mystery set before it, intimating that the follow­ing Name agreed to this Woman, not in a proper but in a mystical sense. The reason and elegancy of which bor­rowed Appellation given to Rome, (for she according to the Angels Interpretation, Verse 18. is meant by this Woman) I have already discovered in the Exposition of the 14. Chapter, to which I send back the Reader for fur­ther satisfaction in this point. Now Rome is here deser­ved'y called the Mother of Harlots, and the Abominations of the Earth. For it is evident from the testimony of Wri­ters, that no City did ever, so abound with Whoredom, and also other abominable practices, as Rome both in those times and ever since.

Vers. 6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints; and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondred with great admiration.

Ver. 7. And the angel said unto me, Where­fore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

Though the filthiness of this woman was very great, and her actions abominable above those of all other wo­men, yet would not God have poured out his wrath up­on her in so signal a maner as is related in the two fol­lowing chapters, had she not above all her other evils, defiled her hands with the blood of Saints and Martyrs; For this is one of those sins that make the lowdest cry in the ears of God, as the History of righteous Abel testifieth, Gen. 4.10, 11. But this woman had already swallowed, and was before her ruine to swallow so much of this precious blood, that John here already perceiveth her to be drunk therewith, which drunkenness of hers might easily appear to him, as he looked upon her; but that it was caused by quaffing the blood of Saints and Martyrs, the knowledge hereof must needs proceed from Revelation: whether of the Angel, (as it is most likely) or of some other heavenly person. And here by the way let the difference between the Saints and the Martyrs or witnesses of Jesus be well observed. For the Saints are meerly pious men, but the Martyrs or Witnesses of Jesus are such, as, besides their piety, have also the Spirit of Prophecy, and so become capeable of bearing [Page 61]testimony to Jesus. For if, (as this very Angel asserteth, chap. 19.10.) the Testimony or Witnessing of Jesus be the Spirit of Prophecy, then a Martyr or Witness of Jesus must be such a one as is indued therewith. Howbeit though John had received that Spirit, yea understood the cause of the womans drunkenness, yet (as prophesying but in part) he could not for all this tell who the woman her self should be; And therefore (as admiration is wont to proceed from Ignorance) he doth exceedingly wonder at her. In which wondring condition he was likely to have continued, had not the Angel disclosed to him the Mystery of the woman, as he doth also that of the Beast with seven heads and ten horns that carried her, which description plainly sheweth that this Beast is the same that formerly was seen to arise out of that Sea, Chap. 13.1. And therefore he is, as formerly, simply called the Beast, whensoever he is afterwards mentioned. As for his carrying of the woman, the rea­son hereof (as will further appear from what shall pre­sently be spoken) is because the Government of the City, which the woman represents, did sometimes rest upon him, and so he was the support thereof.

Vers. 8. The beast that thou sawest, was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottom­less pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world) when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The Angel beginning to discover somewhat obliquely [Page 62]unto John the Mystery of the Beast, (whom we shall af­terwards finde to be Domitian) saith of him, that he was and is not. Wherby is meant, that he was sometimes in power, but now at the time of this Vision was not so. For that it must not be understood of his being alive, is evident from the close of the Verse, where it is said of him, that he was, and is not, and yet is. The meaning of which words then would be, that he was alive, and is not alive, and yet is alive. Which every one seeth to be a flat contradiction. But ac­cording to the other Interpretation (which is indeed that of the Angel himself, as may be seen in the 11. Verse) the words carry in themselves no contradiction, but a marvel­lous & divine elegancy, amounting to this sense, that though the Beast had formerly been in power, and now was not so, yet was he still in being. But that which exceedeth all imagi­nation of men, and would surpass their belief also, were it not so plainly delivered both here and Chap. 11 7. is, that the Beast shall ascend out of the bottomless Pit. Which being spoken of one that was then alive, doth imply that he should dy, and afterward arise from the Dead, to act those stupendious things, that are foretold of him in this Book of the Revelation. For that the bottomlest Pit is the Man­sion of the Dead, and so to ascend from thence is to arise from the Dead, is evident from that Passage of the Apo­stle Paul, Rom 10.7. where he saith, Who shall descend into the deep? (Greek Abyss, or bottomless Pit, the same word that is used in the Revelation concerning the Beast) that is to bring up Christ from the Dead. For what relation would the Descent into the deep or bottomless Pit have to the bringing up of Christ from the Dead, if the Dead had not there their abode? In the next place mention is made of the Beasts going into perdition, which, being here set down as a thing that is to follow his Ascent out of the bottomless Pit, shall then be fulfilled, when he is thrown alive into the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, [Page 63]above a thousand years before the Judgement of the great day, as may be seen in the 19. and 20. Chap. Which yet new and unusual punishment is to be imputed to the strangeness of his offences, afore related in the 13. Chapter, which he (as shall by and by be proved) will per­petrate after he is risen from the Dead. Last of all, the Angel speaketh of the Admiration, wherein all the Inha­bitants of the Earth will have the Beast, that was, and is not, and yet is, namely, when they shall see him after his Resurrection invested with so vast an Empire, and cured of his deadly Wound, as is expressed in the 13. Chapter. For that the things, related of the Beast in that Chapter, are to be performed by him, when he is risen from the Dead, is evident, in that the very chief of them came not to pass in the time of his former life, as will appear to any one that peruseth what hath been written of him by an­cient Authours. For where is it said of him in story, that he received a deadly Wound and recovered? (Yea, we finde on the contrary, that when he had been wounded by one Stephanus, he was so far from being cured thereof, that he was by others coming in presently after killed outright. See Suetonius in the History of Domitian, cap. 17.) Where, that his Image was erected, and made to speak, that they might be put to death that refused to worship it? Where, that he did set a Mark upon either the fore-head or the right hand of Men, without which none might buy or sell? These and sundry other remarkable things, recorded of the Beast in the Book of the Revelation were never yet acted by him, nor indeed by any other person whatsoever (that we read of) since this Prophecy was written; wherefore, if the Beast, that was long since slain, must do them (as this Prophecy plainly testifieth) it will unavoidably follow that he must be raised from, the Dead to that purpose. But though the Inhabitants of the Earth in general shall admire the Beast, yet some will refuse to do so, namely, [Page 64] They whose names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. By which passage it is clear that there is a certain number of men ordained by name to eternal life from the foundation of the world. And this Ordination is alledged by the Angel as the true cause why they above others consent not to the epidemical impiety, that is committed in admiring the Beast. Nei­ther did I ever meet with any man, who denying such a particular and peremtory Ordination could give a clear and satisfactory answer to this passage, which in my judgement (now that I have made a more diligent search thereinto) seemeth sufficient to decide the so much agitated controversie about Predestination, espe­cially if you add that other invincible argument, taken from the Ordination of Christ himself. For if Christ were unchangeably Ordained to glory not only from but also before the foundation of the world, (as the Scrip­ture attesteth, and all Christians grant) why should not we by like reason affirm the same of his people, it being altogether absurd, to imagine that the head should be designed, and not also the body pertaining thereunto, inasmuch as they have a mutual relation the one to the other? For whereas some indeavour to decline the dint of the foresaid passage in the Revelation, by referring those words from the foundation of the world to the book it self, and not to the writing of the names therein: this can by no means consist, for then to exclude all ambigui­ty an Article would have been prefixed to them in the Greek, and accordingly the words have run thus, [...]. Again, I would demand of any man well skilled in that language, how the Angel could speak otherwise then he doth, were it his intention (as I affirm) to shew that certain mens names were from the foundation of the world written in the book of life. But if he meant to signifie that the [Page 65]Book onely was from the Foundation of the World, that (as I before shewed) might easily have been done, by set­ting an Article, agreeing in Greek with the word Book, be­fore these words, From the Foundation of the World.

Vers. 9. And here is the minde which hath wis­dom. The seven Heads are seven Mountains, on which the Woman sitteth.

10. And they are seven Kings: five are fallen and one is, and the other is not vet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

11. And the Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Here the Angel cometh directly to the matter, making way to the discovery that he had promised to John, with a so emn Preface, whereby he intimateth that the Inter­pretation, which he was about to deliver, was so ordered, that none but a wise and intelligent man could apprehend it. Then beginning to declare the Mystery of the Beast with seven Heads and ten Horns, whereon the Woman sitteth, he saith, that the seven Heads are both seven Moun­tains, whereon the Woman sitteth, (which Description the wise and learned know denoteth Rome, that was built up­on seven Mountains,) and also seven Kings, (so the Roman Emperours are elsewhere styled in the Scripture, for the Jews, John 19.15. say, We have no King but Caesar. And that he here meaneth Roman Kings or Emperours, is evident, in that they are coupled with the seven Moun­tains of Rome, and represented as they before had been, by the seven Heads of the Beast) of which Kings five [Page 66](namely, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius) are fallen (that is, are taken away by a violent death. Thus David, 2 Sam. 4, 38. saith to the Israelites, con­cerning Abner, whom Joab had slain, Know you not that there is a Prince, and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And God saith to the murmuring Israelites, against whom his hand was lifted up to destroy them from a­mong the Host, until they were consumed, As for you, your carcases shall fall in this wilderness, Numbers 14.32.) but one is, (namely Vespasian) the other is not yet come, and when he cometh, he must continue but a little while, (That is, Titus the elder son of Vespasian, who Reigning after his Father, continued but two years two moneths and twenty days, as Suetonius in his life witnesseth) And the Beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. This is meant of Domi­tian the younger son of Vespasian, who was the eighth King or Emperour from Claudius, if you consider him as reigning after the death of his Father and his elder bro­ther: But if you look upon him as Reigning in the ab­sence of his Father, (who was not yet come out of the eastern parts unto Rome to manage the Empire) he was one of the seven Kings from Claudius, namely the sixth. For that Domitian after the death of Vitellius the Empe­rour did in the absence of his Father Reign at Rome as Emperour, is manifest from the words of Tacitus, Hist. lib. 3. Cap. ult. Domitianum, postquam nihil hostile me­tuebatur, ad duces partium progressum, & Caesarem consalu­tatum, miles frequens, utque erat in armis, in paternos pe­nates deduxit; that is, Domitian, when no further hostility was feared, presented himself to the Captains of the party, and being saluted Cesar, (that is, Emperour, for this was the Title of all the Roman Emperours after Julius Cesar) was brought by the Souldiery in their arms to his Fathers house. And lib. 4. cap. 1. Nomen sedemque Caesaris Domitianus [Page 67]acceperat, that is, Domitian had assumed to himself both the Title and the seat of Cesar. ib. cap. 4. Ipsi consulatus cum Tito filio, proetura Domitiano & consulare imperium that is, to him (namely Vespasian) with Titus his son the consulship was voted, to Domitian the pretorship and con­sular authority. ib. cap. 16. Mox, ejurante Frontino, Caesar Domitianus praeturam cepit. Ejus nomen epistolis edictisque proponebatur. Vis penes Mucianum, nisi quod pleraque Domi­tianus, instigantibus amicis, aut propria lubidine agebat, that is, Not long after upon the resignation of Frontinus, Caesar Domitian took the pretorship, his name was prefixt to all Letters and Edicts. The power and sway of affairs was in Mucianus, save that Domitian either at the instigation of his friends, or upon his own pleasure transacted very many things. ib. cap. 20. Vespasianus in Italiam resque urbis intentus, adversam de Domitiano famam accipit, tanquam terminos aetatis, & concessa filio egrederetur, that is, Vespa­sian being intent upon Italy and the affairs of the City heareth an ill report of Domitian, as if he had passed the bounds of his age, and carried himself with more state then became an Emperours son, Suetonius also saith of him in the descrip­tion of his life, Cap. 1. Post victoriam demum pro­gressus, & Caesar consalutatus, honorem praeturae urbanae, cum consulari potestate suscepit titulo tenus: quam jusdicti­onem ad collegam proximum transtulit. Caeterum omnem vim dominationis tam licenter exercuit, ut jam tum, qualis futurus esset, oslenderet. Nec exequar singula, contrectatis multorum uxoribus, Domitiam Longinam Aelio Lamiae nuptam, etiam in matrimonium abduxit, atque uno die super viginti urbana officia, atque peregrina distribuit: mirari se Vespasiano dictitante, quod successorem non & sibi mitteret; that is, Domitian after the victory going out, and being saluted by the name of Cesar, assumed the honour of the City Pretorship with consular authority as to the Title, trans­ferring all the jurisdiction to the next Colleague, howbeit he [Page 63]did so licenciously exercise all the power of Sovereignty, as that he even then shewed what manner of Prince he would afterwards prove. For to omit the rest of his actions, having abused the wives of many Citizens, he took away Domitia Longina, that was maried to Aelius Lamia, and made her his own wife, and distributed in one day above twenty offices belonging either to the City or to foreign parts, Vespasian in the mean time ever and anon crying out, that he wondred that his son did not also send him a successor. ib. chap. 13. Principatum vero adeptus, neque in senatu jactare dubitavit, & patri se & fratri imperium dedisse, illos sibi reddidisse. Pari arrogantiacum procuratorum suorum nomine formalem dictaret epistolam, sic coepit, Dominus & deus noster sic fieri jubet. Unde institutum post hac, ut ne scripto quidem ac sermone cujusquam appellaretur aliter; that is, Do­mitian having obtained the Empire, doubted not to boast in the very Senate, that he had given the Empire both to his Father and to his Brother, whereas they had only restored it unto him: with like arrogancy as he endited a formal Letter in the name of his procurators, he began thus, Our Lord and God commandeth it so to be done, whence it was after­wards injoyned, that none should either in writing or in speech give him any other Titles. This shifting of the Kingly power in Domitian seemeth to be a proof or essay of what shall hereafter happen to him in the same kind. For as he was sometimes recalled from a private condition to the Empire, so shall he in future ages arise from the dead to be a King, as I have before evinced.

By what the Angel hath here spoken to declare the Mystery of the Beast, it is manifest that by the Beast is meant a Man, who was alive when this Vision happened to John: For the Angel saith expresly Verse 8. that he is. It is also manifest that the Beast had already been a King at Rome, and should after the decease of his two immedi­ate Predecessours reign there again. But who was there [Page 69]in the time of this Vision, to whom such a thing doth agree, save Domitian, about the end of whose Empire Irenaeus saith lib. 5. cap. 3. that this Book of the Revela­tion was seen? Neque enim ante multum temporis (so are his words) visum est, sed paenè sub nostro saeculo ad finem Domi­tiani imperii. Which may be so far true, as that perhaps it was not published and commonly known before that time. Nevertheless it appeareth from those words of the Angel, Five are fallen and one is, that it was written in the Reign of Vespasian. These things being so, I rightly reckon the Kings from Claudius, for if you begin either before or after him, the words of the Angel will not suit with the truth of the History, as it is delivered by sundry grave Writers that lived in or about those times. And it is likely that the Angel so ordered the Vision, that the computation should begin from Claudius inclusively, be­cause he was the first Roman Emperour, that imployed his Authority to molest the Christians. For Suetonius in the History of his Life, cap. 25. telleth us, that he expelled the Jews out of Rome, as making continual Tumults by the im­pulsion of Christ, (whom he (as it seemeth) doth out of an heathenish malignity call in Latin Chrestus, and not Chri­stus, as doth also the Authour of that profane Dialogue, called Philopatris, which is found among the Works of Lucian, see Page 1003. of the Salmurian Edition.) How­ever certain it is out of the sacred story, that Claudius ex­pelled the Jews out of Rome, by which means Aquila and Priscilla his Wife, both believing Jews, being forced to quit Rome, betook themselves to Corinth, Acts 18.2. It is further manifest, from what hath been before discoursed, that the Beast Domitian is aptly represented with seven Heads, because of his relation both to the seven Moun­tains, and also to the seven Kings, that were signified by them. For he had not onely sometimes reigned in Rome the seven-hilled City, but was also born there, for so saith [Page 70] Suetonius in the beginning of his Life, Domitianus natus est regione urbis sexta, ad Malum Punicum; that is, Domitian was born in the sixth Ward of the City, at the Sign of the Pomegranate, He was also Son to one of the seven Kings, and Brother to another, as hath before been shewed.

Vers. 12. And the ten Horns which thou sawest, are ten Kings, which have received no King­dom as yet; but receive Power as Kings one hour with the Beast.

13. These have one minde, and shall give their Power and Strength unto the Beast.

14. These shall make War with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him, are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Hitherto the Angel hath spoken concerning the Beast and his seven Heads, now he cometh to the ten Horns, that are upon him, which be expresly telleth us, (as you see here) that they are ten Kings, who did not yet reign, but should receive Authority together with the Beast. Neverthe­less out of what particular parts of the World these Kings shall arise, he doth not shew, or intimate. So that we must of necessity be ignorant of that circumstance, ei­ther till the thing it self be accomplished, or at least till God be pleased to make a Revelation thereof. Onely it appeareth out of Daniel, Chap. 7.24, 25. that they shall start up out of the fourth universal Kingdom, that is, the Roman. For that this Prophecy of the Beast and his ten Horns, is the same with that of Daniel in the Chapter [Page 71]aforesaid, will easily appear, if you diligently compare both the passages together. By so doing you will finde, that the Beast in the Revelation is in Daniel called the lit­tle Horn, in as much as the Actions, the Confederates, and the time of their Tyranny are exactly the same in both. Howbeit the time is but short, that these ten Kings shall reign together with the Beast, for the Angel saith, it shall be one hour: which Expression of one hour, though it be not strictly and properly taken for the twelfth part of a Day, (it being impossible for the ten Kings to perform all that is here foretold of them, in the space of such an hour) yet doth it confessedly signifie a short period of time, as other like passages of the Scripture will inform us. Thus Paul, 1 Thess. 2.17. saith, We, Brethren, being taken from you for a short time time, (Greek for the time of an hour) in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. And Philemon 15. Perhaps he therefore departed for a season, (Greek, an hour) that thou mightest receive him for ever, Now for as much as I have before evinced that the Beast doth personate Domitian the Roman Emperour, and no such thing as the starting up of ten new Kings, and their Confederacy with him, is said in History to have yet happened to him, I judge I may firm­ly and undoubtedly conclude, that this must hereafter be fulfilled, when he shall arise from the Dead to rule again. The next thing that the Angel mentioneth, is the agree­ment of the ten Kings, not whereby they stand well affect­ed towards one another, but whereby they all give their Power and Authority to the Beast, who setteth himself against Gods people. For as to any good correspondence between them in relation to their particular estates, they are so far from it, that they can no more cleave together, than Iron be mixed with Clay. Yea, though an union be endeavoured by Alliance, yet can it not be effected, as we are taught by the famous Vision of Nebuchadnezzar, [Page 72] Dan. 2.43.44. For that these Kings mentioned in this second Chapter are the same with those of the seventh is apparent, as from other circumstances, so from the Uni­versal Kingdom, out of which they rise, and also from their very number, in that they are designed by ten horns in the one Chapter, and by ten toes in the other. Lastly he saith of these Kings that they shall make war with the Lamb: Not that they use hostility against the very per­son of Christ, (for he being glorified with his Father in the heavens, is altogether uncapable of having violence offered to him) but because they are armed against the Saints, of whom Christ is the head, and Captain. Thus Abijah the King or Judah exhorteh Jeroboam and the house of Israel from fighting against God, when they were about to assail his people, 2 Chron. 13.12. Behold, (saith he) God himself is with us for our Captain, and his Priests with sounding Trumpets to cry alarm against you: O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your Fathers, for ye shall not prosper. Moreover that the Saints also put themselves in aray against those Kings, appeareth, not only from what is plainly affirmed hereof, Chap. 19.19. (where it is said, I saw the Beast and the Kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war with him that sat on the horse, and against his army) but may sufficiently be deduced from that very expression of making war (which is here simply and without limitation used by the Angel) as I have before proved in mine exposition, on Chaep. 13.7. But in vain is hostility used by those Kings against Christ, for he being (as the angel further saith) a King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, can easily subdue them, as we see it come to pass in the foresaid nineteenth Chapter. Again, they that are with him (that is, on his side as this form of speech doth elsewhere sometimes signifie, see Luke 11.23. He that is not with me is against me) are called (to [Page 73]the Communion of the son of God, 1 Cor. 1.9.) and chosen (to salvation, 2 Thes. 2.13.) and faithful (in Christ Jesus, Ephes. 1.1.) and therefore such as the fidelity and good­ness of Christ will not suffer so cruelly to be cut off at a blow by these Kings, who gather their forces to Ar­mageddon to that purpose. But these words, aswell as that of warring, before used, imply that the Saints do muster and imbody themselves in an army, namely that they may (when their Captain Christ Jesus hath de­feated the Beast and all the Kings of the earth with the sword of his mouth) erect the fifth Kingdom according to that of Daniel, Chap. 7.21, 22. I beheld and the same horn, (that is, the little horn, whom I before proved to be the same with the Beast in the Revelation) made war with the Saints and prevailed against them; until the anti­ent of days came, and Judgement was given to the Saints of the most high: and the time came that the Saints possessed the Kingdom.

Vers. 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.

The waters where the harlot sitteth, are not only with truth, but also with great fitness and elegancy said by the Angel to be Peoples and Nations, both because of the violent rushing of men, when they are once stirred, and likewise of the noise which they make, resembling that of waters when they dash against the rocks, Thus. Isa. Chap 17.12. saith, Wo to the multitude of peoples, which make a noise like the noise of the Sea, and to the rushing of Na­tions, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters. And Jeremiah saith of old Babylon, the Type of Rome, [Page 74](as it seemeth by the Revelation) Chap. 51.55. The Lord hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice: when her waves do roar like great Waters, a noise of their voice is uttered. Whence it is that the stilling of the Tu­mult of the People, is well ranked by the Psalmist with the quieting of the noise of the Seas, Psalm 65 7. Now Rome is said to sit upon these Waters, because, being the Seat of the fourth universal Empire, it was the City to which all Nations were subject, and whither they were wont continually to resort.

Vers. 16. And the ten Horns which thou sawest upon the Beast, these shall hate the Whore, and shall make her desolate, and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with Fire.

17. For God hath put in their Hearts, to fulfill his Will, and to agree, and give their King­dom unto the Beast, until the Words of God shall be fulfilled.

Here the Angel declareth, what the ten Kings afore­said should do to Rome, namely, that they should sack and burn it with fire. But for as much as that City is here described (according to the manner of the Scripture) as an Harlot, it is therefore suitably said, that they shall make her naked, and eat her flesh; both which are done by pil­laging the place, and slaying the Inhabitants thereof. Thus God saith of Jerusalem, under the name of Aholi­bah the Harlot, Ezek. 23.29. They shall deal with thee hate­fully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare. And David saith of his enemies, that they came upon him to eat up his flesh, namely, with the mouth of the Sword, Psal. 27.2. But the reason why so many Kings, [Page 75]otherwise at variance amongst themselves, should yet agree herein, and give their Kingdom to the Beast, (which two things here concurring to the destruction of Rome, do by the way clearly intimate, that it is the Beast who setteth the Kings upon this Work) is because God put­teth the same into their hearts, to the end he may accom­plish his words, that he to wit had spoken touching the fall of Rome, Chap. 14.8. wherefore in as much as the Angels words are so perspicuous concerning this matter, they must needs be exceedingly mistaken, who expect that Rome shall be destroyed, either by other persons, than the ten Kings aforesaid, or at another time than after the se­ven Vials of Gods wrath have been poured out upon the Earth, during the space of three years and an half, that the Tyranny of the Beast over the Saints shall continue. But neither is the Beast yet risen, nor the ten Kings his Confederates, nor those prodigious things come to pass that are mentioned in the 13. Chapter, nor so much as one of the Vials poured out, as will easily appear to any man, who being acquainted with the Histories of former Times, and finding no such occurrences there recorded, had rather adhere to the plainness of the Scripture it self, than follow the obscure and uncertain imaginations of men.

Vers. 18. And the Woman which thou sawest, is that great City, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth.

This is the Close of the Interpretation, which the An­gel vouchsafeth unto John, wherein he discovereth who the Woman is, whom John saw in the Wilderness, namely, the great City, that reigned over the Kings of the Earth; which all that are skilled in the History of those [Page 76]Times wherein John wrote this Prophecy, know to be Rome. For she commanding over the whole World, must needs reign over those Kings that governed in any part of the same. A Proof confirming the Truth of this matter may be seen in Tacitus, who in the second Book and twenty third Chapter of his History, saith, Accessere cum regno, Sohemus haud spernendis viribus, Antiochus ve­tustis opibus ingens, & inservientium regum ditissimus. Mox, per occultos suorum nuncios excitus ab urbe Agrippa, ignaro adhuc Vitellio, celeri navigatione properaverat. That is, Sohemus, who was a King of considerable Forces, and Antiochus who was mighty for his ancient wealth, and of all the subject Kings the richest, sided with that party, (name­ly, to make Vespasian Emperour) Agrippa also, upon secret Messages of his Friends, quitted the City unawares to Vitelli­us, and speedily sailed thither. Thus much for the Key here given by the Angel to unlock the Mystery of the Beast, which if our men had rather chosen to use, than vainly attempted to break up this divine Ca­binet with their own forced Interpretations; neither had they so much wrested this excellent Prophecy of John, nor exposed the Religion of Protestants to the contempt and scorn of her Adversaries, who in likelihood measure what Protestants speak in other Points of Religion, by the Standard of their Expositions concerning the Beast. I should now proceed to the Explication of the eigh­teenth Chapter. But that being onely a Relation touch­ing the manner how Rome shall be destroyed, and con­taining in it self little or no difficulty, I judge it better to pass it by, and hasten to the nineteenth Chapter, where­with the History of the Beast endeth.

Chap. 19. Vers. 1.

And after these things I heard a great Voice of much People in Heaven, saying, Alleluja; Salvation, and Glory, and Honour, and Po­wer, unto the Lord our God:

Vers. 2. For true and righteous are his Judge­ments; for he hath judged the great Whore which did corrupt the Earth with her Forni­cation, and hath avenged the Blood of his Servants at her hand.

Vers. 3. And again they said, Alleluja. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

The Exposition.

NO sooner is Rome sackt and burnt by the ten Kings aforesaid, but this Judgement is entertained with a great shout from Heaven, where a vast multitude cry, Alle­luja, ascribing Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord their God. Of what persons this Multitude consisteth, whither of Angels, or of Men, though it be not here expressed, yet may it by a diligent disquisition be found out. For, first of all, they cannot be Angels, be­cause the Greek word [...] to be rendred here in English a Multitude, is never used in the Scripture to design a great company of Angels, but is on the contrary peculiar to Men, as may be seen Chap. 17.15. where Multitudes (in Greek [...]) are ranked with Peoples and Nations. But all will confess that Peoples and Nations consist of Men onely. Secondly, this Multitude doth attribute Salva­tion [Page 78]unto God, which the Angels are not any where found to do. For they being by the perfection of their nature exempted from death or any other tribulation whatsoever, are thereby also incapable of sharing in the salvation of God, and accordingly use no such form of praising him. Whence it followeth that they be men. Not holy men upon the earth, for they are denoted by the four and twenty elders, and the four living creatures, mentioned afterwards in the fourth verse of this Chapter, it remaineth therefore that the multitude aforesaid con­sists of holy men already raised from the dead; and glo­rified in the Kingdom of heaven, when Rome is destroyed (and so differ from them, who after that destruction shall be made partakers of the same anticipated resurrection, as may be seen in the twentieth Chapter of this prophe­cy) and consequently are that great multitude of Saints, afore mentioned in the seventh Chapter, verse 9. For that those Saints are such, as being risen from the dead, triumph in the Kingdom of heaven, is evident from the description there given of them. For it is said that they were come out of the great tribulation, so it is emphati­cally expressed in the Greek, and therefore intimateth that they weee set free from death the chiefest of all tri­bulations) and also were clothed in white Robes, and stood before the throne of God, being put into such a condition, that they should no more hunger; nor thirst, because the Lamb should feed them, and lead them unto living fountains of water. No one of which things agreeth either to men here living on the earth▪ or to the souls of such as are departed this life. Now the reason that inciteth these Saints in heaven with loud and redoubled voices to cry, Allelujah, that is, Praise the Lord, (for so this word, originally Hebrew, doth signifie, see Psal. 146.1.) is the justice of God, who (as it is here said) had both judged that great Harlot, which with the lewdness of her [Page 79]whoredome corrupted the earth, (whereof we have before spoken in our exposition on the seventeenth Chapter) and also had avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. and this vengeance is taken in so strange a maner, that it is not to be parrallelled in all the holy scripture, save in the prediction concerning the judgement of God against Bozrah and the land of Idumea, whereof we read, Isa. 34.6, 7, 8, 9, 10. and which is not yet come to pass: for though many Cities have been burned with the fire of men, yea Sodom and Gomorrah with the fire of God from heaven, yet hath it not been known that any City, after it was once fired, did send up the smoak of her burning for ever and ever, as it is here affirmed of Rome. Which circum­stance alone doth sufficiently prove that the prophecy held forth in this book concerning the destruction of Rome, is not yet fulfilled, forasmuch as she (notwith­standing all the sackings and firings that have since hapned to her) is yet standing, and that in great state and splendor, so far is she from being made a desolation and perpetual burnings.

Vers. 4. And the four and twenty elders, and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluja.

The action of the Saints in heaven, who give honour and glory to God for executing judgement upon Rome, is seconded by the Saints on earth, who prostrating themselves before God, declare their approbation of what the others had done, by saying Amen, Alleluja. For though the Saints here spoken of, are in the vision in­troduced as being in heaven, yet this hinders not but that the true place of their abode is the earth, no more [Page 80]then the ascent of John into heaven in a vision, and his viewing the things therein contained, Chap. 4.1.2. make him in the mean time cease from being a true and real inhabitant of the Isle Patmos: for these four and twenty Elders together with the four living creatures I have already proved in mine exposition of the fifteenth Chapter, to be the Disciples of Christ in the four quar­ters of the world. Howbeit, the four and twenty are both here and else where in the Revelation distinguished from the rest, because (as the very name of Elders given to them doth import) the Pastours of the Church are by them signified. And this number of the Elders seemeth to be modelled from the four and twenty Orders of the Priests under the Law, 1 Chron. 24.7, 8. into whose room the Ministers of the Gospel are come, that the people of God might never want some to watch over them in relation to the good of their souls.

Vers. 5. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

The praising of God is a thing so comely in the Saints, that they are here (though upon a new accompt, as will appear from that which followeth) incited by a voice from the throne to do it again: which voice is not to be ascribed to God himself, (although it proceedeth from his throne) but to some other person that is under or about the same, and hath him that sitteth on the throne for his God, as the voice it self doth intimate, when it saith, Praise our God all ye his servants. If it be further demanded what maner of person the author of the voice should be, whether a glorified Saint or an Angel: I an­swer, that it rather seemeth to be an Angel, because we [Page 81]finde the like exhortation used by an Angel, Chap. 14.6, 7. As for the Servants of God, whom the voice speaketh unto, seeing they are distinguished from those that fear God, this sufficiently hinteth that they are not meerly pious men, but such as besides their piety, are im­ployed by God in the work of the Ministery, and in particular bear the office of prophets in the Church, for so the servants of God (when differenced from them that fear God) are elsewhere understood in this book of the Revelation, see Chap. 11.18. where it is said, That thou shouldest give the reward unto thy servants the Prophets, and to the Saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great. Now that many Prophets will then exist when these things are to be accomplished, I have before shewed in the exposition of the fourteenth Chapter.

Vers. 6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thun­drings, saying, Alleluja: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Vers. 7. Let us be glad and rejoyce, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made her self ready.

Vers. 8. And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints.

Though the destruction of the wicked be an induce­ment to praise the name of God, and to rejoyce, yet is [Page 82]the salvation of the righteous (as being in it self a work more excellent and glorious) of far greater efficacy to stir up the Saints to the performance of these two things. Hence it is that the acclamation here made; is more loud and solemn then the others that went before. For John saith, That he heard as it were the voice of a great multi­tude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thundrings saying, Alleluja. The reason of which unusual Exultation (that I may confirm what I even now asserted) is in the first place said to be the Reign of God, namely, upon the Delivery of the Kingdom into the Hands of the Saints. For though God was long before said in the Scripture to be the King of all the Earth, Psal. 47.7. yet in as much as to reign (if you speak properly) is to rule and govern by Laws, the Reign of God over all the World may in this sense be rightly said to commence with the Kingdom of the Saints. And that this Notion of Reigning is true, and grounded on the Scripture, is ma­nifest, in that God is then said never to have born rule over the Heathen, the Adversaries of his People, Isai 63.18, 19. which can be no otherwise true, than because he had not prescribed them Laws. Whereas the Jews on the contra­ry own God for their King, because he had been their Law-giver, as may be seen in those Words of the same Prophet, Chap. 33.22. The Lord is our Law-giver, the Lord is our King, he will save us. But when upon the Defeat of the Beast, (who, as I have shewed before, is the same with the little Horn in the seventh of Daniel) The Dominion and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole Hea­ven shall be given to the Saints of the most High, the World shall be ruled by them according to the Laws of God which he hath given by Christ Jesus, and the Laws of all Nations shall for the common good be conformed unto that Standard, whereas now they are for the most part subservient to the Lusts and Interests of a certain [Page 83]sort of Men. So that God (to whom the Saints are sub­servient in the Kingdom) will then of right be said to reign more perfectly and truly, than he had ever done since the World began.

The second ground here alleged for this Triumphing of the Saints, is, Because the Marriage of the Lamb was come, and his Wife had made her self ready. By which Wife of Christ now ready to be married, is neither to be understood the Multitude of those Saints that shall be raised in glory at the Judgement of the great Day, (for that Judgement sha [...]l happen above a thousand Years af­ter this Marriage, as appeareth from the following Cha­pter) nor of those Saints that shall be found alive on the Earth, when the great things mentioned in this Chapter shall be accomplished (for the Saints are not in this World married to Christ, but onely espoused, as the Words of Paul, 2 Cor. 11.2. do intimate, who saith of the Corinthian Church, I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may pre­sent you a chaste Virgin unto Christ) nor of those Saints that are here brought in shouting & rejoycing (for they open­ly distinguish themselves from this Wife of Christ) it re­maineth therefore that by Her must of necessity be under­stood those Saints, who having suffered Death in the time of the Beast, for not worshipping his Image, nor receiving his Mark, have this Privilege vouchsafed to them above others, that being restored to Life they reign with Christ a thousand Years before the rest of the Dead are raised, as is expresly declared in the following Chapter. And this is sufficiently implyed by the fine Linen where­with they are arayed: for though it be an Emblem of their Righteousness, to which they attained in this World, (as the Words of the Text affirm) yet is it indeed the Habit of such as are risen from the Dead, and glorified, as is evident from Chap. 3.4. where Christ saith to the Angel of the Church in Sardis, Thou hast a few Names even in [Page 84]Sardis, which have not defiled their Garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. And also from Chap. 7.9. where John saith, I beheld, and lo, a great Multi­tude, which no man could number, of all Nations, and kindreds and peoples and tongues, stood before the Throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white Robes, and palms in their hands. For that these here mentioned are such as had been raised from the dead, and glorified, I have before proved in the beginning of mine exposition upon this Chapter.

Vers. 9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage-Supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true Sayings of God.

Seeing the Angel doth here command John to set down in Writing, what he himself was about to deliver, this argueth that it was a thing very remarkable, and therefore not to be trusted to the memory, which is so slippery and fleeting, but to remain upon record for ever. And this Injunction is like to that of the fourteenth Chap. Verse 13. and conversant about something of the same import. For as they are there pronounced happy, who should thenceforth die in the Lord, namely, under the Reign of the Beast, and for the confirmation of the Truth, (as I have in mine Exposition of that place evinced) so are such here reckoned to be in the s [...]me blessed condition, who have the honour to be invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, who is to be inseparably united, in the most intimate and sweet familiarity of love, to those very per­sons, when raised from the Dead, and glorified. For as Marriages are wont to be solemnized with a Feast, so also is this of the Lamb, and therefore mention is made here of [Page 85] a Wedding Supper; which Supper (if we consider what Christ himself speaketh of eating and drinking at his Table in his Kingdom, Luke 22.30. And how in the 22 Chapter of this Prophecy, Verse 14. they are by an Angel termed happy, who keep the Commandments of Christ, that they may have a right to the Tree of Life,) will be found to have more literal truth in it, than is commonly believed, espe­cially if you add what the Angel saith to John in the Close of this Verse, namely, that these are the true Sayings of God. For this (as I intend more largely to discourse in mine Exposition on Chap. 21.5.) is all one, as if it had been said, These are the plain and perspicuous Sayings of God, which are to be understood as the words sound. As for the Guests invited to this Wedding Supper of the Lamb, for as much as they cannot be either the Angels, (who being meer Servants are no where in the Scripture admitted to such familiarity with Christ) nor the married persons themselves, (who would absurdly be said to be in­vited to their own Marriage) they must needs be the Saints, that are here brought in exceedingly rejoycing at this Marriage, and consequently such as had formerly been raised from the Dead, and then reigned with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, and so were capable of having a part in the Delicacies of this Feast.

Vers. 10. And I fell at his Feet to worship him: And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow Servant, and of thy Brethren, that have the Testimony of Jesus, Worship God: for the Testimony of Jesus, is the Spi­rit of Prophecy.

John is so transported with the favour that the Angel had done him, in revealing these sublime Mysteries unto [Page 86]him, that he is not able to contain himself, but falleth down before his feet and worshippeth him. Thus Cornelius be­ing admonished in a Vision, to send for Peter, who should speak such things unto him; whereby both he and his House should be saved, is ravisht with the sight of Peter coming to him, and adores him. Which Instances do teach us thus much, that we should hold in high esteem those persons, that are imployed by God to convey unto us the know­ledge of divine secrets, whereas contrariwise we see it come to pass through the stupidity and wickedness of men, who love Darkness rather than Light, that such rare Discoverers are in stead of Veneration, usually rewarded with envy, and reproach, yea, with Death it self. Never­theless, though the Reverence that we give to such as in­struct us in the abstruse things of God, ought to be great, yet must it be kept within its bounds, and not intrench upon the Prerogative of God: wherefore we see the An­gel here forbiddeth John to worship him, for that he was his fellow Servant, (and indeed fellow Servants are not wont to give such Honour one to another) and willeth him to worship God their common Master, to whom Ve­neration is one. And Peter also (in the History aforesaid) raiseth up Cornelius, who was fallen at this Feer, and wor­shipped him; which (by the way) is sufficient to fill that Man of Rome with confusion of face for ever, who pre­tending to be the Successour of Peter, though other­wise (as he himself is wont to acknowledge) inferiour in gifts and personal excellency, doth yet suffer him­self, to be adored of the People, as he is carried in a Throne upon mens shoulders through the Streets: yea, when he is initiated into his Office, is set upon the ve­ry Altar to be solemnly worshipped, which none can with any color deny to be religious and divine Worship, especially if he consider that this Honour is given to him, as supposed to be the Vicar of Christ. But whereas it is [Page 87]objected, that contrary to the practice of this Angel ap­pearing to John in the Revelation, we finde that other Angels in the Old Testament, when they shewed them­selves to the Servants of God, permitted themselves to be worshipped, as the Angel that exhibited himself to the view of Joshuah, as may be seen in the fifth Chapter of his History, Verses 13, 14, 15. I answer, that when the Angels received Worship, they either represented God, having his Name in them, as that Angel which with two Com­panions appeared to Abraham, Gen. 18.2. who is therefore called the Lord, Verse 13. as also that Angel which went before the Israelites in the Pillar of a Cloud, Exod. 14.19. Who hath also the Name of the Lord given to him, Verse 24. or at least were endued with singular Authori­ty, as that Angel whom Joshua worshipped; for he tel­leth Joshua, that he was sent a Captain of the Lord's host, Whereas the Angel that here cometh to John, doth not appear with Authority, (much less represent God, or Christ) but onely in his private capacity, and therefore styleth himself no other than a fellow Servant of John, and of his Brethren, that had the Testimony of Jesus. This last Expression, wherein certain Men are said to have the Testimony of Jesus, and which is also used Chap. 12.17. (where it is said, The Dragon was wroth with the Woman, and men to make War with the Remnant of her Seed, which keep the Commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ,) would have had some difficulty, (though such as might by a diligent inquiry been overcome) but that the Angel is here pleased to explain it, openly affirm­ing, that the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy; and consequently (as we touched before in the Exposition on the 17. Chapter, where we shewed the difference be­tween a Saint and a Martyr) none is a Witness or Martyr of Christ Jesus but he that is a Prophet; which is further confirmed by the 11. Chapter, where the two Witnesses are expresly called two Prophets, Verse 10.

Vers. 11. And I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white Horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in Righte­ousness he doth judge and make War.

12. His Eys were as a Flame of Fire, and on his Head were many Crowns: and he had a Name written that no Man knew but he himself.

13. And he was clothed with a Vesture dipt in Blood: and his Name is called, The Word of God.

14. And the Armies which were in Heaven fol­lowed him upon white Horses, clothed in fine Linen, white and clean.

15. And out of his Mouth goeth a sharp Sword, that with it he should smite the Nations: and he shall rule them with a Rod of Iron: and he treadeth the Wine-press of the Fierceness and Wrath of Almighty God.

16. And he hath on his Vesture and on his Thigh a Name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.

The opening of the Heaven is a necessary Preparative to the seeing of Christ, who residing there cannot other­wise be perceived. Thus we finde it to have happened, when Christ was pleased to afford a sight of himself to his Martyr Stephen, Acts 7.56. who accordingly there cryeth out, Behold, I see the Heavens opened, and the Son of Man [Page 89]standing on the right hand of God. But inasmuch as Christ doth here intend to shew himself as the Captain of his people, he appeareth not, (as he did to Stephen) stand­ing in the heaven, but riding on a Horse, as Com­manders are wont to do. And this Horse is said to be white, (a colour much used in time of joy and triumph) to denote the success and victory of Christ over his Ene­mies, according to what we read, Chap. 6.2. where it is said, I saw, and behold, a white Horse, and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer. But the victories and tri­umphs of Christ are not procured by such arts of treache­ry and falshood as Earthly Commanders too often put in ure, little regarding unjust the means be, so they may attain the end they have proposed to them­selves, even the conquest of their Enemies. For Christ on the contrary is faithful and true, neither making use of a wrong sentence in his Judicature, nor of an unjust conflict in his warfare, but in both behaving himself ac­cording to the exact rules of righteousness, as will appear by the judgement that he is about to execute upon the Beast and his followers at the battel of Armageddon. Nor marvel therefore if so great uprightness be accompa­nied with suitable glory and power. For the eyes of Christ are said to be like a flame of fire, and so able to strike a terrour in all them that look upon his face, and on his head are many crowns, which implieth the greatness of his dominion, extending it self over many kingdoms. Yea, for his greater dignity he hath a name written, (to wit, upon the crowns, for it is absurd to imagine it written upon his head, inasmuch as it is covered with his crowns) which none knoweth but he himself. Wherefore it would be presumption in us to use any means for the finding out of this name. For besides the reading after that which cannot be attained, we [Page 90]should thereby discover an ambition in us to intrench upon the prerogative of Christ, which argueth little re­verence towards him. If it be her demanded, how it hapneth that this name should be inscribed on the crowns encompassing the head of Christ, and also be seen of John, (as his words imply, in that he is a witness of it) and yet neither he, nor any other should attain the knowledge thereof: I answer, this cometh to pass because they cannot read it. As it hapned to the wise men of Babylon in the time of Belshazzar, none of whom was able to read what the part of the hand, sent from God, had written upon the Palace-wall, Dan. 5.5, 8. For whosoever read­eth any name, doth thereby know it, although he arrive not at the sense and sign [...]fication thereof. But Christ is further said to be clothed with a vesture dipt in blood, which is very agreeable to the business in hand. For he appear­ing as the Captain of his people, and intending to shed the blood of his and their enemies, is aptly represented with a bloody garment. Neither is it impertinent here­unto that his name is called the Word of God, as will ap­pear when we have made a discussion thereupon. For when Christ is stiled the word, or rather the speech of God, (so the Greek word [...] here used doth truly signifie, as Aristotle in the fourth Chapter of his book de interpre­tatione doth teach us) this appellation is given to him ei­ther properly, or improperly and figuratively: not proper­ly, for then he would be but an accident, seeing the same Aristotle in his Treatise of the Predicaments, Chapter the sixth, rangeth a speech (called by him [...], the word here under debate) among the species of discrete quantity which is an accident. But Christ by the confession of all is a substance and no accident. Wherefore he is called the word or speech of God improperly and figuratively, but if so, then there must be some resemblance between the speech of God properly so called, and Christ Jesus, which [Page 91]by searching the Scripture we shall finde to consist in these two respects: first because the speech of God properly so taken, doth immediately flow from the divine under­standing: so also did Christ come immediately from the divine Majesty in heaven to publish the Gospel to the world, and so was the speech, or immediate interpreter of God. This is confirmed by that notable passage of John, who having in the entrance of the first Chapter of his Gospel given the appellation of the word or speech to Christ, seemeth to explain the same in the eighteenth verse thereof, saying, No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son which is (or rather, was) in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him. Christ himself also saith in the sixth Chapter of that Gospel, verse 38. I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me, And Chap. 8.42. If God were your Father, ye would love me, for I proceeded forth, and came from God. And Chap. 16.27, 28. The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world, again I leave the world and go to the Father. Secondly, because as the speech of God properly so named, hath power to effect whatsoever he pleaseth, (for so God himself testifieth of it, Isa. 55.10, 11. where he saith, as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth, it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whither to I sent it) In like manner Christ had full power to do whatsoever miracles he pleased, as he himself witnesseth, John 5.19, 20, 21. where he saith, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do, for what things soever he doth, these also doth the [Page 92]Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that he himself doth: and he will shew him greater works then these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickneth them, even so the Son quickneth whom he will. These things being so, Christ can easily dissi­pate all his enemies, as the event will shew in the close of this 19. Chapter of the Revelation. You see then how aptly John saith, that the name of Christ is called the word or speech of God, when he is brought in as a Captain ready to encounter with the Beast and his complices. For this ar­gueth that he can do what mighty works he pleaseth. How­beit the Angels, (for they are elsewhere in the Scripture meant by the heavenly Armies or Hosts, as appeareth from the words of the Prophet Micajah, 1 Kings 22.29. I saw the Lord sitting upon his Throne, and all the Host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left. And also from the words of Luke, Chap. 2.13, 14, 15. And sud­denly there was with the Angel a multitude (not [...] but [...] in Greek) of the heavenly Host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men. And it came to pass as the Angels were gon away from them into heaven, &c.) the Angels, I say, that here follow Christ, though they also ride upon horses, because they are Armies, and their equi­page ought to be some waies answerable to that of Christ their Captain, are yet clothed only in fine linen, white and clean, (their usual Priestly weeds, as I have before proved in the exposition of the fifteenth Chapter) be­cause Christ intendeth not at this time to make use of their ministery, in shedding the blood of his enemies, but to do it by himself, as appeareth from the one and twen­tieth Verse of this Chapter. Whereas Christ on the con­trary hath not only a bloody vesture, but also a sharp sword, not indeed hanging by his side, nor held in his hand, but (as it befitteth the word or speech of God) coming out [Page 93]of his mouth, wherewith he may smite the Nations, and slay them. The accomplishment whereof may be seen in the sequel of this Chapter Neither is this disagreeable to what we read elsewhere in the Scripture. For if Moses could with the rod in his hand do miracles, and plague the land of Egypt, See Exod; 4.17. why may not Christ as­wel smite the Nations with the sword of his mouth? For as the rod did not contain in it self the power whereby the miracles were wrought, but was only a sign thereof: so neither doth the sword, which nevertheless is altoge­ther as apt to signifie the divine efficacy of Christ, who by meerly speaking the word will slay so many Nations assembled together to fight against him and his people. But there is not yet an end of describing the warlike power of Christ, for there remain three other particu ars belonging thereunto. The first whereof is the ruling of the Nations with a rod of Iron. Which though it may (with congruity to the tenor of the Scripture) be taken only for the irresistible power of Christ, whereby he is able to crush all his Enemies, yet seeing we ought not to depart from the letter of the Scripture, when it yieldeth a fair and commodious construction, I propose it to the wise and learned to judge, whether it may not with pro­bability be thought, that the Saints (into whose hands Christ will at length miraculously deliver all the King­doms of the world, and so rule over the Nations by them as subordinate to himself) shall both in their judicature, and warfare (the latter of which is likely to continue till that generation be extinct) use such an instrument as an Iron rod, to break implacable enemies and capital offenders in pieces. Neither is this sence contrary to the other, but doth include the same, shewing how that irresistible power of Christ shall at length put forth it self. The second point is the treading of the wine-press of the wrath of God Almighty, which I cannot sufficiently [Page 94]wonder to see how it is so often applied to the sufferings that Christ himself did undergo, when the Text speaketh of the time present, saying, he treadeth the winepress, and not of the time past: But Christ by the confession of all is now exempted for ever from any further sufferings. Again, when any one treadeth a winepress, he himself doth not thereby suffer any thing, nor is bruised, but maketh the grapes to suffer bruising. And therefore if Christ tread the winepress of Gods wrath, he himself must not be considered as enduring the wrath of God, but as inflicting it upon others. And indeed the words of the prophet Isaiah, Chap 63. to which this passage seemeth to allude, do plainly evince this interpretation of mine to be true and genuine. For he that is there seen coming from Edom, Red in his apparel, and like to one that treadeth in the winefat, sheweth the reason of this strange attire, verse 3. saying, I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me: For I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. Doth not this demonstrate beyond all gainsaying, that to tread the winepress of Gods wrath, is to execute his judgements upon others, and not to feel the same himself? The third thing is the name, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, that is written both on the vesture, and also on the thigh of Christ, which likewise apparently belongeth to the warlike power of Christ, because he that is a King is wont also to command the sword for the defence of his people, and the destruction of his Enemies, whence it was before, (Chap. 14.17.) rendred as the reason, why Christ should vanquish the ten Kings confederate with the Beast, (who together with all the rest of the Kings in the world do here make war against Christ) namely because he was Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. For this implieth that Christ hath dominion [Page 95]over all the Kings in the world, and so is stronger then they, and therefore no wonder if he doth subdue and crush them. Thus Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 2.37. is called a King of Kings, because God had given into his hand all the Earth, and the Kings thereof. Thus also Artax­erxes, Ezra 7.12. is stiled a King of Kings, in the be­ginning of the gracious Commission he granteth to Ezra, because he had now gotten into his hands the Kingdom, whereof Nebuchadnezzar was sometime seized.

Vers 17, And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fows that flie in the midst of heaven, Come and gather your selves together unto the supper of the great God;

Vers. 18. That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of Captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Christ (as we have already said) is about to make a slaughter of his enemies. Wherefore an Angel crieth with a loud voice to all the fowls of heaven to betake themselves to this supper of the great God, that Christ is preparing for them, and which will be furnished (suitably to the Majesty of the great God) with all sorts of flesh both of men and horses, for their entertainment. This invitation seemeth unlikely to have been made by an Angel, were it not that God intendeth to use his ministe­ry in drawing all his guests together; which must needs [Page 96]appear to the Nations very ominous, when they behold, Eagles Ravens, Uultures, and other birds of prey flying in shoals towards the land of Israel where this great sup­per is to be made, (for that it shall so come to pass, is evident from the close of the Chapter; wherein it is said, that all the fowls were filled with the flesh of the slain) nor will the darkning of the Sun less amaze them, which seemeth also likely to happen at this time, and hath been known to be a forerunner of great slaughters. For see­ing the Angel is said to stand in the Sun, (which cannot be done without obscuring the light thereof, nor is here put for nothing) to me it is probable that this denoteth a miraculous Eclipse of that luminary by the interposal of the same Angel that draweth all the fowls of heaven to­gether.

Vers. 19. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered toge­ther to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Vers. 20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Vers. 21. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

We are now at length arrived at that battel, for which so much preparation hath been made, & which is the greatest that ever was struck since the world began, putting a pe­riod both to the Tyranny of the Beast, (the forest enemy of all righteousness that ever was raised up) and also to the sufferings of the Saints. The place where it is fought is here indeed omitted, but was in the sixteenth Chapter, said to be called in Hebrew Armageddon, which I in the Exposition of that Chapter, have accordingly proved to belong to the Countrey of the Hebrews. The persons that shall fight it are here said to be the Beast and the Kings of the earth with their Armies, on the one side: and he that sitteth upon the horse with his Army, on the other side. Which last clause clearly sheweth that there shall be an Army in the field siding with Christ, and having him for their Captain, against which the Kings of the earth do directly bend their force, as being capable of hurt. For it is inconceiveable that all the kings of the earth should draw their Armies together into the land of Israel, to fight against the person of Christ in heaven, which should it descend from thence, (as nevertheless it shall not do un­til the day of the universal judgement) would be altoge­ther impassible. Neither can it be said that this Army of Christ consisteth of Angels, for (to omit the difficulty even now mentioned, and which hath place in Angels as well as in Christ) the Angels are ranged in several Ar­mies, as the fourteenth verse of this Chapter signifieth, whereas the Army of Christ here mentioned is but one. Again, the Angels are in the place aforesaid called the Ar­mies in heaven that followed Christ. But his implieth that there is some other Army of his upon the earth, even that whereof I now dispute, and which must needs consist of the Saints, as was also before hinted, Chap. 17.14. The Issue of the Battel is here set down in this manner, namely, that the Kings and their Armies are all slain with [Page 98]the Sword of Christs mouth; but the Beast and the false Prophet are taken, and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. All which is so plain, that it needeth no Inter­pretation. Onely let it by the way be observed that from hence it undeniably followeth, that the Beast and the false Prophet, are two particular Men, otherwise how should they be present at the Battel of Armageddon, and there be taken and thrown alive into Hell fire? Certainly, this doth intimate that they are Men, who might as well have been slain as others, but were not, because (as I have be­fore evinced) they had been once dead already, and were restored again to life to act the things in this Book related of them. Which if any one should chance to scrupleat, as a thing very uncouth, (although it be altogether unreasona­ble so to do, for as much as I have before out of the Scrip­ture demonstrated the same) let him on the contrary con­fider with himself, how suitable it is that they whose acti­ons are prodigiously wicked, and such as were never pra­ctised in the World before, should likewise in an unusual way be raised up to perform them. As for those words in the very Close of this Chapter, where it is said, that all the Fowls were filled with the Flesh of the slain; this argueth that a true and real Battel is here to be understood, and that the Exposition which I gave upon the 17. and 18. Verses, affirming that all manner of ravenous Birds should flock to the Land of Israel to feed upon the Corpses of slaughtered men, is firm and certain, so that it would be ridiculous to fasten another sense upon the place.

Chap. 20. Vers. 1, 2, 3.

And I saw an Angel come down from Heaven, having the Key of the bottomless Pit, and a great Chain in his Hand.

And he laid hold on the Dragon that old Ser­pent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand Years.

And cast him into the bottomless Pit, and shut him up, and set a Seal upon him, that he should deceive the Nations no more, till the thousand Years should be fulfilled: and af­ter that, he must be loosed a little season.

The Exposition.

SAtan, that old Serpent, (so called and here represented, because of his subtilty, for the Serpent is in the Scri­pture noted to be the wisest of all the Beasts that God created, Gen. 3.1.) had now for many thousand Years abused the World at his pleasure, and of late knowing his time to be short, had vented more than ordinary ma­lice against the Saints, in stirring up the Beast to persecute and kill many of them. Yea, in conclusion he had with his wiles so inveigled the Kings of the Earth that at his instigation they attempted with joint Forces to cut off the remainder of the Saints from being a People. Where­fore to prevent the like mischief in the future, and to the end that the Saints may enjoy a long Tranquillity after so hot a Persecution, an Angel here descendeth from Hea­ven, and with the Chain that is in his Hand bindeth Sa­tan [Page 100]for a thousand Years, that he may no more deceive the Nations till the said term be expired. At which time though he be again let loose to seduce and instigate the Nations against the Saints, yet shall that seduction conti­nue but a little while, as the sequel of this Chapter doth declare. Certainly, the binding of Satan must needs cause so happy a revolution over all the World, that we may rather guess at it than comprehend it. For consider how peaceable and glorious the Times must needs prove, when Satan the great Incendiary of all those Dissentions, Outrages, and Cruelties, wherewith the World is so much infested, shall be kept in Prison for a thousand Years toge­ther, and Men (after the Extinction of that Generation, in whom Satan had sown the Seeds of Discord) shall have no other inward Incentive to sin, than the Disposition of their own Heart, which though it be naturally evil from their youth, yet may it, being alone, more easily be resist­ed, nor will without the concurrence of Satan produce so grievous Disorders as now it doth. This therefore is the time when that shall truly be fulfilled, which God so long ago foretold by the Prophet Micah, Chap. 4.3, 4. where he saith of the Nations, that they shall beat their Swords into Plough-shares, and their Spears into Pruning-hooks: Nation shall not rise against Nation, neither shall they learn War any more. But they shall sit every man under his Vine, and under his Fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it. But the World now is and hath hither to been so far from enjoying such felicity, that I cannot sufficiently wonder, how any man, who is neither a stranger to the Records of Antiquity, nor to the condition of the present times, should ever imagine that Satan hath already been bound, (namely, in the Reign of Constantine the Great) and so withheld from deceiving the Nations. For it is apparent that since the said Emperour ruled, as notorious Impostures have been set on foot to [Page 101]delude and blinde the World, as are reported to have been hatched in any former Ages. Which Impostures we must either confess to have proceeded from Satan, (and consequently that he hath not yet been bound) or most absurdly hold, that Men may be as shamefully gulled, when Satan hath ceased to seduce them, as they were be­fore, and so that his labor in this kinde hath hitherto been superfluous. Nor need I any difficult reasoning to prove what I even now asserted. For, to omit others, the Mahu­metans and Papists will afford us very evident Instances thereof. By the cunning of which two prevailing Facti­ons, the Light of the Gospel was for many Ages together since the Reign of Constantine almost extinguished, but that now in latter times God taking pity on the miserable condition of his Church, hath raised up sundry Re­formers, who have detected many of those Errours, wherewith the Truth had before been obscured, and so given a good Essay to the restoring of our holy Faith to its primitive lustre.

The reason why Satan is cast by the Angel into the bottomless Pit, rather than into another place, is because many of the evil Spirits have ever since their Fall lain there bound in Chains of Darkness, as both the words of Peter, Epist. 2. Chap. 2.4. (where it is said, God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and delivered them into Chains of Darkness, to be reserved unto Judge­ment) And also of Jude, Verse 6. (where it is said, The Angels which kept not their first Estate, but left their own Habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting Chains under Darkness, unto the Judgement of the great Day) do perspi­cuously intimate. And therefore certain of them, who were permitted to range up and down the Earth, for the executing of Gods Judgements, having entred into a Man of Gadara, and being commanded by Christ to come out of him, besought Christ that he would not send him into [Page 102]the bottomless Pit, (for so the Greek word [...] used by Luke in the Relation of this Story, and which is translated in English, the Deep, ought to be rendred, as it is in this 20. Chapter of the Revelation.)

Vers. 4. And I saw Thrones, and they sat upon them, and Judgement was given unto them: and I saw the Souls of them that were be­headed for the Witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worship­ped the Beast, neither his Image, neither had received his Mark upon their Foreheads, or in their Hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand Years.

5. But the rest of the Dead lived not again un­til the thousand Years were finished. This is the first Resurrection.

6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part 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.

That Thrones are the Seats of Kings is evident e­nough; but who they are that shall sit upon the Thrones here mentioned, and have Judgement given into their hands, is neither of it self evident, nor here expressed, so that we should be at a great loss to finde it out, were it not that Daniel, speaking of this matter, (as I have before in the Exposition of the 17. Chapter of this Prophecy e­vinced) saith, that Judgement was given to the Saints of the [Page 103]most High, Chap. 7.22. It is the Saints therefore that are invested with the Right of Judicature, and placed on the Thrones after the Defeat of the Beast, and the Binding of Satan. Neither ought this Kingdom to be expected, till these two miraculous Events have made way for it. Wherefore as they are exceedingly mistaken, and fear not to gainsay the plain Words of the Scripture, who hold that there shall be no fifth Kingdom, or Kingdom of the Saints here on Earth, when in the mean time an Angel expresly telleth Daniel, Chap. 7.27. that the Kingdom, and Dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole Heaven, shall be given to the People of the Saints of the most High: So are they no less out of the way, who dream of any humane Force to be used in the Erection of this King­dom. For this would be to transform the People of the Saints into a Company of Thieves and Robbers. But as the rise and fall of the Beast, the binding of Satan, and setting up of the Kingdom of the Saints here on Earth, are great and marvellous Works falling out in the Age here spoken of: so also is the first Resurrection whereof all they shall be Partakers, (and so reign with Christ in heaven) who being either Prophets, (for none but such have the Testimony of Jesus) or meer Saints, do suffer Death for refusing to worship the Beast. For John plainly testifi­eth, that onely such are raised up from the Dead to reign with Christ the thousand Years, as were for their Piety in the Reign of the Beast, beheaded, or smitten with the Ax, (as the Greek word signifieth.) Which Expression doth either intimate that the Beast shall both in Judicature (as the Ro­mans his Ancestors were wont to do) & also in War make use of such a Weapon as an Ax to kill the Saints, (as we find in the Scripture that Nebuchadnezzar did to slay the Egyp­tians, Jer. 40.22. where it is said, The voice thereof, (that is, of Egypt) shall go like a Serpent, for they shall march with an Army, and come against her with Axes, as Hewers of Wood) [Page 104]or else under the most frequent and noted kinde of slaughter, that shall be in use at that time, all other ways of inflicting Death upon the Saints are comprehended. For what reason can be imagined, why those Saints that are put to Death with the Ax should share in the first Re­surrection, rather than such as are dispatched with some other Instrument of cruelty? But lest any one should think this Doctrine of the first Resurrection, taken ac­cording to the Letter of the holy Text, to be strange, (though to me it seemeth more strange that Christians should scruple at a thing so plainly and punctually set down in the Scripture, for they may as well call into que­stion whatsoever is here spoken concerning the Resur­rection that is to be afterwards at the last Day, and to which this Resurrection is opposed,) go to, let us confirm this precious Truth, so much encouraging Christians to lay down their Lives for the Gospel, by other passages ta­ken out of this Book of the Revelation, where such an an­ticipated Resurrection is held forth, as belonging both to those Saints that suffer Death under the Reign of the Beast, and also to those that dy for Christ and the Gospel at any time whatsoever. First, therefore it is in the 11. Chapter said of the two Witnesses, (who are expresly there called Prophets, and so must needs be two Men, since none but Men are in the Scripture termed Prophets) that after they had been slain by the Beast, and their dead Bo­dyes lyen unburied three Days and an half in the Streets of Jerusalem, (for not Rome but Jerusalem is the great City where Christ was slain) The Spirit of Life from God entred into them, and they stood upon their feet. From which words it is undeniably manifest that the two Witnesses are raised from the Dead whilest the Beast reigneth. What hinders then, but that the other Prophets and Saints put to Death by him, may likewise be restored to Life presently after his Defeat, as this 20. Chapter doth in [Page 105]the plain and obvious sence thereof clearly testifie? Again, we have in the Exposition of the nineteenth Chapter, verse 1. proved that there is a great multitude of Saints, even before the destruction of Rome, recalled to life, and triumphing in the kingdom of heaven. Fi­nally it appeareth from that notable passage, Chap. 2.26.27. (where Christ saith, He that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the Nations, (and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers) even as I have received of my Father) that whosoever performeth the duty of a Christian to the end of his life, and under­goeth a violent death for the name of Christ (for I have elsewhere collected that the notion of overcoming, when applied to the Saints in the Revelation doth intimate such a death) shall be raised up from the dead before the day of judgement, to reign over the Nations. For can there any such reign be expected, after that judge­ment is once past? or did not Christ, to whom these Saints are in this respect to be made conformable, so come to reign over the Nations? Neither doth that passage of Christ, John 6.40. This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Nor that of Paul, 1 Cor. 15.22. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, but every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits, after­wards they that are Christs, at his coming. These passages, I say, do not a whit withstand the doctrine of an antici­pated resurrection, which we endeavor to evince out of the book of the Revelation. For Christ speaketh of men, only as believing on him, and Paul, of them as dying in the faith, and not for the same, as the forecited places of the Revelation plainly do. Moreover, that the Lord Christ Jesus doth now in very deed reign in heaven, and [Page 106]so hath done ever since he sat down at the right hand of God, (and consequently the Saints who are partakers of the first resurrection, shall there reign with him) is evi­dent from that notable passage or Paul, Ephes. 1.19, 20, 21, 22. According to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church. And from that of Peter, 1 Epist. 3.21, 22. The like figure where­unto even Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ who is gon into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, Angels, and Authorities, and Powers, being made subject unto him. And also from those of John, Rev. 1.5. and Chap. 17.14. In the former of which he saith, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten from the dead, and the Prince (or Ruler,) of the Kings of the earth. And in the latter, These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings; he doth not say, he shall be King of Kings. But what need have I to accumulate texts of Scripture for the proof of this matter, when the second and third Chapters of the Revelation are of themselves abundantly sufficient to convince all that are not obstinately bent against the truth, that Christ doth now in his own person govern the Church, and take care of it; for you shall there have clear and undeniable arguments, both of the cognisance that he taketh of mens actions, and of the protection he affordeth unto such as walk uprightly with him, and also of the judgements he executeth on them that either turn aside out of the right way, or at least slacken their first love? so that I am [Page 107]not a little moved, when I perceive many, who other­wise seem to own the Gospel, so easily giving ear to such a doctrine, as asserteth that Christ is not yet in the pos­session and exercise of his kingdom, but shall hereafter reign, and that upon the Earth: which opinion thwarteth the whole tenor of the New Testament (where Christ since his ascension is usually called Lord) and annulleth the faith we repose in Christ, (for to what purpose is it to rely on him for help and assistance, if he be not yet in his kingdome?) and restraineth prayer and worship before him, and in a word ushereth in Judaism, for there at length this pernicious conceit is wont to center. Where­fore seeing I have irrefragably proved, that Jesus Christ doth now reign in heaven, neither is there so much as one passage in all the Scripture, that saith he shall ever reign upon the earth, but he himself on the contrary plainly testifieth, John 18.36. That his kingdom is not of this world, (which could not be true, were he to reign personally on the earth, as worldly Kings are wont to do) I conclude that whatsoever Saints are raised up from the dead to reign with Christ during the space of a thou­sand years, before the last judgement, must of necessity ascend up into heaven where he is. And this is plainly taught us in that forequoted instance of the twowitnesses, who being recalled to life, go up into heaven in a cloud. Chap. 11.12. Tis true indeed, that the Saints, menti­oned in the fifth Chapter, verse 10. say, That they were made Kings and Priests to their God, and should reign on the earth. But here is no hint of any resurrection, and there­fore such Saints are to be understood, as having not yet been dead, did and should reign upon the earth. Thus John saith both of himself, and the Saints in the seven Churches of Asia, Chap. 1. That Christ had made them Kings and Priests to God. And consequently it might have been truly affirmed of them, that they should reign upon [Page 108]the earth, where they were already Kings. For whereas it is usually objected, that those Saints in the fifth Chapter say of themselves, we shall reign upon the earth, and there­fore did not already reign, this is frivolous: for inasmuch as they were already Kings, (as they themselves affirm) and some of them sat with their crowns upon their heads, it must needs be that they did already reign, and so those words we shall reign upon the earth, do not intimate the beginning, but the continuance of their reign. Thus John writeth to certain Christians of his time, 1 Epist. 5.13. To the end that they should believe on the name of the Son of God, which doth not argue that they did not yet believe, (the contrary whereof is in the beginning of that verse affirmed) but that John would have them to persist in the belief of Christ. It is also said in the 22, Chapter of this Prophecy, verse the 3. that the Throne of God shall be in the New Jerusalem, when neverthe­less the ministery of Christ in the heavenly Tabernacle (which I have before proved to be the same with the New Jerusalem) as he sitteth at the right hand of the Throne of God, doth undeniably shew that the Throne of God is already in that City, and consequently that the aforesaid passage doth onely imply the continu­ance of it there. Thus have I asserted the do­ctrine of the first resurrection, and shown that the Saints who are raised from the dead, after the binding of Satan, do reign with Christ in heaven a thousand years. From whence it doth necessarily follow that they have know­ledge of all the things in the world, as Christ hath, other­wise how could they be partakers with him in ordering and disposing them? But as they are Kings, so also Priests of God and Christ, and accordingly do serve them both in heaven, what by giving honour and glory to them, what by interceding with them for the Saints who are in the mean time reigning on the earth, For so the pattern of [Page 109]Christ the high priest who doth himself appear before the face of God, and make intercession for the Saints, seemeth to require. Nor need we to fear least the Papists should take any advantage from this doctrine to palliate their superstitious conceits about the Saints; for I do not sup­pose that the Saints who are dead, and as Isaiah testifieth, are ignorant of us, Chap. 63.16. and as Solomon, Eccles. 9.5, 6. averreth, know not any thing, nor have any more a portion for ever in that which is done under the Sun, do pray for them that are here abiding on the earth, but only such Saints as are raised from the dead, and translated into heaven, be­coming there not only kings, but also Priests of God and Christ. No marvel therefore if these persons, who thus rise a thousand Years before the rest of the Dead, are here pronounced both holy and happy; holy for that with­out holiness it would have been impossible for them to have seen God, much less to appear before his face for others: and happy, because all of them are endued with eternal Life, whereas many of them that are raised after the thousand Years are expired, are under the Power of the second Death, as the sequel of this Chapter will shew. I may add as a further accession to their happiness, that they have the Privilege of Reigning with Christ over the Nations, whereas they that are not raised up till the last Day, thereby become incapable of such a King­dom, for as much as Christ shall then put down all Rule, and all Authority, and Power, 1 Cor. 15.24.

Vers. 7. And when the thousand Years are ex­pired, Satan shall be loosed out of his Prison.

8. And shall go out to deceive the Nations, which are in the four Quarters of the Earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to [Page 110]Battel: the Number of whom is as the Sand of the Sea.

9. And they went up on the Breadth of the Earth, and compassed the Camp of the Saints about, and the beloved City: and Fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them.

No sooner is Satan loosed out of Prison, upon the Ex­piration of the thousand Years, but that profound Tran­quillity, wherein the World had so long been husht, is presently disturbed, and Men again embroiled in new Troubles and Commotions. For Satan by his cunning Suggestions inciteth the Nations abiding in the four Cor­ners of the World, and here comprised under the name of Gog and Magog, to levy a great and terrible War. Of which Expedition there are two Chapters in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, (namely, the 38. and 39.) that do discourse at large, so as that what is wanting in the Reve­lation to the full description thereof, may from thence be supplyed. It appeareth therefore from the Relation of Ezekiel, that Gog (of which name we finde also a certain Reubenite to have sometimes been, 1 Chron. 5.4.) is a Prince that shall be in those Times, when Satan is loosed out of his Prison, and who shall issue out of the Nor­thern parts, bringing with him an innumerable Multitude of armed Men into the Land of Israel, in hope of a great Booty, the Israelites by reason of their former long prospe­rity being grown exceeding wealthy, and dwelling secure­ly without Walls, Bars, or Gates; and having passed through the rest of the Countrey, they at length sit down before Jerusalem, (which is therefore styled the beloved Ci­ty, because the City of the great King, and more dear to [Page 111]him than all the dwellings of Jacob) & so encompass both her and the Army of the Saints there encamped. But as it happened formerly at the Battel of Armageddon, that the Saints when set in aray against the Enemies, had no need to fight, it being their strength to sit still, and wait for the Salvation of the Lord, so fareth it with them here; for after a great Earthquake, which is wont to be a fore­runner of such miraculous Defeats, See 1 Sam. 14.15. God causeth the Enemies to smite one another, and not only so, but also raineth Fire and Brimstone upon them out of Hea­ven, and devoureth them. The greatness of which Nor­thern Army doth appear by two notable effects that ensue upon the destruction thereof. For the House of Israel is seven Moneths burying them, and seven Years burning up the Weapons wherewith they were armed, so that they have no need to take any Fewel either out of the Wood or out of the Field during that time. But who did ever hear or read that so prodigious an Invasion hath been made by the Northern Nations upon the Land of Israel, or indeed by any Nation upon any Land whatsoever, since the Book of Ezekiel was written, to this very day? wherefore the accomplishment of this Prophecy touch­ing Gog and Magog is yet to be expected, and conse­quently when it is said in the beginning of the Revelation, that the time is at hand, we must not thereupon conclude that whatsoever is related afterwards in that Book, was shortly to be performed, (for this very Chapter of it, whereon we now comment, containeth the History of above a thousand Years) but onely that they should ere long begin to be fulfilled, as will easily appear to him that rightly apprehends what the opening of the Seals, that are mentioned in the sixth Chapter, doth intimate.

Vers. 10. And the Devil that deceived them, was call into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, where the Beast and the false Prophet are, and shall be tormented Day and Night, for ever and ever.

When Gog and Magog are once destroyed, Satan who had deceived and incited them to make so terrible a War upon the Saints without just cause, is for his labour cast (not into the bottomless Pit to be there detained for a certain time) but into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, to be there tormented for ever and ever. From whence it may be gathered, 1. That Satan after this time shall not tempt the Sons of Men any more, and consequently (as we have before discoursed,) they shall have no other inward sollicitation to sin, then what issueth from the natural pra­vity of their own hearts, which is nothing in comparison of that malignity, which is infused into them by the arti­fice of Satan. 2. That the reason why the Beast was for­merly thrown into Hell-fire, and not Satan also, that stir­red him up, is this, because God intended to make no fur­ther use of the Beast, whereas Satan was a thousand Years after to seduce Gog and Magog. Which being done, and so the wrathfull Ministery of Satan accomplished, he like­wise is flung into Hell-fire to be there for ever tormented together with the Beast. 3. That Hell-fire (for that is the same with the Lake of Fire and Brimstone) is already in being, and not to be created at the Day of Judgement, otherwise how should Satan be thrown thereinto before the coming of that Day? 4. That Satan though a Spi­rit, yet is not therefore immaterial, otherwise how should a true, real, and material fire as that of the Lake is (seeing the smoke of men therein tormented is said to ascend for ever and ever, Chap. 14.11.) be capable of working on [Page 113]him? For he is no less said to be tormented therein, than the Beast and the false Prophet, who being both Men (as I before proved) must needs consist of matter, as all will grant. As for the place where Hell-fire is, we shall see concerning that towards the end of this Chapter.

Vers. 11. And I saw a great white Throne, and him that sat on it, from whose Face the Earth and the Heaven fled away, and there was found no Place for them.

Vers. 12. And I saw the Dead, small and great, stand before God; and the Books were o­pened: and another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the Dead were judged out of those things which were writ­ten in the Books, according to their Works.

Vers. 13. And the Sea gave up the Dead which were in it; and Death and Hell delivered up the Dead which were in them: and they were judged every Man according to their Works.

The Prophecies of the Revelation, if we look rightly on them, considering them in their own plainness, and not as they are disguized and tangled with the far-fetcht Opinions of Men, will be found to have been set down in an orderly manner, those things being usually delivered first that are first to be accomplished. Hence the casting of the Devil into Hell-fire, being once dispatcht, the uni­versal judgement, which was to follow, (whether in a lit­tle or a large distance of time, is uncertain) cometh here in its own place very fitly to be described. God therefore is [Page 114]the supreme Judge, is said to sit upon a great white Throne. By which words the colour of his Throne, which had been hitherto concealed, seemeth to be here made known unto us. For seeing God, as David testifieth, hath prepa­red his Throne in the Heavens for Judgement, Psalm 9.7. & 103.19. and whiteness therein doth, for its purity and lustre, as well comport with the glory of God, if not bet­ter, than any other colour, why should we not believe that the Throne of Judgement whereon God sitteth in the Heavens, is (as it is here described) white? But as the glory of God is set out in some measure by the greatness and colour of his Throne; so is it infinitely more by the action that is here ascribed to him, namely the Annihila­tion of the heaven and earth. For to make them so fly away from before his face, as that there is no more place found for them, is indeed to reduce them into nothing. Otherwise had they any being, they would also have a place, and be somewhere. This reduction of the world into nothing leadeth us to believe the more easily that it was at first created out of nothing. For had the matter thereof been from all eternity coexisting with God, it would like him be ens necessarium, and so likewise of ne­cessity continue for ever with him.

John having seen the sovereign judge sitting on his throne, doth in the next place see them also that stand before him in judgement, and they are the dead of all sorts, whether they be of high or low degree. For that this expression of great and small doth so signifie, is evident from Deuteronomy, 1.17. Where Moses saith to the Judges of Israel, Ye shall not respect persons, but ye shall hear the small as well as the great. And also from the nineteenth Chapter of this book, verse 18. Where an Angel inviteth all the fowls of the heaven to come, that they may eat the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. For the trial of the persons aforesaid, are [Page 115]opened certain books, containing not their actions, (for the words import the contrary) but the laws by which God proceedeth in judging them, and consequently they are the books of the Old and New Testament. For Paul plainly telleth us, that as many as have sinned in (or under) the law, shall be judged by the law, Rom. 2.12. And Christ saith, John 12.48. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. These there­fore must needs be the books, and out of the things written in them, the dead shall be judged according to their works. For the inspection of these books doth pre­sently discover both of what kind the works themselves are, and what reward is appointed to them. From whence it may be collected, that they to whom God never made known his will, nor imparted any of those laws recorded in the Old and New Testament, but suffered them to walk in their own waies, albeit they shall perish for their wickedness, yet shall they not undergo any trial. And thus much are we taught by the Apostle Paul, who saith, 2 Thes. 1.7, 8. That the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that knew not God. And Rom. 2.12. As many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law, That is, without having any law proposed, whereby they should be tried and cast. Moreover that we might have a more full knowledge of the foresaid judgement, both the resur­rection of the dead, which is a preparative thereunto, and also the several places from whence the dead come forth are here described. For the Sea giveth up the bodies of them that were drowned therein, and the Grave giveth up the bodies of them that were buried in the earth. For that the Grave is here to be understood by death is evident, in that it is a place of the dead distinguished both from the Sea, and also from Hell. But there is no other recep­tacle [Page 116]of the dead, besides these twain, save only the Grave. Thus we finde that Job doth by death, understand the Grave, Chap. 27.15. When he saith of the wicked man, that those that remain of him shall be buried in death, and his widows shall not weep. Finally Hell (not Hell-fire) giveth up the souls both of them that were drowned in the Sea, (under which name all waters are comprehend­ed) and also of them that were buried in the earth. For that Hell is designed to be the mansion of separated Souls, appeareth from the words of Peter, Acts 2.31. Who speaking out of the Psalms concerning the resur­rection of Christ, saith, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption. And also from that passage of David, Psalm 30.3. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from Hell, thou hast kept me alive that I should not go down into the pit. For that I have rightly rendred the words in saying from hell, and not from the Grave is manifest both from the Greek version, which here hath [...], and also from the Hebrew original, not using the word [...] which is proper to denote a Grave or Sepulchre, See Gen. 23.6.) but [...] whereby Hell is wont to be expressed, and which lieth in the lower parts of the earth, (See the Hebrew context of Numb. 16.30.33.) Besides it is apparent to common sense that not the souls, but only the bodies of men are laid in the grave.

Vers. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire: This is the second death.

Vers. 15. And whosoever was not found writ­ten in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.

What the second death is, and consequently those words mean, which we read in the second clause of the [Page 117]sixth verse foregoing, as also those Chap. 2.11. where it is said, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death, is here by John explained: for he expresly telleth us, that the lake of fire and brimstone is the second death. So that to be cast into that lake, and to be under the power of the second death, or hurt of it, are expressions of the same import. Thus had we the testimony of Jesus ex­pounded to us in the nineteenth Chapter. Nevertheless how Death and Hell being both of them places and re­ceptacles of the dead, should be cast into the said lake, is hard to comprehend. Yea were it not for a certain passage in the sixth Chapter of this prophecy, I should be inclineable to think that this was a mystery, which God would not have us pry into, as we have above shewn that sundry such mysteries are to be met withal in the Book of the Revelation. But forasmuch as in the Chapter aforesaid, verse 8. Death is brought in riding upon a pale horse, and Hell following him, and consequently both of them are represented in the similitude of persons, we may from thence rationally collect, that in the passage here under debate, the Holy Ghost intending to intimate, that after the universal Judgement there shall be neither burial nor separation of the soul from the body, doth exhibit two persons representing Death and Hell, which are thrown into the lake of fire, as resigning up their Office to it, and being swallowed up therein, according to that of the Prophet Hosea, Chap. 15.14. O death, I will be thy plague; O Hell (so it is in the Hebrew, and not Grave) I will be thy destruction.

Besides the books of the Old and New Testament, which are the rule by which the actions of men; that have had some form of Religion delivered by God, shall at length be examined, there is yet another Book open­ed in the day of judgement, to wit, the Book of life, wherein whosoever have not their names written, are said [Page 118]to be cast into the Lake of fire. From whence it may be rightly concluded, that as the want of being enrolled in that Book was above in the thirteenth and also in the se­venteenth Chapters alleged, as the Cause why so many er­red most grosly in admiring and worshipping the Beast, so is it here why so many are thrown into the Lake of Fire, in that it is altogether impossible for such persons to at­tain that piety, to which the Promise of eternal Life is annexed. As for the place of the Lake of Fire that is here so much spoken of, were it part of the World it would of necessity perish with the World, which (as we have before evinced) is to be abolished. Wherefore seeing it abideth for ever, we ought in reason to conceive that it is without the compass of the World, in the Descripti­on of which the Scripture doth perpetually omit it. And hence it seemeth to be called by Christ, the outer Dark­ness, Matth. 22.13. as being without the Verge of Hea­ven and Earth.

Chap. 21. Vers. 1.

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.

The Exposition.

WHat I before said touching the orderly course held by John in setting down, his Prophecies, is here worthy again to be observed. For having in the prece­dent Chapter described the abolition of Heaven and Earth, he now mentioneth the new Heaven and the new Earth, [Page 119]that are to succeed in their place. And he therefore af­firmeth that he had seen this new Heaven and this new Earth, (though to this very day the old ones still conti­nue) because they were represented to him in a Visi­on. Thus Christ saith to his Disciples, Matth. 16.28. There be some of them that are standing here, who shall not taste of Death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom. Not that any of them were to remain alive to the end of the World, for both the Scripture and the Ecclesiastical History testifie the contrary, but be­cause about eight days after he vouchsafed to three of them a sight of that glory wherein he shall come as King to judge the World, Luke 9.27, 28, 29, 30. But for as much as many endeavour to obscure this passage of the Revelation with their forced Allegories, let us confirm the plain and literal meaning thereof by what the Scripture elsewhere speaketh concerning this mat­ter. The Apostle Peter describing the Day of Judge­ment, and the alteration that shall happen to the World thereby, telleth the pious Jews to whom he directeth his Letters, that the Day of the Lord will come as a Thief in the Night, in the which the Heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat, the Earth also and the Works therein shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the Heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we ac­cording to his Promise, look for new Heavens and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness, 2 Epist. 3.10, 11, 12, 13. Is it possible that any thing should more plainly and positively be delivered, to shew that the Heavens and the Earth, which now are, shall be dissolved by Fire, and abo­lished, and new Heavens together with a new Earth be [Page 120]created of God in their room? Yea, was not this Do­ctrine long before taught by two sacred Writers of the Old Testament, to the latter of which the words of Peter (whilest he speaketh of Gods Promise touching a new Hea­ven and a new Earth) seem to relate? For the divine Au­thour of the 102. Psalm, directing his speech to God, saith in the 25. and 26. Verses thereof, Of old thou hast laid the Foundation of the Earth: and the Heavens are the Work of thine Hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt en­dure, yea, all of them shall wax old like a Garment: as a Ve­sture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. Which passage doth not onely tell us in plain words that the Heavens and the Earth shall perish, but with all inti­mate that new Heavens and a new Earth shall be created, whilest it saith, that God shall change the Heavens and the Earth, when grown old, as a Vesture. For in the change of an old Vesture, a new one is taken in its stead. Likewise the Prophet Isaiah, Chap. 65.17. bringeth in God, saying, Behold, I create new Heavens, and a new Earth: and the former shall not be remembred, nor come into minde; and Chap. 66.22. God, to comfort the Jews, speaketh thus, As the new Hea­vens and the new Earth, which I will make, shall remain before me: so shall your seed and your name remain. Are not three such Witnesses as these sufficient to confirm the Exposi­tion that we have given on the foresaid passage of the Re­velation? yea, doth not the very close of the Verse evince it, when it is said, The Sea is no more? For seeing in the World to come there is no place for Commerce and Traf­fique, to what purpose should there be any Sea, which ser­veth for a more easie and compendious passage from one Countrey to another, that so Men may be supplyed with such Commodities as they want? But if any one here object that he cannot imagine any more need of a new Heaven and a new Earth, than of a new Sea, I answer, that it doth not therefore follow that they are all alike, in [Page 121]that it is expresly denyed that there shall be any more Sea, but on the contrrary it is plainly affirmed that there shall be a new Heaven and a new Earth. Neither hath God left us wholly ignorant concerning the use of the new Earth, (and consequently of the new Heaven, which will in likeli­hood be subservient thereunto, as the old Heaven is to the old Earth) as appeareth from the words of the Apostle Paul, Rom. 8.19, 20, 21, 22. where he saith, The earnest ex­pectation of the Creature waiteth for the Manifestation of the Sons of God. For the Creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope: Because the Creature it self also shall be deli­vered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the Children of God. For we know that the whole Creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Now seeing the Creatures that here expect so earnestly and groan to be delivered from vanity, are twice plainly distin­guished from the Saints and Children of God, is it not thereby manifest that the other living Creatures which God created, shall, after the Saints are once clothed with immortality, be (though not in their former Indivi­duals, yet in others of the same kinde) made immortal as well as they, and consequently live upon the new Earth, or can any other sense be put upon the words of Paul, without running into Absurdities?

Vers. 2. And I John saw the holy City, new Je­rusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband.

In the same manner that John had before seen the new Heaven and the new Earth, doth he here see the new Jeru­salem: onely this Jerusalem is already in being, and there­fore [Page 122]called New, because it is so to the Saints when ad­mitted thereinto in the life to come. Thus Paul, before Ananias was in very deed come to him, had already seen him in a vision entring in and laying his hand upon him, that he might receive his sight. Acts 9.11, 12. But for­asmuch as the knowledge or the New Jerusalem is of so great importance, without which neither can the happi­ness of the saints be rightly apprehended, nor their faith, as wanting a solid foundation, be firm and stable, we will evince out of the Scripture that by the New Jerusa­lem is not meant the Church, but (as it is here expresly termed) a City which God hath reserved in heaven for the Saints. To omit therefore the observation, that may to this effect be rightly deduced from the very name of Jerusa­lem, which being in the Hebrew of the dual number, sign fieth that there are two Cities known by that appel­lation,, the Testimonies taken out of the divine Author to the Hebrews, will abundantly confirm our assertion. For he saith, Chap. 11.9, 10. By faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange countrey, dwelling in Tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a City which hath founda­tions, whose builder and maker is God. Certainly a City that is opposed to Tabernacles, as having foundations whereof they are destitute, and whose builder and maker is God himself, is a City truly and properly so called. Again in the 13.14, 15. and 16. verses of the same Chap­ter he speaketh thus, All these, (namely Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) died in faith, not having received the promi­ses, but having seen them a far of, and were perswaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a countrey. And truly if they had been mindful of that countrey, from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned, [Page 123]but now they desire abetter countrey, that is an heavenly, where­fore God is not ashamed to be called their God: For he hath prepared for them a City. You see by this that God hath provided for the Saints a City, which is their heavenly Countrey; and that the Patriarchs believed and longed for the same, although they had received no promises of it, but only seen them a far off, and that they shewed their faith and longing by confessing themselves to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth. How much then doth their practice condem many Christians, who having received express promises of such a City and Kingdome, are so far from longing after it, as that they deny that there is any such place, turning it into an allegory and meer notion! The same divine Author further saith, Chap. 12.22, 23. Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an in­numerablt company of Angels; To the general assembly and Church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. In which words the heavenly Jerusalem is not only distinguished, but also parted from the Church, by the interposal of another thing, to which we have access in the Gospel, to wit, the myriads of Angels, so that there remaineth no tergiversation, but that the New Jerusalem and the Church of God must of necessity be acknow­ledged for two different things. Finally he saith Chap. 13.13.14. Let us go forth unto him, (that is, Christ Jesus) without the camp, bearing his reproach: For here we have no continuing City, but we seek one to come. Here also the City is distinguished from the Church, for none can deny that they which seek for that City to come are the Church, whereas the City it self is the thing sought for. It further appeareth from the first clause of this fourteenth verse, to which the second hath relation, that a City truly and properly so called is here meant. But were all [Page 124]these Testimonies laid aside, the very descent of the New Jerusalem out of heaven (whereby the New heaven is to be understood, as the foregoing verse doth shew) sufficiently argueth, that not the Church, but a City is thereby intended. For the Church consisting of faithful men and women, that were both generated and regene­rated on the earth, and there have their continual abode, cannot without great absurdity be said to descend out of heaven, much less out of the New heaven, which is not yet in being. Moreover the description of the New Je­rusalem, set down in this and the following Chapter, will fully evidence to us both how truly I affirm it to be a very City, and also how aptly John compareth it to a Bride, that is dressed and adorned for her husband.

Vers. 3. And 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.

Vers. 4. 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 voice that is here heard out of heaven, and which in likelyhood, proceedeth from Angels, (for God is brought in speaking immediately after, and Angels are elsewhere found to congratulate the salvation of men, Luke 2.10, 11, 13, 14.) confirmeth what I before asserted, that by the New Jerusalem is meant a place, and not [Page 125]the Church or people of God: for it is stiled, upon the descent thereof out of heaven, the Tabernacle of God that is with men, and so is a thing different from the men themselves, of whom the Church consisteth. Again, though the Church be sometimes in the Scripture known by the name of a Temple, yet have I not met with any instance where it is called a Tabernacle. Nor is it absurd that the New Jerusalem, though a City that hath foun­dations, should here be termed a Tabernacle; for being described as descending down from God out of heaven, it doth (contrary to other Cities) remove from place to place, as Tabernacles or Tents are wont to do. The pri­viledge that they enjoy, who are admitted into this Ta­bernacle, is to have the very person of God among them. For so much is signified by those words, wherein it is said, God himself shall be with them: which also intimate that during the state of this life God himself is not with his people, however his favour and assistance be with them. Neither let any one check at that expression of mine touching the person of God, for it is borrowed from Heb. 1.3. Where Christ is called the express Image of his person. When God shall thus be present with the Saints in the New Jerusalem, he shall thereby become their God or Sovereign benefactour in the most perfect manner. For if according to the intimation of the divine Author to the Hebrews, Chap. 11.16. God be called the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, because he hath prepared for them a City, how much better may he be called their God, when he vouchsafeth to them the enjoyment both of that City, and also of his own per­sonal presence therein? For seeing that in his presence there is fulness of joy, as David testifieth, Psalm 16.11. it must needs come to pass that the Saints shall by the means thereof be exempted from all misery whatsoever, and (as it is here expressed) neither weep, nor sorrow, [Page 126]nor cry, nor suffer either death, or pain any more, be­cause the former state and condition of men, wherein all these things had place, is now quite done away. Where let it by the way be marked, that when it is in the Text said, There shall be no more death, this doth of it self put it out of doubt, that what is here spoken of men, con­cerneth not this life, but that which is to come, according to the testimony of Christ himself, who telleth us in the Gospel according to Luke, Chap. 20.35, 36. That they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that other world, and the resurrection from the dead, are also the persons that cannot die any more.

Vers. 5. And he that sat upon the throne, said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful.

Vers. 6. And he said unto me, It is done, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end: I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the Water of life freely.

Vers. 7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Vers. 8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whore­mongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The making of all things new, is altogether necessary to the happiness of the Saints; yet seeing this was a thing, which for the greatness thereof was likely to finde but little credit amongst men (as we by experience finde it come to pass) God is not content with what others from heaven had spoken of it, but doth himself say to John, Behold, I make all things new; and not only so, but com­mandeth John to write the same, that it may remain upon Record for ever, alledging this as the reason, namely because the words which both he himself and others had uttered concerning this matter were true and faithful. Which Epithets are not therefore used by God, that he might only signifie that there was no falshood in the words aforesaid, (for then what will become of the emphasis that lieth in the word these, it being impossible that any speech proceeding from God should be false?) but rather to intimate that there was nothing in them obscure and uncertain, as it fareth with sundry other sayings of God, which are very doubtful and hard to be understood. Thus when Daniel had declared to Nebu­chadnezzar very plainly, both his dream and the inter­pretation thereof, he saith in the close of his speech, (as the Greek version, not varying from the Original Syriack, hath it, [...], that is, The dream is true, and the interpretation thereof faithful, or sure, Chap. 2.45. It is also said Chap. 8.26. after that the visions hapning to Daniel at evening on his bed, and in the morning when he was risen up from thence, had been fully explained, the vision of the evening and the morning, which was told, is true. Finally when Daniel Chap. 7. had seen certain visions, and was at first troubled about the sence of them, but afterwards understood it, he writeth thus, verse 16.17, 18, 19. I came neer unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this, so he told me and made me how the interpretation of the [Page 128]things These great Beasts, which are four, are four Kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the Saints of the most high shall take the Kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others. From whence it is evident that to know the truth of visions, is to understand the interpretation, and meaning of them. Wherefore to return to the foresaid passage of the Revelation, when it is said, These words are true and faithful, it is all one as if it had been said, These words are plain, and certain, and to be taken as they sound: and consequently such as go about to turn the prophecy touching the New heaven and the New earth, and the descent of the New Jerusalem, and the making of all things new into an allegory, do exceedingly erre from the true and genuine meaning thereof. But God hath not yet ceased to inculcate the making of all things new, because of the infinite consequence thereof. Where­fore to shew how certain the same is, he speaketh of it though to come, as if it were already past, saying, it is done: he also backeth it with a strong reason, the better to imprint the belief thereof, in the minds of men, whilest he saith that he is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The connexion of which reason with the thing to be proved thereby, is this, that seeing God is not wont, like frail and fickle man to do his work by halfes, but throughly to effect them, it cannot be but that having once begun the salvation of the Saints, he should at length accomplish the same, and in order thereunto make all things new. God having thus fully declared his purpose to make all things new, doth afterwards invite men to come and partake of the water of life freely, without money and without price. The fountain, where this water springeth, is in the beginning of the following Chapter said to be the throne of God and the Lamb, and therefore we are not to understand any water figuratively [Page 129]so taken, but such as being received into the body, caus­eth eternal Life in those that drink it. But the Invitation to drink of this Water is made to none by God, save such as thirst after it, and so have an ardent desire to en­joy the benefit of the same. What shall we then say to those, who are so far from longing to drink of this Wa­ter, that they believe there is no such thing, turning all that is said thereof into an Allegory? In the next place God promiseth to them that overcome, that they shall in­herit all things, namely, both the Heaven and the Earth that now are, and also those that are to come. For they (as I have before shewn) being such as lay down their Lives for the Gospel, have a Privilege above others that dy in the Lord, in that they are admitted to reign with Christ in Heaven long before the general Resurrection, and so like him are the Heirs of all things, and Sons of God in a more perfect manner than the rest of the Faith­full, who though they enjoy eternal Life with Christ, yet are not vouchsafed the Honour to sit with him in his Throne. See Chap. 3.21. But as God is the God or sove­raign Benefactour of those that suffer Death for the Con­firmation of the Truth; so on the contrary, such as dare not out of cowardice to partake in the afflictions of the Go­spel, or refuse to believe therein, or are filthy in their con­versation, or unjustly deprive others of their Life, or de­file themselves with Women, or use the confederacy of evil spirits to produce marvellous effects, or worship either false Gods, or the true God in a false manner, by Images which they make to themselves, or have guile in their mouth, not speaking as they mean, have their por­tion assigned of God unto them in the Lake of Fire, which is here again said to be the second Death, and that suitably enough. For if the place wherein the Saints en­joy everlasting pleasure, is in the Scripture called by the name of Life, (as appeareth by the Collation of Mark 9.47. [Page 130]with Math. 18.9. In the former of which it is said, It is better having but one Eye to enter into the Kingdom of God: In the latter, It is better having but one Eye to enter into Life:) In like manner may Hell-fire, wherein the wicked feel everlasting pain, be styled by the name of Death.

Vers. 9. And there came unto me one of the se­ven Angels, which had the seven Vials full of the seven last Plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the Bride, the Lambs Wife.

10. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high Mountain, and shewed me that great City, the holy Jerusalem, descend­ing out of Heaven from God.

John had above said that he had seen the new Jerusa­lem, but neither told us how he came to have a sight there­of, nor gave us a particular Description of that goodly Fabrick, both which he doth now perform. For as to the first, he saith, that one of the seven Angels that had the seven Vials full of the seven last Plagues, (and therefore in all likelihood the same that had formerly shewn him the Judgement of the great Whore, Chap. 17.1.) came and spake with him, offering to shew him the Bride the Lambs Wife. But here they that do by a mystical Interpreta­tion turn the new Jerusalem into the Church, think they have gotten an impregnable place wherein to secure them­selves, especially seeing the Revelation doth elsewhere con­fessdly style the Church by the name of the Lambs Wife, Chap. 19.7. But they that argue thus, do not in the mean time perceive, that when in the 7. Verse of the 19. [Page 131] Chapter mention had been made of the Lambs Wife, it is in the following Verse subjoyned, that it was to her grant­ed, that she should be arrayed in fine Linen, clean and white. For the fine Linen is the Righteousness of the Saints. So that the Scripture it self thereby directeth us by the Lambs Wife in the said place to understand the Church, howbeit not the Church abiding on the Earth (of which the Ad­versaries speak) but reigning with Christ in Heaven; whereas, when in the ninth Verse of this 21. Chapter the Angel promiseth to shew unto John the Lambs Wife, he presently after presents to his view a great City descend­ing out of Heaven from God. Which doth sufficiently teach us, that by the Lambs Wife here is not as formerly meant the Church, but a very City, wherein the Saints shall hereafter dwell. For though the Wife of Christ doth by a more exact Metaphor signifie the Church, yet doth not this hinder, but that by a less exact one, the City also to which the Church hath relation, may be signified by the same, yea, nothing is more usual in the Scripture, (as I have before proved) than to represent Cities under the notion of Women. Thus we saw that the polluted and foul City of Rome was called an Harlot, Chap. 17. why then may not that holy and undefiled City, the new Jeru­salem be styled the Lambs Wife? By this means we come to the right understanding of that passage, Gal. 4.26. The Jerusalem that is above, is free, which is the Mother of us all. For in as much as the heavenly Jerusalem is not onely inseparably annexed to Christ, but also at his disposal, and so elegantly called his Wife, she must needs be the Mother of all Christians, who are both regenerated by the proposal thereof, and designed to be the Inhabi­tants of the same.

In the next place he saith, that the Angel carried him away in the spirit to a great and high Mountain, (from whence a fairer Prospect might be had) and shewed him that great [Page 132]City, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God. The beauty and excellency whereof he doth de­scribe, first in saying that it had the glory of God. And lest any one should think that the glory of God, which doth enlighten the new Jerusalem, was like to the dazzling and offensive splendour of the Sun, upon whom neither are Men able to look, nor endure his heat, John telleth us that the Luminary thereof (so the Greek word [...] signi­fieth) is like unto a stone most precious, even a Jasper-stone clear as Crystall, (which casteth a most chearing light on such as behold it.)

2. He saith that it hath a great and high Wall, wherein are twelve Gates, and at the Gates twelve Angels, and names written thereon, which are those of the twelve Tribes of the Children of Israel. Three of which Gates look towards the East, and three towards the North, three towards the South, and three towards the West. All which is so plain, that it needeth no Interpretation. Onely let it be observed how God vouchsafeth to the Israelites especial honour, above any other Nation under Heaven, as having inscribed the names of the twelve Patriarchs, (from whom their several Tribes are denominated) upon the Gates of the heavenly Jerusalem. From whence it may be collected, that God ordained those Patriarchs to Salvation from the begin­ning. For it would be ridiculous to imagine, that God would write the names of such men on the Gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, as were not to have any portion therein. And this affordeth another collection (whereby that is confirmed which we formerly discoursed upon the 8. Verse of the 17. Chapter) that all who are to inherit the heavenly Jerusalem, were by name appointed thereunto from the Foundation of the World. For what reason is conceivable, why God should in this manner design the twelve Patriarchs, and not likewise all the rest of the Ci­tizens? By such an account all would not be alike be­holding [Page 133]to God for their Salvation; which is absurd.

3. He saith that the Wall of the City hath twelve Founda­tions, whereon are written the names of the Lambs twelve Apostles. Here therefore what I even now noted touch­ing the Inscription of mens names upon the Gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, doth not onely recurre, but is also very much confirmed, seeing the Scripture doth elsewhere plainly teach, that the Apostles are to be saved. For Christ saith unto them, Luke 22.28, 29. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me. So that the Doctrine touching the Ordination of a certain num­ber of men by name to eternal life, from the Foundation of the World, seemeth by these two Instances to be clear­ly proved.

Vers. 15. And he that talked with me, had a gol­den Reed to measure the City, and the Gates thereof, and the Wall thereof.

16. And the City lieth four-square, and the length is as large as the breadth; and he measured the City with the Reed, twelve thousand Furlongs; the length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal.

The Description of the City still goeth on: for to the end we might know the dimensions thereof, the Angel that here talks with John, having a golden Reed in his hand doth measure both the City it self, and also the Gates together with the Wall thereof. But for as much as the highness of the Gates is not afterwards set down, we must needs remain ignorant thereof, and ought to content our selves with the measure of the Wall, wherein [Page 134]it is contained. The City therefore lying four-square, (for that is the fittest Figure for rest, as Roundness best agreeth with Motion) is twelve thousand Furlongs broad, twelve thousand long, and twelve thousand high, (which after the proportion of eight Furlongs to a Mile, maketh fifteen hundred Miles every way) and therefore it might well above be called the great City. And indeed the compass thereof ought to be very large, in that it is to contain all the Faithful that ever were from the beginning of the World to the end thereof. As for the Wall, it is a hundred forty four Cubits, after the Cubit of a Man; in whose similitude the Angel here appeareth. But the Cu­bit of an ordinary man, from the elbow to the top of the middle finger, is accounted half a yard, and so the Wall is seventy two yards. But in as much as it is not here expressed, whether this measure pertaineth to the height, or to the thickness thereof, (for as for the length it must needs be greater than that of the City it self which the Wall doth encompass) it will be best to refer it unto both, and so to reckon the Wall seventy two yards high, and as many broad. By which means that will be verified which was before spoken of it, namely, that it was great and high. The matter whereof this Wall is made, as to the main Body thereof, is said to consist of Jasper, which is a stone most precious, and casting a most delicate lustre, otherwise the Luminary of the City would not have been like to it. The Foundations of the Wall being in number twelve, consist of twelve different precious Stones, which are here particularly named. But seeing it is hard (if not impossible) for us exactly to distin­guish and describe the same; (as the jarring of those that have written of them doth imply) nor would the right di­stinction of them, if attained, advance our spiritual edifi­cation, in that it appeareth not from the Text, that any Mystery lyeth couched under them, I will omit any long­er [Page 135]discourse of them, and hasten to that which is further related concerning the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem. The twelve Gates thereof are said to consist of one intire Pearl a piece, and the City it self together with the Street thereof to be of pure Gold, transparent as Glass; which is of such rarity, as neither Nature nor Art is able to ef­fect. Otherwise the Vessels that are made of Gold, would be of far greater beauty, than now they are. And though Temples are wont exceedingly to grace the Cities where­in they stand, yet is the heavenly Jerusalem so ordered, as that having no Temple, it is not a whit defective in beau­ty for that, in as much as the Lord God Almighty toge­ther with the Lamb supplyeth the place of a Temple, adorning the City with his illustrious presence infinitely more than any Temple could do. For there is no compa­rison between the beauty of any Temple, though built by God, and that of God himself; which made the Pro­phet Zechary to cry out, How great is his beauty! Chap. 9.17. Accordingly the Hebrew word [...] recorded among the proper names of God, is by interpretation the beautiful one, as being most aptly derived from [...] which signifi­eth to be beautiful, agreeable, and comely. Moreover, as for the beauty of Christ, the Lamb of God, that is amply set forth in the first Chapter of this Prophecy, to which I re­fer the Reader for further satisfaction herein. But as God and Christ supply the place of a Temple in adorning the heavenly Jerusalem, so also do they of the Sun and Moon in enlightning of it, and so render such kindes of Luminaries altogether useless to that City. In which light of the new Jerusalem, that streameth from God and Christ, and is of a more pure and exhilarating nature than that of the Sun and Moon, shall the Nations and Multi­tudes of them that are saved, converse. For that the word Nation here used, doth elsewhere also in the Scripture sometimes denote no other than a Company or Multitude, [Page 136]and not all the People dwelling in the compass of such a Countrey, or derived from such an Ancestour, is evident from that passage of Peter, 1 Epist. 2.9. where writing to the believing Jews of the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he saith, Ye are a chosen Ge­neration, a royal Priesthood, an holy Nation. And this pas­sage of John, wherein he saith, that the Nations of them that are saved, shall walk in the light of the new Jerusalem, doth plainly put a difference between the Church and her. For the Nations of them that are saved, are the Church, and therefore the new Jerusalem, in whose light they walk, is the place of their abode, and so a City, as it is here again and again entituled. To render which City yet more glorious, it is said, that the Kings of the Earth shall bring their glory and honour thereinto. For in as much as the virtue of pious Kings, both for the difficulty that there is in attaining and exercising the same, because of the extraordinary Temptations to which their condi­tion doth expose them, and also for the great influence it hath upon the World, doth far exceed that of other men; hence it is that God, who renders to all men according to their Works, will at the last Day confer a greater measure of glory and honour upon such Kings, and therefore their lustre will in a signal manner adorn the new Jerusalem. Howbeit the glory and honour of the Nations that are saved, when it also (as it is here written) shall be brought into the new Jerusalem, will add no little splendour thereunto. Moreover, the Gates of this City shall never be shut. For seeing the Gates of Cities are wont to be shut at night onely, and here shall be perpetual Day, in that the glory of God doth enlighten it without intermis­sion, there is no place left for the shutting of the Gates belonging to the new Jerusalem. But though the Gates ly continually open, yet shall not all persons whatsoever enter thereinto. For whosoever, having been of a vici­ous [Page 139]life, and addicted either to Debauchery or Lying, would by his abode defile that holy place, he is debarred entrance thereinto, and such onely admitted who have been pure and undefiled in their ways; which Purity is here intimated by saying, that they are written in the Lambs Book of Life, and consequently the Cause why any man attaineth Holiness of Life, is the enrolling of his name in the Book of Life, to which agreeth that of the Apostle Paul, Ephes. 1.4. According as he hath chosen us in him be­fore the Foundation of the World, that we should be holy and unblameable before him in love. The Apostle doth not here say, that they were chosen, because God foresaw they would be holy, but to the end they might be so. He also speaketh to the same purpose, 2 Tim. 1.9. where he saith, God hath saved us, and called us with an holy Cal­ling, not according to our Works, (and therefore not of foreseen good Works,) but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the World began.

Chap.22. Vers. 1.

And he shewed me a pure River of Water of Life, clear as Crystall, proceeding out of the Throne of God, and of the Lamb.

The Exposition.

JOhn going forward in the description of the new Jerusa­lem and the things thereto pertaining, doth here speak of the Water of Life, which God had before promised to give freely unto such, as thirsted after it, and which caus­eth [Page 138]eternal Life in the Drinkers of it. This Water must needs be properly taken, in that all the Circumstances of the place evince the same. For first, the Angel sheweth to John the River thereof. But if it fall under the sight, it cannot be mystical Water, which is exposed to the ap­prehension of the understanding onely. 2. It is said of this Water, that it is clear or shining (so the Greek word [...] here used, signifieth) like unto Crystall. Where­fore seeing the very colour thereof is here set down, it must needs be Water literally so taken. 3. It proceedeth out of the Throne of God and the Lamb. But Water my­stically understood, though it may proceed from him that sitteth on the Throne, yet can it not without manifest ab­sudity be said to issue out of the Throne it self. 4. The River of this Water hath Trees growing on both sides thereof, which agreeth not to Water figuratively so ta­ken. Thus have we asserted the Doctrine touching the Water of Life plainly and properly so called, which doth not onely give light to that passage of David, Psal. 36.8, 9. but receive attestation from it, for it is there said, Thou shalt make them drink of the River of thy pleasures, for with thee is the Fountain of Life. But this River of plea­sures is here in the Revelation said to have two Springs, the one rising out of the Throne of God, the other out of the Throne of the Lamb, that we might acknowledge our selves indebted not onely to God, but also to Christ (whom God hath exalted to be a Prince and Saviour, Acts 5.31.) For the benefit of eternal Life. Suitable where­unto is that acclamation of the Saints glorified in the Kingdom of Heaven, Chap. 7.10. Salvation to our God that sitteth upon the Throne, and to the Lamb.

Vers. 2. In the midst of the Street of it, and of either side of the River, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of Fruits, and yielded her Fruit every Moneth; and the Leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the Nations.

As in the former Verse the Water of Life was shewn un­to John, so also is the Tree of Life in this Verse; which Circumstance (as I before reasoned) sufficiently argueth that it is a Tree plainly and properly so called, otherwise it could not have been presented to his view. Again, this Tree is said to grow in a certain place, namely, in the midst of the Street pertaining to the new Jerusalem, and on each side of the River, that runneth through the same. But this never cometh to pass when the Tree of Life is to be figuratively understood. See Prov. 3.18. Wisdom is a Tree of Life to them that lay hold upon her. And Chap. 11.30. The Fruit of the Righteous is a Tree of Life. And Chap. 13.12. When the Desire cometh it is a Tree of Life. And Chap. 15.4. A wholesom Tongue is a Tree of Life. In all which Texts the Tree of Life being confessedly taken after a figurative manner, there is no place mentioned where it groweth. Whereas in the Revelation the place of its growth is also expressed, as appeareth both from the passage under discussion, and from the 14. Verse of the same Chap. where it is said, Blessed are they that do his Com­mandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in t [...]ough the Gates into the City. And also from the 7. Vers. of the 2. Chap. where Christ saith to the Angel of the Ephesine Church, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise [Page 140]of God. Which last passage doth further confirm our assertion, in that it stileth the heavenly Jerusalem, (for that we were even now taught to be the place where the tree of life groweth) by the name of the paradise of God. For the true signification of a Paradise is an Orchard or Garden set with fruit trees, as appeareth from Eccles. 2.5. Where the Greek version runneth thus , [...]. That is, I made me Gardens and Orchards, and planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits. Thus that Garden or Orchard which God planted in Eden, for Adam, is descri­bed in this manner, Gen. 2.9. Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow, every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden. Where the Greek version hath the same words that are used by Christ in the second Chapter of the Revelation, namely, [...]. So that none can with reason deny that there was a tree of life plainly and properly so called, which grew in the earthly Paradise or Orchard, where God placed Adam: no more may he deny that there is such a Tree in the heavenly Paradise or Orchard, the New Jerusalem. It is further here told us, (to the end we should rest in the plain and obvious sence of the place) that the Tree of life beareth a different kinde of fruit every moneth, which must needs tend to the great delight of them that shall eat there­of, in that men are much taken with the variety of their food: where by the way let it be observed, that the Tree of life is the measure of time in the world to come, for putting forth twelve sorts of fruits successively, it maketh the twelve moneths, and consequenrly the year that con­sisteth of them. But it will perhaps be objected, in opposition to what I affirm out of this Chapter, about eating and drinking in the New Jerusalem, that Paul 1 Cor. 6.13. saith, Meats for the belly, and the belly for [Page 141]meats, but God shall destroy both it and them.

To which I answer that Paul speaketh of worldly meats, and that vessel which God hath made in the natural body to receive them, so that this pertaineth not to the spi­ritual body, (whereof mention is made in the same Epistle, Chap. 15.44.) nor to those heavenly cates, whereof John here discourseth. For certainly that there shall be eating and drinking in the kingdom of heaven, is elsewhere so plainly delivered, that interpreters shew themselves ridiculous, whilst they go about to impose another sence upon the words. Hear therefore what Christ himself saith, Luke 22.15.16, 17, 18. I have exceedingly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. And he took the cup and gave thanks, and said, take this, and divide it among your selves. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come. Doth not this place signifie that Christ shall eat of an heavenly passover with his Disciples, as he did of an earthly one a little before his death, and shall also drink wine with them? To the same purpose he speaketh to them afterwards, in the 28.29. and 30. verses of the same Chapter, saying, Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto yon a Kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me: That ye may eat and drink with me in my Kingdom. And also Math. 26.29. saying, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Fathers Kingdom. Doth not this shew, (as I before argued out of Luke) that Christ shall drink with his Disciples new wine in the kingdom of God, as for­merly he drank old wine with them at his last supper be­fore his death, and consequently the tree of life is for one moneth a vine, yielding a liquor so excellent, that it needeth not age to bring it to perfection, but being only [Page 142]pressed out of the grapes into the cup, is the most rich and delicate wine that can be imagined? but the tree of life affordeth to the Nations of them that are saved, (for only such Nations are here understood, as appeareth from the four and twentieth verse of the precedent Chap­ter) it doth, I say, afford not only meat and drink but medicine also. For when any distemper beginneth to creep on the Citizens of the New Jerusalem, the leaves of this tree being used, do discharge the same. By which means they remain for ever free from sickness and death. Howbeit the manner how these leaves are used, whether they be inwardly taken, (which is the more probable opinion) or outwardly applied, is uncertain, and so ought to be passed over, as also the business of evacuation. For there is no mention thereof in the Scrip­ture, much less of the maner wherein it should be perform­ed. So that it becometh not us to make any further in­quiry thereinto. But if any shall yet reply, and say, that what hath been spoken of meat and drink and me­dicine, to be in the New Jerusalem, doth make the future happiness of the Saints to appear somewhat gross: I an­swer, it is not for us to devise what is suitable for the con­dition of them that shal inherit the Kingdom of heaven, but to restin that which God hath prepared for them. He could no doubt have given them such an immortality as needed no outward supply, but could have sustained it self upon its own inward principles, without either meat, or drink, or medicine, but he hath thought it fit to order the mat­ter otherwise, as appeareth by the declaration that he himself hath made thereof in the Scripture. And shall we presume to be wiser than he, and accuse him as not knowing how to make his people happy in the compleat­est manner, by imagining such a felicity as is not recorded in his word, and wresting that which is there described by our exotick interpretations? Certainly seeing the [Page 143]Scripture testifieth that the foolishness of God is wiser then men, it becometh us to assent to that which he hath re­vealed, though seeming foolish to us, rather then affect­ing to be wise above what is written, to follow the groundless imaginations of our own heart.

Vers. 3. And there shall be no more curse; but the Throne of God and of the Lamb, shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.

How truly I said even now that the leaves of the tree of life shall keep the Nations of them that are saved free from sickness and death for ever, appeareth from the beginning of this verse. For when it is there said, There shall be no more curse, it is the same as if it had been said, There shall be no more utter destruction, for so the Greek word [...] which properly signifieth a curse, is wont in the Scripture to be taken. See Zech. 14.11. from whence these words in the Revelation, seem to be bor­rowed. For whereas it is there read in English, There shall be no more utter destruction, the Greek hath it [...] That is, There shall be no more curse. And lest any one should perhaps imagine that there may possibly be a difference in the signification between [...] and [...] (which latter is the word used in the Revelation) the collation of Matth. 26.74. with Mark. 14.71. in the Greek will soon remove that scruple.

Though the tree of life be a great benefit to the in­habitants of the New Jerusalem, yet is the presence of God a greater, as being better then life it self, without which indeed life is not lively, and therefore it is said that the Throne of God and the Lamb shall be in the New Jerusa­lem, namely that the Saints may enjoy his presence, and be thereby inflamed to serve and honour him with the [Page 144]greatest affection. But least any one should turn that which is here delivered concerning the Throne of God, into an allegory, because a Throne is sometimes put for Royal power, let us evince both out of the circumstances of the place, and also from other passages of the Scrip­ture, that God hath in very deed a throne in heaven. For first if by the Throne of God should here be only meant Royal power, the words would carry no emphasis with them, when it is said that the Throne of God shall be in the New Jerusalem, seeing the Royal power of God extendeth it self to all places alike. 2 The Throne of God is here as properly taken as that of Christ, whilest it is said, The Throne of God and the Lamb. But Christ being the son of man, cannot be denied to sit as a King upon a throne properly so taken. Wherefore neither can God likewise. Both which are confirmed by that passage of the divine Author to the Hebrews, Chap. 12.2. Where it is said, That Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. 3. The throne of God hath been seen, and so is properly to be understood, as those things that fall under the sence are wont to be. This is manifest from the first verse, of this Chapter, where John saith, I saw a River of water of life proceeding out of the Throne of God and the Lamb. And also from the eleventh verse of the twentieth Chapter, where the very colour of his Throne is also expressed, for so John saith, I saw a great white Throne and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And finally from that notable vision of Micajah, 1 Kings 22.19. who saith to Ahab King of Is­rael, Hear thou the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his Throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand, and on his left. 4. It is said of Christ (as we before cited it out of the Epistle of the Hebrews, Chap. 12.2.) that Christ sat down on the right hand of the Throne of God; which could not be true, were the [Page 145]Throne of God any other then a seat. 5. God is in the Book of the Revelation frequently known by the appel­lation of him that sitteth upon the throne. See Chap. 5.13. and 6.16. and 7.15. But this would be an impertinent description of God, were there in very deed no Throne in heaven whereon he sitteth. 6. God is said to have prepared his Throne in the heavens, Psalm. 103.19, which will not admit any other sence, but that he hath made there a Royal seat for himself. By all these arguments it appeareth that to say God doth not in very deed sit on a Throne in heaven, is to contradict both the Scripture, and our very senses.

Vers. 4. And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads.

That these words, They shall see the face of God, are to be taken as they sound, I have in effect already proved, by evincing out of the Scripture that God doth in very deed sit upon a Throne in heaven, before which the glorified Saints shall come and adore him. For it doth of necessity follow from thence, that they shall see his face. Neither do those words of Paul, 1 Tim. 6.16. (where speaking of God, he saith, Whom none of men hath seen, nor can see) a whit derogate from the truth of that which we assert. For he himself elsewhere, comparing the con­dition of men in this life with that which shall be in the life to come, saith, Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know, even as I am known. I Cor. 13.12. Wherefore in that fore quoted passage of Tim. he speaketh of men con­versing in this world, between whom and God there is not only a vast distance of place (forasmuch as he is in heaven and they on earth, Eccles. 5.2.) but also sundry bodies interposed obstructing their sight of him. Yea [Page 146]were they now admitted to the very person of God, their eyes were not fit of themselves to behold so spiritual and glorious an object. Whereupon the Apostle John con­cludeth 1 Epist. 3.2. That in the world to come. We shall be like unto God, because we shall see him as he is. And this passage which we have last cited together with that other of the Corinthians, gives clear attestation to our opinion, as also doth that saying of Christ, Matth. 5.8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. So that we have no need to dwell longer on this subject, we pass therefore to the second thing here mentioned, which is The inscribing of Gods name upon the forehead of the Saints. This is performed by Christ, as he himself testi­fieth Chap. 3.12. (where speaking to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia, he saith, Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God) and it denoteth that they are the ministers of God, and so are continually to serve him in his Temple. Thus (as we have above discoursed) the name of the Beast was set upon the foreheads of men to signifie that they were such as served and worshipped him. Neither can any man alledge a sufficient reason why this also shall not be fulfilled according to the letter of the holy Text.

Vers. 5 And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever.

John here repeateth what he had before spoken in the one and twentieth Chapter, concerning this, that there shall be no night in the heavenly Jerusalem, nor need either of the sun or of a candle, because God is the lu­minary [Page 147]thereof. For inasmuch as God dwelleth in light, 1 Tim. 6.16. and covereth himself with light as with a garment, Psalm. 104.2. Yea is light it self, having no darkness at all in him, 1 John 1.5. and shall abide with the Saints continually, 1 Thes. 4.17. It cannot otherwise be, but that he should by his presence make perpetual day in the New Jerusalem. As for the Reign of the Saints, mentioned in the close of this verse, it cannot be under­stood of ruling over the Nations, for that ceaseth after the day of judgement: wherefore it is meant of their Reigning in life, as the Apostle Paul phraseth it, Rom. 5.17. and so of reigning over death for ever, as death had for some time reigned over them.

Vers. 6. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his Angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

This is the third time that either God himself, or the Angels confirm the plain literal, and down right mean­ing of those things that are spoken concerning the New Jerusalem, and the happiness of such as are to dwell there­in. For I have before proved, Chap. 21.5. that when it is said, These sayings are faithful and true, it is all one as if it had been said, These sayings are evident and certain, and such as do of themselves leave no place for dispute. To esta­blish which exposition of mine, consider further that the Apostle Paul doth in four several places, namely, 1 Tim. 1.15. and Chap. 3.1. and Chap. 4.9. and Titus 3.8. tell us that such a point is a faithful saying, when the thing whereof he speaketh, conteineth in it self no hard and [Page 148]mystical sence, but is to be understood according to the plain purpose of the words. Why then should we prefer the imaginations of men before the express language of the Scripture, and adhere to such interpretations of this prophecy, as have no other ground but the bare word of those that obtrude them? When the Angel further ad­deth that the Lord God of the holy prophets, sent his Angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done; this ought not to be understood of the same Angel that here talketh with John, otherwise he would rather have said, The Lord God of the holy prophets hath sent me. Again, the things which this Angel shewed to John, are so far from being done shortly after, that they are not as yet come to pass. Wherefore this saying, (as will easily ap­pear from the same words used in both places) hath relation to that other Angel which is mentioned in the very entrance of the Revelation, and who shewed such things to John, as began a little after to be put in execu­tion. Set Chap. 3.10. where it is said, Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the wold, to try them that dwell upon the earth. See also the opening of the Seals, whereof we read in the sixth Chapter.

Vers. 7. Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Here the Angel, speaking in the person of Christ, saith, Behold, I come quickly; which is not meant of that notable coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and the dead, for the event sheweth it to be otherwise, inasmuch as to this very day he is not come in that manner: wherefore he speaketh of some [Page 149]nearer and more improper Coming, namely, when he would visit the lnhabitants of the World, for their wicked­ness, by bringing a great calamity upon them. And such a Coming of Christ hapned in the days of Domitian the Emperour, not long after the Penning of this Prophecy, which I have before proved in the Exposition of the 17. Chapter to have been written in the Reign of Vespasian the Emperour of Rome. Which Judgement, to be inflict­ed on the whole World in the Reign and by the Hands of that cruel Monster Domitian, when Christ had foretold to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia, Chap. 3.10. He useth the same words in the following Verse, that he doth here. For thus the whole passage soundeth, Because thou hast kept the Word of my Patience, I also will keep thee from the Hour of Temptation, which shall come upon all the World, to try them that dwell upon the Earth. Behold, I come quickly. Now that Christ is said to come, when he executeth Judgement on any persons for their Faults, is manifest from his own words in sundry places of the Revelation. See Chap. 2.5. where he saith to the Angel of the Ephe­sine Church, Remember from whence thou art fallen, and re­pent, and do the first Works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove the Candlestick out of its place, ex­cept thou repent. And Verse 16. of the same Chapter, where he saith to the Angel of the Church in Pergamus, Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the Sword of my Mouth. And Chap. 3.3. where he saith to the Angel of the Church in Sardis, Re­member how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a Thief, and thou shalt not know what Hour I will come up­on thee. By this we see how appositely Christ subjoyn­eth, after the mention of his speedy Coming, that he is happy, who keepeth the Sayings of the Prophecy of this Book. For whosoever did so, should be hid in the Day of Christ's [Page 150]Anger, when he executed Judgement upon the Disobe­dient and Wicked, as he promiseth to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia, in the fore-quoted place, Revel. 3.10.

Vers. 8. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the Feet of the An­gel, which shewed me these things.

9. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not; for I am thy Fellow-servant, and of thy Bre­thren the Prophets, and of them which keep the Sayings of this Book: worship God.

The things which John had heard and seen, by means of this Angel, were so superlatively great and glorious, and John himself was withall so interessed in them, (for being one of the Lambs twelve Apostles, he saw his own name written on the Wall of the new Jerusalem) that be­ing ravished therewith, he forgets himself, falling down before the feet of the Angel to worship him, although he had formerly been checkt for doing so. Which action of John, though not free from blame, hath yet something in it very laudable, namely, the setting of so high a value on the knowledge of excellent things, and consequently on those persons that discover them. When I consider this in my minde, and withall observe how far Christians ge­nerally are from having any certain notion of that happi­ness, which God hath prepared for them that love him, embracing meer fancies in the stead thereof, I conclude that some respect is likewise due to such as vindicate the holy Scripture, where it treateth of this matter, from those false Glosses that men have so long imposed on [Page]them. For the right understanding of the Text in this point, is of sovereign use, and tendeth much to encourage Christians onto piety, as filling their mindes with a more firm and lively apprehension of that glory, which they through so many difficulties do aspire unto. And there­fore Paul doth very wisely intercede with God in the be­half of the Saints at Ephesus, that they might know what is the hope of his calling, Ephes. 1.18. lest having an uncertain knowledge of the Prize, they should but faintly run that Race, which God had set before them. But as we learn from the carriage of John, to esteem highly of them, that do in a true and accurate manner represent to us the glory of the World to come, so should the Example of the An­gel direct us to refuse all excessive Honours, though given by those whom we have by special favours obliged to us. For by this means we shall preserve the Prerogative of God entire, which we ought to have continually in our Eye.

Vers. 10. And he saith unto me, Seal not the Sayings of the Prophecy of this Book, for the time is at hand.

When the Prophet Daniel had seen certain Visions concerning that which was a long time after to be per­formed, he is commanded to shut them up, and seal the Book wherein they should be written, Dan. 8.26. & Ch. 12.4. But here the Angel doth on the contrary charge John, that he seal not the words of the Prophecy of this Book, alleging this as the reason thereof, Because the time was at hand. For the case being so, it much concerned the People of God to be acquainted with the Revelation, that they might in time prepare themselves, & by that means avoid a surprisal. Yet must we not therefore imagine that all the things foretold in this Book, were in a short time to be [Page]fulfilled, (for the very 20. Chapter doth abundantly refute such a conceit, there being in it the History of above a thousand years) but onely that they should ere long begin to be accomplished, as we have before demonstrated in the Exposition of the sixth Verse.

Vers. 11. 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.

When Christ saith, Let him that is unrighteous, be unrighteous still; and let him that is filthy, be filthy This is not a Command (otherwise these unjust and filthy persons should do well whilest they went on in their wickedness) but a Commination. For seeing the means, that had already been used for the reclaiming of them from their unjust and filthy courses, had taken no effect, Christ was now resolved to deliver them over to their own hearts lusts, whereby it would come to pass, that they would afterwards proceed to a further degree of In­justice and Uncleanness. Suitable hereunto is that saying of the Angel to Daniel, in the 12. Chapter of his Prophe­cy, Verse 10. The wicked shall do wickedly. In like manner when it is said on the contrary, Let him that is righteous, be righteous still, (or be jet justified) and let him that is holy, be holy still, (or be yet sanctified) it is a Promise, whereby Christ sheweth that it is his intention to bring those, who hearkning to his Word, were become righteous and holy, unto a greater measure of Justice and Sanctity, agreeable to that Oracle of his delivered in the Gospel according to Matthew, Chap. 25.29. Unto every one that hath, shall be gi­ven, and he shall have abundance.

Vers. 12. And behold, I come quickly, and my Reward is with me, to give every man ac­cording as his Work shall be.

It was before shewn in the Exposition of the 7. Verse, that when Christ saith, Behold, I come quickly, this must not be understood of his coming at the last Day. Suit­ably hereunto neither can the Reward, that he here speak­eth of, be meant of such a Recompense as shall then be rendred unto men, but which hath place in this life, name­ly, whilest he delivers the godly out of temptation, but reserves the unjust, being punished, unto the Day of Judgement, as is signified in that fore-recited passage, Chap. 3.10, 11. where this Coming of Christ is spoken of. See also Chap. 2.22, 23.

Vers. 13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

When Christ is here called Alpha and Omega, it is pre­sently explained by saying, He is the Beginning and the End, the first and the last; for Alpha and Omega, are the Beginning and the End, the first and the last of the Greek Letters. As therefore Alpha and Omega are the beginning and the end onely in reference to a certain sort of things, so likewise doth the Comparison require that Christ should be. Neither is it so difficult a matter to finde out that, whereof Christ is the Beginning and the End. The divine Authour to the Hebrews, if we consult him, will soon inform us: for he saith, Chap. 12.2. that Jesus is the Beginner and Finisher of the Faith. Lo then, in what sense Christ is styled the Beginning and the End, namely, because he hath begun the business of the Faith, or the [Page 154] Gospel, (for so the Faith simply put is wont to signifie. See Acts 6.7. Jude 3.) and will at length accomplish the same. You see then how easie the connexion is between this Verse and that which immediately went before. For if Christ be the Beginner and Finisher of the Gospel, it must needs come to pass that he should give to every man according to his Works, because this is the main matter of the Gospel, without which all the Doctrine thereof would be to no purpose. It likewise appeareth in what sense Christ is said to be the first and the last, because in re­lation to the doing of something, none is before him that beginneth it, nor after him that endeth it; where­fore if Christ began the Gospel, (as the Scripture testifi­eth that he did) there went none before him, but he was the first; likewise if he finish it, (as he shall undoubt­edly do) there will come none after him, but he will be the lost.

Vers. 14. Blessed are they that do his Command­ments, that they may have Right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the Gates into the City.

15. For without are Dogs, and Sorcerers, and Whoremongers, and Murderers, and Ido­laters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a Lie.

To serve God and perform virtuous Actions in hope of a Reward, is a thing very lawfull, as being commended to us by the Example of holy Moses, who as the Authour to the Hebrews writeth, accounted the Reproach of Christ greater Riches than the Treasures in Egypt: for he had re­spect unto the Recompense of the Reward, Chap. 11.26. Yea, [Page 155]by the Example of one that was greater and holier than Moses, even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, who, as the said divine Writer testifieth, did for the joy that was set before him, despise the shame and endure the Cross, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God, Chap. 12.2. Neither is it onely lawfull, but altogether necessary, in that we cannot otherwise serve God in Faith, and so please him; for the foresaid Authour plainly telleth us, that without Faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, Chap. 11.6. No marvel therefore if the Angel doth here pronounce them happy, who do the Commandments of Christ to this very end, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter through the Gates into the City. Which words do beyond all gain say­ing evince that there is in very deed a Tree of Life, and also a City reserved in Heaven for the Saints, where this Tree groweth, and that the hope to eat of this Tree, and enter into this City is and ought to be the chief Spur to the performance of our duty. So that if any man shall of his own head either think to do the Commandments of Christ without having an eye to any Recompense at all, or at least shall despise the Reward here proposed as too mean for his curiosity, he is in danger to come short of happiness. It is further apparent from the Angels words, that if any man promise to himself the happiness here held forth, and yet doth not the Commandments of Christ, either because he thinketh another hath done them in his stead, and so he need not put himself to the trou­ble of doing them, or that a desire to do them is suffici­ent, or upon what other ground soever he imagineth that eternal Life may be attained upon easier terms than by doing the Commandments of Christ, he deceiveth him­self; for the Angel here telleth us plainly, that such as obey not the Gospel of Christ, but are either of a profane [Page]or snarling disposition, or are in league with evil spirits, or pollute themselves with Women, or unjustly deprive others of their life, or worship either false Gods, or the true God in a false manner, or are addicted to Lying, shall utterly be excluded from enjoying either the Tree of Life, or the holy City, the Paradise of God, where it groweth. Finally, it appeareth from the foresaid passage, that the doing of Christ's Commandments is that which giveth men a Right to eternal Life.

Vers. 16. I Jesus have sent mine Angel to testifie unto you these things in the Churches: I am the Root and the Off-spring of David, and the bright and Morning-Star.

The first clause of this Verse seemeth to have relation to that which is recorded in the first three Chapters of this Book, where Jesus sendeth his Angel unto John with In­structions to be by him communicated in writing to the seven Churches in Asia. The second sheweth the Autho­rity of Jesus over the People of God, as being the Son of David, Unto whom God had sworn with an Oath, that of the Fruit of his Loyns, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his Throne, as Peter testifieth, Acts 2.30. For when Jesus calleth himself the Root of David, we must not understand such a Root, out of which David himself did grow, for by this account Jesus will be, not the Son, but the Father of David, which is repugnant to the Scripture, and altogether unfit to shew his Authority over the Churches of God. Wherefore he is such a Root, as sprung from David, and was propagated out of his Seed. And this is taught us in the Text it self, where after that Jesus had called himself the Root of David, he doth by way of explication presently add that he was his [Page]Off-spring, The third description, which is subjoyned to the two former ones, whereof we have treated, doth further set out the dignity of Christ, declaring him to be crowned with glory and honour, and that in an eminent manner, as the morning star doth far exceed in lustre the other heavenly Lamps.

Vers. 17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say, Come. And let him that is a thirst, Come; And who­soever will, let him take the water of life freely.

In this verse there are three things remarkable, the first whereof is the desire that both the holy Spirit and the Church had to see the coming of Christ, before pro­mised, inasmuch as it would openly shew both his seve­rity towards the wicked, and his goodness towards those that had walked closely with him. The second is the command here imposed upon every one that should hear of this coming, to wish for it. The third is the invitati­on made to every one that is athirst, and earnestly aspi­reth unto happiness, to come and drink of the water of life freely. All which are of themselves plain, and need no further interpretation.

Vers. 18. For I testifie unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall adde unto these things, God shall adde unto him all the plagues that are written in this book.

Vers. 19. 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 [Page]life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Moses in the law enjoyned the children of Israel, that they should neither adde to the word which he had command­ed, nor diminish from it, Deut. 4.2. So doth Christ here deal with Christians in relation to the book of this excel­lent prophecy, ratifying his injunction with the greatest penalty that can be imagined. Now to add to the words of this book, or to diminish from them (if perhaps any man be ignorant of so easy a matter) is to insert some­thing thereunto, which was not written by John, or to race out something that was there written by him. This being so, what will become of them at the last day, who have rejected this whole book from the Canon of holy scripture, pretending it was written, not by that holy Apostle John, but by some vile person, when in the mean time the name of John is often there expressed, as the penman thereof, and the divine excellency of the things contained in the book sufficiently demonstrateth that it came originally from God? what likewise shall we think of those, who have so shamefully abused the book of this prophecy, as that they durst to make it subservient to their own passions and worldly interests, imposing such glosses on the same, as have no hint or footstep in the holy Text, and that on purpose to blacken some either person, or party, (with whom they are angry) and render them odious in the sight of all men? Certainly this is little less then adding to the prophecy, and argu­eth so small reverence to the pure and undefiled word of God, at which we ought to tremble, and withal be­wraieth so great malice towards men, as that the fifteenth verse of this very Chapter, sheweth that such interpreters will at length be excluded out of the Kingdom of heaven.

Vers. 20. He which testifieth these things, saith, [Page 159]Surely I come quickly, Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus doth here the third time mention his speedy coming, of which we have sufficiently treated: and John following the direction, that was before given him in the seventeenth verse doth beseech the Lord Jesus, that according to his promise he would come. Which passage is diligently to be observed, as strongly pressing them, who dare to deny the invocation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For it can with no forehead be denied that here is a direct prayer adderssed to him, since his ascent into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of God.

Vers. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen.

As the foregoing verse yielded us a direct prayer made to Christ, so this affordeth an oblique one. For John here requesteth that the favour of the Lord Jesus might still be put forth towards the Saints that were in Asia, to whom he directed the book of this prophecy. Wherefore let us after the example of so holy a person, pray earnestly that the same Lord Jesus would continue and multiply his favor towards all his Saints, that are dispersed through the whole world, that he would shelter them under the shadow of his wings against the rage of their enemies, and supply them as their several necessities shall require, and finally so fill them with the Spirit of grace, that they may abound in love towards one another, and towards all men.

FINIS.

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