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Paul addresses to all the disciples of Christ in the last days, that when they see the events fufilled, they may be sure that the time of the coming of the Lord is nigh, and that, as they see the fulfilment of the evil time which is to try their patience, it will be an assurance to them, that they will also see the fulfilment of the eternal joys that are promised to succeed them.
“ And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time, for the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only He who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” What withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time, is explained by St. Peter, “ The Lord is not a Peter iii. 9. slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is long suffering to usward, not will
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
When, however the time of his forbearance is expired, and they continue in their wickedness from a sole love of it, then, “ for this cause God shall 2 Thess. ii, 11. send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
“ And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom 2 Thess, ii. 8. the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and
lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." The same event is referred to Revelation xix. from the 11th verse to the end of the chapter.
Of the fiery trial that St. Peter alludes to, St. Rev. xxi.17. John mentions, “And the dragon was wroth with
the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ;” which testimony is the Holy Spirit by grace, which defends us from being overcome by the spirit of malignity, to fall from our confidence in the gospel : and thus, by our faith is the spirit of the beast subdued—our warfare being between the spirit of the reasonable man, and the brutality of our natural state.
As we are told the disciples of Christ, at the final redemption, will be progressively purged of the brutal passions which degrade them, the words of St. John become clear where he calls the passions the chaff, and all of their nature; and the
souls the wheat, which the Lord gathers unto himself, to be “their shield and exceeding great reward." After bearing their trial, he says, “ I indeed baptize you with water, but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner, but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”
" Hence may be understood—“And I saw as it Rov. IV. 2. were a sea of glass mingled with fire, and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image,” (every soul being the image of the beast without the grace by Jesus Christ)" and over his mark," (this mark is evidently the degradation the soul derives in falling from the faith at any time) “and over the number of his name:" all are of the name of the beast who are of his nature, and treat the gospel with contempt; yet, notwithstanding the troubles the disciples of the Lord have to pass through, from the tyranny of anti-christ and his adherents, we are assured they will stand firm in the faith, and overcome, and be ultimately in the pure Spirit of the Lord, and the passions under their feet—which the following words signify: “ Stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,” &c.
Hence St. Paul says, “ The God of peace shall Rom. xvi. 20. bruise. Satan under your feet shortly, (by) the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (being) with you.” “Who 1 Cor. i. 8. shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Again—" I pray God, your whole spirit and soul 1 Thess. v. 23. and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ : faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it:” and adds, " for our con- Phil. iii. 20.
versation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
The trial and victory by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ is referred to in the first part of the revelation of St. John, “ He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." The first death was in the degenerated souls of all mankind by Adam's transgression. Those who have since died in the faith of the gospel, continue in the life of the Spirit of God, free from all torments, and here called the second death; and which is afterwards referred to. “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.” The words of the Lord by Isaiah, accord with it:
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
But they that have died in the nature of the beast, remain in the torments referred to. Mark ix. 44-Isa. lxvi. 24, and 2 Peter ii.
Again, “ To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the hidden manna, (the Holy Ghost) and will give him a white stone, (a pure soul in the Spirit of God), and in the stone a new name
Isa. xxvi. 19.
Rev. ii. 17.
written, which no man knoweth saving he which receiveth it”—which is evident; and it being separated from heaven, by the veil the passions form over the mind, it is likened to a white crystal stone; and the whole of them constituting the church of God: * but when the veil of separation, or “ the Isaiah xxv. 7. face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations,” shall be removed, the whole will be one spirit in the Lord face to face, and then shall they know even as they are known of God.p They will then be as so many pillars in the temple of God in unbounded extension, afterwards referred to: “Him that overcometh Rov.iii. 12. 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 the name of the city of my God, New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God.” And we have already shewn that they which are of the nature of the beast have his name, and the whole constitute his city Babylon: upon which the plagues from God are denounced, and which pass away, &c.
Hence it is written, “He that leadeth into cap- Rev. xiii. 10. tivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword :" that is,
* Referred to Exodus xxiv." And they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in clearness.”
+ « The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas."