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revolution is the great earthquake: And indeed it has been, I believe,
this took place in the year 1789;therefore the second woe was not then ended. To this argument, however, I object, that it takes for granted a principal point in dispute, and then builds on it as on a wellfounded premise. If the earthquake be certainly the French revolution, then the reasoning is sound, and Mr. Faber's interpretation must be admitted. But I should rather wish to reason in another way, and to say, that if the French revolution occurred after the expiration of the second woe, then, however in other respects it may seem to correspond with the prophecy, it cannot be the event predicted in the passage. Let us see, then, whether there be not some legitimate grounds for conjecturing at what time the second woe did end. In the account of the trumpets in the ninth chapter, we find no express mention made of its ending; but by referring to what is said of the preceding trumpet, it appears to me that a probable conclusion may be formed. Let the whole of this chapter be attentively read; and then let it be judged, whether the following reasoning does not carry with it a strong degree of probability. The first woetrumpet commences with the fall of the star from heaven, and the issuing of the locusts from the bottomless pit. To these it was given that they should torment for five (prophetical) months-i. e. for 150 years. With respect to the termination of this woe, no precise in formation is given: for be it observed, that, although the apostle says, at the twelfth verse, "One woe is past," he states nothing respecting the time of its end. This might take place at any period previous to the sounding of the next trumpet. But his expression, "Behold, there come two woes more hereafter," warrant a conjecture that some considerable interval would occur between the first and second woe, and consequently that the first would come early to a conclusion.
the general opinion of commentators, that the first woe terminated at the end of the 150 years, when the commission of the locusts to torment expired. This, indeed, seems a natural and obvious conclusion. Mr Faber himself very strongly maintains it: for he says (page 38, vol. ii. 2 ed.), "Now, since we had already been informed that their power of doing mischief was limited to five months, or 150 years; it is evident that the first woe-trumpet ceased to sound at the end of the 150 years."—I quite agree with this reasoning: but I would ask, why the same reasoning is not to be used in respect to the second woetrumpet? The Euphratéan horsemen are said to be prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of meni. e. for 391 years. Now since their power of doing mischief is limited to this period, I would ask, whether it is not as evident that this second woe-trumpet ceased to sound at the end of the 391 years, as it is that the first expired at the end of the 150 years? The analogy between the two cases so exactly corresponds, that it must be some very strong argument indeed, which would justify our admitting the interpretation in one case, and our rejecting it in the other.-I am aware that the apostle in the ninth chapter says nothing concerning the termination of the second woe: but no argument can be drawn from his silence on the subject, in favour of any supposition that the woe would not end at the expiration of the 391 years; because, when he had said, that "the first woe was past," he had yet stated nothing definitive respecting the time of its end: and I conceive that he purposely deferred mentioning this cir cumstance, till he should come to speak of the great earthquake in the Western empire, which was to be contemporaneous with some part of this woe in the Eastern.-I am farther aware, that Mr. Faber will
object to the interpretation which I am endeavouring to establish, by remarking, that when the second woe is past, it is said, "Behold, the third woe cometh quickly." He considers it, indeed, as coming instantaneously, making only an interval of two days between the end of the second and the beginning of the third woe (see page 101, vol. ii. 2d ed.) But this is not necessary to the right explanation of the word. When our Lord, at the close of the book of the Revelation, says, "Surely I come quickly," no commentator would think it necessary to give such an explanation of it. He would rather direct us to understand' the word as spoken in comparison, and with a relation to sonie other events, or periods. He would perhaps go farther, and would represent it as intended to intimate the sudden and unexpected manner in which the event would take place; and, consequently, to excite our watchfulness, and keep alive our expectation of its coming. And it is in this way that I would interpret this word quickly, in the text. Supposing, according to Mr. Faber, that the third woe commenced in the year 1792, it did come quickly after the second (even if that expired at the close of the 391 years), compared with the interval which occurred between the first and second. Let us see how the dates actually stand, and then we shall be better able to judge of the soundness of this reasoning. The first woe commenced (as supposed) It ended, after a duration of 150 years, The second woe, after an interval of 519 years, commenced ....
It caded, after a duration of 391
appears from this table, that while $19 years elapsed between the first and second woe, only 120 years intervened between the second and third This latter interval, thereCHRIST, OBSERV. No. 99.
fore, compared with the former, might, I think, be justly said to be. short; and the woe predicted to come quickly, in comparison with that which had preceded it. Mr. Faber himself makes considerable use of this argument from comparison, when combating an objection · to his interpretation of the war of the Beast against the witnesses. He reasons thus:This objection, however, will not appear of any great weight, when the whole duration of the apostasy is considered: for three centuries are either a long or a short period according to the number with which they are compared. The apostasy of 1200 years most probably commenced, as we have seen, in 606: consequently, in the. year 1547 the witnesses had prophesied upwards of nine centuries, or very near three quarters of their whole testimony. The remaining period, therefore, was short in comparison with that which preceded it." (See page 80, vol. ii. 2d ed.) According to this reasoning, the interval of 120 years was short, in comparison with that of 519 years; and, consequently, no objection can lie against my interpretation from the introduction of the word quickly into the prophecy.
On the whole, I cannot but be of opinion that the second woetrumpet did cease to sound in the year 1672; and that, therefore, the French revolution cannot be the event intended to be symbolized by the great earthquake; which incontrovertibly was to take place before that trumpet ended. Here then, for the present, I shall close my subject, purposing in a future paper to resume it, when I shall endeavour to establish the interpretation which I propose to substitute in the room of that to which I have, stated my objections.
FAMILY SERMONS. No. XV.
THE law of which the apostle here
salvation; for if righteousness should be attainable by the law, and salvation by such righteousness, then there would be no occasion for the death of Christ as an atonement for sin, or for the grace of God to save the sinner. In the third chapter of the same Epistle the apostle goes still farther: "If there had been a law given which could have given life"-that is, a title to life by car observance of it-" verily righte ousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture," instead of saying that any persons have kept the law, "hath concluded all" to be "under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe;"-in other words, in order that they who be leve might receive the promise of life through their faith in Christ Je sus. Here we find the law, and faith; or justification by keeping the law, and justification by faith: opposed to each other. In like manner are the law and the promise contrasted for the apostle argues "If the inheritance be of the law it is no more of promise." The lav then condemns; the promise give us life. By our obedience to the law, we can claim neither accept ance nor reward; for the Scriptur concludes all to be under sin, the they who believe might receive the promise of life through faith Christ Jesus.
Is it not plain, from the tenor these passages, that by the obser vance of the law no man can hop to be justified before God? And ye how many are trusting to the works, either performed or inten ed to be performed, as their only o chief ground of hope! And aiming with this view, to keep the law they either live in a state of sel dissatis faction and despondency from their inability to effect thei object; or they find themselve driven to lower the standard of righ teousness, while they unduly mag nify their own performances, order to obtain any tolerable hop
of safety. The peace which is thus produced, however, is mere delusion; and if it be not exchanged for a better, must finally leave its possessors in everlasting darkness and
There is another purpose to which the law is sometimes applied, but for which it does not appear to have been intended; I mean that of condenining those who are in Christ Jesus, and who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." To sach, the apostle says, there is no condemnation. It is true the the divine law condemns all mankind; but "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes the believer in Christ free from the law of sin and death." Believing in Christ, and partaking of the benefits of his death, he is free from the condemning power of the law: he is pardoned and accepted by God.
In the same way does St. Paul reason in the seventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. As the law which unites persons in marriage has power over them till death, but after the death of one of the parties has no longer any power over the survivor; "even so," saith he, "ye, my brethren, are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." And here it is plain, from the context, that the moral law is intended:-"I had not known sin," he says, "but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet;"-an illustration which proves that it was the moral law which the apostle had in his view. From the condemning power of this law, therefore, as well as from its penal consequences, is the true believer in Christ delivered. And of this deliverance we find the sanie apostle, in another place, speaking ⚫ with exultation and triumph: “() Death, where is thy sting! O Grave, where is thy victory! The Sing of death is sin, and the strength
of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
A similar sentiment is expressed in the First Epistle to Timothy. "The law," we are there told, "is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient." It was not intended to be the instrument of terror and condemnation to those who believe in Christ, and are walking according to his will. They are delivered from its curse. They have a well-founded hope in Christ. It is the will of God that they should bave peace with him; that they should rejoice in the hope of glory; and that they should draw nigh to God with boldness and liberty. They have not received the spirit of bondage, but the spirit of adoption, whereby they cry Abba, Father." The Gospel was intended to inspire hope, and peace, and encouragement. And this it does, partly by shewing that they who truly believe it are freed from the condemning power of the law. Such, however, is the unhappy perverseness of the human mind, that many, who are evidently genuine disciples of Christ, through a too scrupulous conscience, or through the indistinctness of their views of evangelical truth, are using the law as an engine of terror, to alarm their fears, to afflict their souls with unnecessary apprehensions, and to cast the gloom of despair around the bright inheritance of the Lord of life,
Since, then, the law was not given in order to justify the sinner, or to condemn the believer, what purposes was it designed to answer? It serves many valuable purposes. "The law is good, if it is used lawfully."
1. By the law is the knowledge of sin. No man can understand his sinfulaess, but by comparing himself with the holy standard which the law sets up. It is the law which explains what purity and righteousness are, and of course what sin is, which is only a want of conformity
to that perfect standard. Every person, who pays due attention to the law of God, must see that he falls short of its demands, and that he is guilty before God. He must perceive, that, far from being as holy and righteous as the pride of his heart might have led him to suppose, he is polluted with sin; that, far from having the smallest title to claim any thing from God on the score of his merit, he is only a transgressor in his sight. He will perceive, that many actions, which pass in the world for good and rightecus, are chargeable with defect, and even with actual sin, before God. He will discover that many omissions of duty, which are not ac counted sinful by his fellow-creatures, are nevertheless chargeable by the law of God with guilt; and that God, having a right to be served and loved with all the heart, and soul, and strength, so far as he fails in folfilling this obligation, so far he is criminal. He will sce, in a word, that his nature is defiled; and that, pure and holy as is the law of God, ali the services be ever can perform must necessarily be defective.
It follows, as a consequence of this view of the subject, that we ought to be deeply humbled on account of our sins. Of this humiliation the law is the great instrument. It shews us that we are sinful: it makes us vile in our own eyes: it brings down the high ideas of our innocence, integrity, and desert, in which perhaps we once prided our selves, and lays us as guilty sinners in the dust before God. Thus the
law tends to produce that poverty of spirit which characterises the Gospel dispensation. It prepares us for the thankful and joyful reception of the grace of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My brethren, are we using the Taw for this purpose? Are we comparing our hearts and lives faith fly and diligently with the stand ard set before us in Scripture? Or ae we judging ourselves favour ably, according to the imperfect
views of sin entertained by ourselves, or by the world around us? If we are, we do not make the use of the law for which it was given, and we fatally deceive ourselves, both by setting up a false standard, and by building our hopes upon a false foundation.
2. The law was also given to condemn the transgressor; to pronounce upon him the sentence of eternal death as the just wages of sin. This use of the law is illustrated in a striking manner by the experience of the apostle Paul himself. was alive," says he, "without the law once:"-in my former state, without a just knowledge of the spirituality and extent of the law, I thought myself entitled to eternal life hereafter, because I ignorantly conceived myself to be a partaker here of the principle of life before God. "But when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died:"
when the commandment was fully understood by me, and came home to my conscience, sin revived: I found myself to be a sinner-just as if the sin I thought myself freed from, had revived-and I died: I found that I possessed no title to eternal life; nay, that my life was forfeited to justice, and that I was in a state of condemnation. “And the commandment, which was or dained to life" (which I thought to be ordained for that purpose, and which would have been so, had men kept it), "I found to be unto death:"-it served only to shew me my condemnation.
3. Should any one inquire respecting the use of making the law thus minister to condemnation, I reply, that it must be considered in relation to a third purpose, which it is intended to answer-namely, to be as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Christ died to save sinners, and sinners are saved through faith in his name. Now this faith in him very much depends on the view which men entertain of their need of a Saviour. If they suppose themselves entitled by their own