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shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and three. score days, clothed in sackcloth.” One thousand two hundred and three score, is twelve hundred and sixty. This is the same period with the three days and an half which the dead bodies of the two witnesses were to lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. If we call a day a year, three years and an half contain forty and two months. And this is the same as the time, times, and half a time which the woman, of whom we read in the 12th chapter, was to be in the wilderness.
Calling these times prophetic years, we find the forty and two months, which afford the twelve hundred and sixty days, which we may suppose are so many years.
Twelve hundred and sixty natural years is as long a time as can be allowed for the continuance of the beast, of his worship, or the torment of his worshippers with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
It is evident, beyond all dispute, that there is no more propriety in carrying the second death, or lake of fire and brimstone into the eternal world, than there is in supposing that the forty and two months the beast had power
to continue, are to be reckoned in the eternal world ; or in supposing that the holy city will be trodden under foot of the Gentiles in the eternal world; or in supposing that the two witnesses will prophecy clothed in sackcloth in the eternal world; or that their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city called Sodom and Egypt, three days and an half, in the eternal world; or that the woman will be in the wilderness a time, times and half a time in the eternal world.
This representation of the religion and doctrines of the church of antichrist, by fire and brimstone agrets with the prophecy of Isaiah, recorded in his 34th chapter. 6. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day, the smoke thereof shall yo up forever; from generation to generation it shall lie svaste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.
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It would seem that a land of this description could not be inhabited by any creature whatever ; but the prophet says; “But the Cormorant and the Bittern shall possess it; the Owl also and the Raven shall dwell in it.” He further supposes that wild beasts will dwell in this land of brimstone and fire, and says; “There shall the great Owl make her nest, and lay and hatch, and gather under her shadow.” This language is so similar to the account we have of this fire and brimstone in Revelations, that we may suppose they both relate to the same subject.
The unclean beasts and birds, mentioned by Isaiah, are the same as mentioned in Revelations 18th. " Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”
It seems to have been the design of prophecy, to represent the church and her doctrines by a land whose very dust is brimstone, and whose streams are burning pitch, and her clergy and rulers by unclean birds and ravenous beasts. And it is certain that the church of antichrist, with its rulers, its clergy, its doctrines, and superstitions, has answered the description in full.
We will now endeavor to show that the characters mentioned in our text are those who answer to the worshippers of the beast, that they are the unclean beasts and birds of Babylon, and that their doctrine in room of being a pure river of the water of life, is fire and brimstone by which they are tormented.
The first character mentioned in our text is the fearful
. Fear is the very foundation of antichristian religion. It views God in the character of a most voracious beast. It worships him with a view to pacify his wrath. It represents him as full of vengeance towards all who do not render him faithful service, and supposes that he will punish them unmercifully, if they do not yield to his requirements. This religion says, take away the fear of eternal damnation, and I would never worship God again, I would pay no regard to his ordinances.
This religion is in fact a stream of fire and bring to stone, fire, because it is full of zeal, and brimstone, be. cause it destroys the reason of its votaries. There is
has be nothing which more suddenly destroys the regular ac come wh tion of the brain, than sulphur. Fear is of this nature, it sets reason at defiance. So has the religion of the church. It says, reason has nothing to do with religion. What St. John says of fear and love seem very SHE appropriate in this place. He says " Fear hath torment,” and again; “Perfect love casteth out fear.” The unbelieving is the second character mentioned.
A brot But who are unbelievers ? They are those whose creeds contradict the faith of Abraham. God promised Abraham, that in him, and in his seed, all the nations of the earth should be blessed. And it is said, that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him
a perpetu for righteousness. Abraham was therefore called the friend of God, and the father of the faithful. Now those who believe in that Babylonish creed which excludes a great part of mankind from the blessings of Jesus and his grace, are the unbelieving mentioned in our text.
These unbelievers suppose that they are the only true believers on earth, and their belief is like fire and brimstone, and the more firmly they believe, the more intensely they are burnt. They have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
How much is a man's part in this torment? Just so much as will correspond with the perverseness of his abominable belief. In the same ratio as they believe, they are tormented, and as far as they doubt they find relief.
The abominable is the third character mentioned. There are many sinful practices,which are called abominable in scripture ; one may be mentioned, of which Israel was guilty, and by which the christian church has become contaminated. In his 16th chapter, Ezekiel charges Jerusalem of having committed more abominations than were committed by Sodom and her daughters; and among those the following is stated; " Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daugh
tre uz' ters, whom thou hast born unto me, and these hast in thou sacrificed unto them (idols) to be devoured.”
This has been done in the antichristian church, by that doctrine which consigns little children to everlasting torment for the glory of that idol god, who delights in such cruelty. Every soul that believes this doctrine is torinented day and night. If they have children how are their souls tormented with the fearful apprehension of their everlasting destruction ?
Murderers are the fourth class. “ He that loveth not his brother is a murderer.” And that antichristian doctrine which teaches that God hates his creatures has caused men to hate one another, and to put thousands to death. This murderous, persecuting spirit is a perpetual fire, and torments every soul that possesses it.
Whoremongers are the 5th class. These are those who get their living by means of spiritual adultery, under the direction of the mother of harlots. These are unclean birds. Isaiah calls them Owls, Satires, Ravens, &c. Je says;
" There shall the great Owl make her nest, and lay and hatch, and gather under her shadow.”
This is an unclean bird that is afraid
of the light.
Sorcerers are the sixth character. These are famous for their wisdom, and very deep understanding in dark mysterious matters. They know everything about another world; and in their own conceit, or pretensions can inform people concerning what they call heaven and hell. These are a torment to themselves.
Idolaters form the seventh class. These are all who worship the false god, who sits in the temple of God, showing himself to be God.
Liars are mentioned last. The author of our text, has given a description of a liar. He says; “Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ; he is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.'
These worshippers of the beast are the dead, small and great, which John saw stand before God; who were judged out of those things which were written in
the books, which are the doctrines of men, according to their works. They had received the mark and name of the beast, therefore their names were not in the Lamb's book, or doctrine of life. These were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
The hearer is requested to observe that the arguments to which we have attended, go to prove that the false doctrines of antichrist constitute the second death, and the lake of fire and brimstone, and that these doctrines perpetually torment them who believe them. Our reasoning disallows the continuance of this torment after those doctrines of antichrist shall be discontinued. The worshippers of the beast will be tormented as long as they worship him; but he had power given him to continue only forty and two months, The hearer is likewise requested to observe, what has already been noticed, that in order to extend the second death or lake of fire and brimstone into another state of existence, we must also carry the time of the church in the wilderness, the time of the prophecying of the two witnesses, in sackcloth, and the forty and two months of the reign of the beast into a future state. All which is palpably absurd.
My brethren, this discourse will close with the following divine injunction; “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that je receive not of her plagues."