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* And another angel came out from the altar, - which had power over 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. And the angel thrust in his sickle « into the earth, and gathered the vine of the “ earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the “ wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden “ without the city; and blood came out “ winepress even unto the horse bridles, by the
space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
Having passed the epoch of the Reformation, we now advance into the times of God's last judgments upon his enemies, the days of the third woetrumpet. Two remarkable periods of the most conspicuous of these judgments, the several steps of the whole of which are afterwards described under the seven vials, are here arranged under two grand divisions, figuratively styled the harvest and the vintage. In the days of Bp. Newton, the third woe-trumpet had not begun to sound; none therefore of the vials were then poured out. Hence his Lordship justly observed, “What particular “ events are signified by this harvest and vintage, « it appears impossible for any man to determine; « time alone can with certainty discover, for these “* things are yet in futurity. Only it may be ob“ served, that these two signal judgments will as “ certainly come, as harvest and vintage succeed « in their season; and, in the course of providence, VOL. II. BB
" the one will precede the other, as, in the course “ of nature, the harvest is before the vintage ; « and the latter will greatly surpass the former,
and be attended with a more terrible destruction « of God's enemies*.' But, although both these signal judgments were future when Bp. Newton wrote, it has been our lot to hear the voice of the third woe, and to behold in the French Revolution the dreadful scenes of the harvest. Still however a more dreadful prospect extends before us. The days of the vintage are yet future: for the time hath not yet arrived, when the great controversy of God with the nations shall be carried on between the two seas, in the neighbourhood of the glorious holy mountain, in the blood-stained vale of Me. giddo, in the land whose space extends a thousand and six hundred furlongs t.
* Dissert. on Rev, xiv. † After a long consideration of the subject, I rest in
the opinion of Mede, Newton, Lowman, Doddridge, and Bengelius, that the' apocalyptic harvest denotes a hurvest, not of mercy, but of wrath. Mr. Mede, who has elaborately and minutely discussed the point, observes, that the idea of a harvest includes three things; the reaping of the corn, the guthering of it in, and the threshing of it: whence it is made a type in Scripture of two direct opposites; of destruction, when the reaping and the threshing are considered; of restitution and salvation when the in-gathering is considered. (Comment. Apoc. in Messem.) Now the context of the apocalyptic harvest seems to me most definitely to teach us, that a harvest of judgment is intended. Throughout the whole book of Revelation, with the exception of a few passages which sufficiently explain themselves, the
Such are the contents of the little book. Its several chapters, running parallel to each other in point
carth is used as a symbol of the Roman empire pagan and papal. Upon this earth all the vials of God's wrath are poured out, whatever subsequent distinction may be made in their effusion (Rev. xvi. 1.). It is the vine of this earth that is to be gathered when her grapes are fully ripe: and it is the ripe harvest of this selfsame earth that is to be reapel, when the time for reaping is come.
Here we may note, that it is not, as in our Lord's parable (Matt. xiii. 24, 38.), said to be the harvest of a field, which is afterwards formally explained to mean the whole world: but, as the sickle is thrust into the ecinth to gather the vine of the earth, so is the sickle likewise thrust into the earth to reap the harvest of the earth. If then the earth mean the Romani empire in the case of the vintuge, which cannot reasonably be doubted, since those that are cast into the winepress are the Roman beast, the false prophet, and the kings of that same earth, and since (according to the acknowledged principles of symbolical imagery) the vine of the earth must denote the corrupt church of the mystic Babylon, whose abominations, whose ripe clusters of iniquity--will eventually occasion the ruin of its supporter the secular beast (Dan. vii. 11.): if, I say, the eartle mean the Roman empire in the case of the vintage, must we not conclude from the almost studied similarity of phraseology used by the prophet, that the earth means likewise the Roman empire in the case of the harvest ? And, if this be allowed," what idea can we annex to the reaping of the hurvest of the corrupt Roman empire, which, like the grapes of that same empire, is declared to be ripe, except that of some tremendous judgment that should precede the vintage and more or less affect the whole empire? In such an opinion also I am the more confirmed by finding, that a judgment about to befall Babylon, the constant apocalyptic type of the Roman church and empire, is by Jeremiah expressly termed a harvest (See Jerem. li. 33.). This difference indeed there is hetween the two prophets, that Jeremiah dwells upon the third part of the hardest, the threshing:
of time, jointly furnish a complete prophetic history of the Western Apostasy during the whole period of the 1260 years, under all the three woe-trumpets. It principally however exhibits the corruptions of Popery under the two first woe-trumpets : the third is but briefly touched upon, and that only to prevent a break in the period of 1260 years. As the little book comprehends the whole of this period, a point which itself repeatedly insists upon*,
while St. John selects the imagery of the first part, the reaping: yet I cannot but think, that the context of both
suffi. ciently shews, that a harvest of judgment, not of mercy, is intended. The apocalyptic harvest, by being confined to the earth or the Roman empire, cannot denote either the general in-gather
of Judah and Israel, or the universal influx of the gentiles to the millennian church: and since, like the vintage, it is exclusively confined to the idolatrous and persecuting Roman empire, since in both cases the sickle is equally thrust into this empire; I feel myself compelled to conclude, that, like the vintage, it denotes some signal judgment. This judgment I suppose to be the first part of the third woe; a woe, which must be expected to mark a period in history no less striking than the successive founding of the Saracenic and Turkish empires; a woe, which is ushered in by an event no less singular than definite, the fall of a tenth part of the great Roman city, or of one of the ten original Gothico-Roman monarchies by an earthquake. This judgment in short I suppose to be the horrors of the second Frenci revolution and its immediate consequences, conimencing on the 12th of August 1792, and ushered in by the fall of the monarchy both arbitrary and limited which at that time was the only one that remained of the ten original kingdoms; a revolution, which in those consequences, or (to adopt the prophetic phraseology), during the reaping of the harvest of the earth, has been felt to the remotest parts of the Roman empire. * See Rev. xi. 2, 3. xii. 6, 14: xiii. 5.
it was necessary to notice the sounding of the third woc-trumpet; which, like its two fellows, is included in the 1260 years*. The prophet therefore does notice it, briefly informing us that it should be immediately preceded, and as it were introduced, by a great earthquake which should occasion the fall of a tenth part of the Latin city; and that it should principally consist of two tremendous manifestations of God's wrath, two seasons of peculiar misery, the harvest and the vintage. A more particular account of these matters he reserves for future consideration under the pouring out of the seven vials: and the account itself he places, not in the little book, but in the larger book of the Apocalypse, inasmuch as it concerns not merely the western but likewise the eastern Apostasy, and affects indeed more or less even the whole world. The 15th chapter of the Revelation therefore must be considered as chronologically succeeding the gth, the intermediate chapters being a parenthetical history of the West, and constituting what St. John terms a little book together with an introduction to it. In the gth chapter, we have an account of the two first woes in the East : in the 15th, the prophet begins to describe the
* At least so far included, that six out of its seven vials comprehended within the 1260 years. The last vial, or that which contains the season of the vintage, seems to be poured out as soon as the 1260 years expire; and it coincides with what Daniel calls the time of the ord, or the period of God's great controversy with the nations.