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18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.
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 life and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things, saith, Surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Ver. 6. And he said unto me, &c.] The angel commissioned to exhibit this closing scene of the prophecy, being now about to depart, addresses the prophet with some short sentences, directing the use and application of what had been exhibited.
First:-Ver. 6. The vision may be confidently relied on, as representing events soon to be disclosed.'
Secondly :-Ver. 7. A blessing is pronounced on those, who in faith and patience expect the completion of the prophecy, and who direct their lives conformably to such expectation. And here it is observable, that the angel, as ambassador of Christ, to whom the vision in all its parts most certainly appertains,' speaks in the august person of his Lord, using his very words: “Behold, I come soon,” (ch. iii. 11 :) words, which being evidently those of the Redeemer, before whom the prophet had prostrated himself without rebuke, (ch. i. 17,) occasion him again to fall prostrate. And now the reproof of chap. xix. 10, is repeated.'
1 See notes, ch. i. 1, 2, 3. 3 See ch. i. 1, and note.
3 This circumstance may in some measure account for the repetition of this action, if it be such. But there may be some reason to doubt whether the action be repeated, or the description of it only; whether St. John does not merely describe over again his attempt to worship the angel; for it might seem necessary to repeat the description, which positively forbids it, for the benefit of the
Thirdly :-Ver. 10. St. John is ordered to represent this prophecy, not as a sealed book," but as the prediction of a train of events, beginning to take place immediately,
Fourthly :-Ver. 11, 12. According to a mode of speaking used by Ezekiel, (ch. iii. 27,) and by St. Paul, (1 Cor. xiv. 38,) and well explained by Dr. S. Clarke, we are warned, that as we act under this view, (this awful view of the divine judgments,) so shall we experience their effects. We are free to be just or unjust, righteous or wicked, and must abide the consequences of our own determination.
Fifthly :--Ver. 13, 14, 15. The angel again speaks in the person of his Lord, by whom the whole revelation is given, (ch. i. 1,) again declaring himself to be that great transcendent Being “who inhabits eternity,” (Isaiah lvi. 15; Micah v. 2; note, ch. i. 8;) and in his name pronounces a blessing on those who keep his commandments. Good works performed from the operation of such faith, can alone afford access to that heavenly habitation, from which the wicked * shall be excluded.
Sixthly :-Ver. 16. Adverting again to the beginning of the prophecy, the angel declares, in the name of his Lord, that it is given for the edification of Church, prone to lapse into this kind of idolatry. For he seems in both situations to have been present with the same angel, one belonging to the vials, * who was employed to show him apart, first the harlot, and then the Bride. It is therefore less likely that the action should be repeated. And in both descriptions, nearly the same expressions are used, and also introduced by the same address of the angel, “These are the true words of God,” &c.
1 See note, ch. v. 1.
* Dogs; by which name, as in Phil. iii. 2, “ evil workers" are plainly intended.
* Compare ch, xvii. 1, with ch. xxi. 9.
the Churches, (Note, ch. i. 4.) And the great Giver of the prophecy is described to be both the root and the branch of David, (Isaiah xi. 1.) He is a “stem of Jesse;" in his human character, appearing as “ the son of David,” the Messiah expected of that stem: but in his divine character, partaking of the divine nature, he is ivfinitely more; he is the root and foundation, the cause and the means of that salvation which is denominated “the sure mercies of David.” He is that bright morning star, which now gives considerable light to the world after a long night of ignorance and superstition; and to those who love such light, a certain earnest and prelude of increasing knowledge and glory, shining forth unto perfect day.”
Seventhly :-Ver. 17. He describes the Holy Spirit as inviting all men to partake the blessings prepared for them, and now exhibited under the symbol of the bride, or heavenly Jerusalem. And “ he who heareth,” he who hath been instructed in the saving truths of the Gospel, is called upon to invite others to participate in its advantages, which are “ freely bestowed on all whom our Lord shall call,” (Acts ii. 39.) But to him “ who heareth," who esteemeth himself instructed in the knowledge of the Gospel, and especially in the prophecies of this book, an awful command, under severe sanctions, is added ; that he teach others no other things, than those which are written therein; “not diminishing therefrom, nor adding aught thereto,” (Deut. xii. 32; 2 Cor. iii. 6.) From the history of the times, following the publication of the Apocalypse, we collect the necessity of this prophetical injunction. For, in the second century, many spurious works, falsely attributed to apostles of Christ, were circulated in the Christian world. And in imitation of this Revelation of St. John, Revelations of St.
Peter, of St. Paul, of St. Thomas, and of others, were fabricated. The threatenings hete denounced against such fabricators, or those who shall attempt additions or alterations in this inspired work, united to that reverential care with which the fathers of the Church preserved the true readings of the sacred books, seem to have preserved this prophecy free from material interpolation.
Eighthly:–Our Lord concludes the book, as he had begun it, with this interesting declaration n; “Surely I come soon.'
To every mortal, short is the time leading to that awful instant, when he “ shall stand before the presence of God!" Be it our endeavour, by the assistance of his Holy Spirit, so to direct our thoughts and actions, that we may have confidence in our Redeemer, and be of the number of those who “ love his appearing !” (2 Tim. iv. 8.) Thus may we be enabled cordially to unite with the beloved apostle in his concluding prayer; “ Amen; so be it; come, Lord Jesus!”