gross immoralities, some into a rooted spiritual pride, enthusiasm, and an incorrigible wildness of behaviour, some into a cold frame of mind, showing a great indifference to the things of Religion. But there are many, and I hope those the greater part of those that were professed Converts, who appear hitherto like the good ground, and notwithstanding the thick and dark clouds, that so soon follow that blessed sunshine that we have had ; yet I cannot but stedfastly maintain a hope and persuasion that God will revive his work, and that what has been so great and very extraordinary, is a forerunner of a yet more glorious and extensive work. It has been slanderously reported and printed concerning me, that I have often said, that the Millennium was already begun, and that it began at Northampton. A doctor of divinity in New England, has ventured to publish this report to the world, from a single person, who is concealed and kept behind the curtain : but the report is very diverse from what I have ever said. Indeed I have often said, as I say now, that I looked upon the late wonderful revivals of Religion as forerunners of those glorious times so often prophesied of in the Scripture, and that this was the first dawning of that light, and beginning of that work, which, in the progress and issue of it, would at last bring on the Church's latter day glory; but there are many that know that I have from time to time added, that there would probably be many sore conflicts and terrible convulsions, and many changes, revivings and intermissions, and returns of dark clouds, and threatening appearances, before this work shall have subdued the world, and Christ's kingdom shall be every where established and settled in peace, which will be the lengthening of the Millennium or day of the Church's peace, rejoicing and triumph on earth, so often spoken of. I was much entertained and delighted, dear Sir, with your thoughts on that text in Isai. lix. 19, which you signify in your letter, and so have many others been to whom I have communicated them; and as to what you say of some dreadful stroke or trial yet abiding, before the happy days of the promised peace and prosperity of the church, I so far agree with you, that I believe that, before the church of God shall have obtained the conquest, and the visible kingdom of Satan on earth shall receive its overthrow, and Christ's kingdom of grace be every where established on its ruins, there shall be a great and mighty struggle between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan, attended with the greatest and most extensive convulsions and commotion, that ever were upon the face of the earth, wherein doubtless many particular christians will suffer, and perhaps some parts of the Church.

“But that the enemies of the Church of God, should ever gain such advantages against her any more, as they have done in times past, that the victory should ever any more be on their side, or that it shall ever be given to the Beast again to make war with the saints, and to prevail against them, and overcome them; (as in Rev. xii.


7; and xi. 7; and Dan. vii. 21,) to such a degree as has been heretofore, is otherwise than I hope. Though in this I would be far from setting up my own judgment, in opposition to others, who are more skill'd in the prophecies of Scripture, than I am. I think that what has mainly induced many divines to be of that opinion, is what is said in Revelation, chap. xi. concerning the slaying of the witnesses, v. 7, 8. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the Beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them; and their dead bodies shall be in the street of the great city, &c.

“The event here spoken of, seems evidently to be that, wherein the enemies of the church gain the greatest advantage against her, that ever they have, and have the greatest conquest of her, that ever they obtained, and bring the church nearest to a total extinction. For a long time the church is very small, repre

a sented by two witnesses, and they had been long in a very low state, prophecying in sackcloth; but now they are dead and their enemies triumph over them, as having gotten a complete victory, and look upon it that they are now past all possibility of recovery, there being less prospect of the church's restoration than ever there was before. But are we to expect this, dear Sir, that Satan will ever find means to bring things to pass, that after all the increase of light that has been in the world, since the Reformation, there shall be a return of a more dark time than in the depth of the darkness of Popery, before the Reformation, when the church of God shall be nearer to a total extinction, and have less of visibility, all true religion and light be more blotted out of the memories of mankind, Satan's kingdom of darkness be more firmly established, all monuments of true religion be more abolished, and that the state of the world should be such,

that it should appear further from any hope of a revival of true religion than it ever has done ; is this conceivable, or possible, as the state of things now is all over the world, even among Papists themselves, without a miracle, a greater than any power short of divine can effect, without a long tract of time, gradually to bring it to pass, to introduce the grossest ignorance and extinguish all memory and monuments of truth; which was the case in that great extinction of true religion that was before the Reformation. And besides, if we suppose this War of the Beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit with the witnesses, wherein he overcomes them and kills them, to be that last war which the church shall have with the Beast, that great and mighty conflict that shall be just before the final overthrow of Antichrist, that we read of in the 16th chap. the 13th and following verses, and in the 19th chapter; how shall we make them consist together? In the 11th chapter the church conflicts in sorrow, clothed in sackcloth, and in blood; in the 19th chap. the saints are not represented as fighting in sorrow and blood, though the battle be exceedingly great, but in strength,

glory, and triumph. Their Captain goes forth to this battle, in great pomp and magnificence, on a white horse, and on his head many crowns, and on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDs; and the saints follow him, not in sackcloth, but coming forth on white horses, clothed in pure linen, clean and white, the raiment of triumph, the same raiment that the saints appear in, Rev. vii. 14, when they appear with palms in their hands, after they had washed their robes, that had been stained with their own blood, and made themselves white in the blood of the Lamb. In the conflict spoken of in chap. xi., the Beast makes war with the witnesses, and overcomes them, and kills them : the same is foretold, Dan. vii. 21, and Rev. xii. 7. But in that last great battle, just before the fall of Antichrist, we find the reverse of this, the church shall obtain a glorious victory over the Beast, and the Beast is taken and cast into the lake of fire. Rev. xvii. 14, These shall make war with the Lamb; and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful; compared with chap. xix. 16, to the end, and chap. xvi. 16, 17. In that conflict, chap. xi., the Beast has war with the witnesses, and kills them, and their dead bodies lie unburied, as if it were to be meat for the beasts of the earth, and fowls of heaven; but in that last conflict, Christ and his church shall slay their enemies, and give their dead bodies to be meat for the beasts of the earth and fowls of heaven, chap. xix. 17, etc. There is no manner of appearance in the descriptions that are given of that great battle, of any great advantages gained in it against the church, before the enemy is overcome, but all appearance of the contrary. The descriptions in the 16th and 19th chapters of Rev. will by no means allow of such an advantage, as that of the overcoming and slaying of the church, or people of God, and their lying for some time unburied, that their dead bodies may be for their enemies to abuse and trample on, and make sport with. In the 16th chap. we have an account of their being gathered together into the place called Armageddon ; and then the first thing we hear of after that, is the pouring out of the seventh vial of God's wrath, and a voice saying it is done ; and so in chap. xix. we read of the Beast, and the Kings of the earth, and their armies being gathered together, to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army; and then the next thing we hear of is the Beast's being taken, etc. The event of the conflict of the Beast with the church, chap. xi. is the triumph of the church's enemies, when they of the people, and kindred, and tongues, and nations, and they that dwell on the earth, shall see the dead bodies of the saints lying in the streets, and shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and send gifts one to another. But the event of that great and last battle, before the fall of Antichrist, is quite the reverse of this, even the church's triumphing


over their enemies, as being utterly destroyed. Those events, that are consequent on the issue of the war with the witnesses, chap. xi. do in no wise answer to those, that are represented as consequent on that last conflict of Antichrist with the church! 'Tis said that when the witnesses ascended into heaven, the same hour there was an earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell; and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand ! but this don't seem at all to answer what is described, chap. xvi. and xix. The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell ! and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath; and every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And it had been said before, that there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And in chap. xix. instead of slaying seven thousand men, it seems as if there was a general slaughter of all the enemies of the church, through the world. And besides if we read this 11th chapter through, we shall see that the falling of the tenth part of the city and the rising of the witnesses, and their standing on their feet and ascending into heaven, are represented there as entirely distinct from the accomplishment of the church's glory, after the fall of Antichrist, and God's judging and destroying the enemies of the church. The judgment here spoken of, as executed on God's enemies, are under another Woe, and the benefits bestowed on the church, are under another Trumpet: For immediately after the account of the rising and ascending of the witnesses, and its consequences, follow these words, v. 14, 15, “The second woe is past, and behold the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." And in the following verses, we have an account of the praises sung to God on the occasion; and in the last verse we have a brief hint of that same great earthquake, and the great hail, and those thunders, and lightnings, and voices, that we have an account of in the latter part of chap. xvi. so that the earthquake mentioned in the last verse of chap. xi. seems to be the great earthquake, that attends the last great conflict of the church and her enemies, rather than that mentioned, v. 13.

“ The grand objection against all this is, that it is said, that the witnesses should prophecy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth; and when they have finished their testimony, the beast should make war against them, and kill them, etc. and that it seems manifest that after this they are no longer in sackcloth ; for henceforward they are in an exalted state in heaven: and that therefore seeing the time of their wearing sackcloth is one thousand two hundred and sixty days, i. e. during the time of the continuance of antichrist; hence their being slain, and their rising again must be at the conclusion of this period, at the end of antichrist's reign.

“ In answer to which I would say, with submission to better judgments, that I humbly conceive that we can justly infer no more from this prophecy than this, viz. that the one thousand two hundred and sixty days is the proper time (as it were) of the Church's trouble and bondage, or being clothed in sackcloth, because it is the appointed time of the reign of antichrist; but this don't hinder but that God, out of great compassion to his Church, should, in some respect, shorten the days, and grant that his Church should, in some measure, anticipate the appointed great deliverance that should be at the end of these days, as he has in fact done in the Reformation; whereby his Church has had a great degree of restoration granted her, from the darkness power and dominion of antichrist, before their proper time of restoration, which is at the end of the one thousand two hundred and sixty days; and so the Church through the compassion of her Father and Redeemer, anticipates her deliverance from her sorrows; and has, in some respects, an end put to her testifying in sackcloth, as many parts of the Church are henceforward brought out from under the dominion of the antichristian powers, into a state of liberty ; though in other respects, the Church may be said still to continue in her sackcloth, and in the wilderness, (as Chap. xii. 14,) till the end of the days. And as to the witnesses standing on their feet, and ascending into heaven ; I would propose that it may be considered, Whether any more can be understood by it, than the Protestant Church's being now (at least as to many parts of it) able to stand on her own legs, and in her own defence, and being raised to such a state, that she henceforward is out of the reach of the Romish powers; that, let them do what they will, they shall never any more be able to get the Church under their power, as they had before; as oftentimes in the scriptures God's People's dwelling in safety, out of the reach of their enemies, is represented by their dwelling on high, or being set on high ; Ps. lix. 1. Isai. xxxiii. 16. Ps. lxix 29, and xci. 14, and cvii. 41. Prov. xxix. 25; and the children of Israel, when brought out of Egypt, were said to be carried on eagle's wings, that is lofty in its flight, flies away towards heaven where none of her enemies can reach her.

“I might here observe, that we have other instances of God's shortening the days of his Church's captivity and bondage, either at the beginning or latter end, in some measure parallel with this. Thus the proper time of the bondage of the posterity of Abraham, in a strange land, was four hundred years, Gen. xv. 13: but yet God in mercy, delayed their bondage, whereby the time was much shortened at the beginning. So the time wherein it was foretold, that the whole land of Israel should be a desolation and an astonishVol. I.



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