Apr 3, 1804 Sermon Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection
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to comment upon the book of Revelation; I approach my subject with humility and diffidence; yet not without hope that the meaning of the Holy Spirit, in the passage selected for our meditation, is rightly apprehended, and that something may be adduced for instruction and edification. Let us endeavor,

I.  To ascertain the object of this prophecy; and then,

II.  Investigate the period of its accomplishment.

First. To ascertain the object of this prophecy, and determine what event is here predicted, let it be observed that in this chapter several distinct visions are recorded, which follow each other in uninterrupted succession, referring to events, which, in that very order, will be accomplished; that the vision now under consideration is the second, and, in regard to its meaning and precise object, is uninfluenced by what precedes or follows.

John once beheld and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying, with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth! [Rev. viii. 13.]   The characters and scene now before us are of a different nature; instead of woe and alarm, they are replete with glad tidings and consolation. I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth. In this text the hieroglyphical and alphabetical language both occur. A few symbols are first introduced, after which an explanation succeeds in the ordinary style.

The SYMBOLS are, heaven, and an angel, bearing a precious treasure, flying in the midst of heaven, and crying with a loud voice. HEAVEN is often, throughout the scripture, used literally to indicate the place of glory, the beatific vision, the mansion of the blessed. In the passage before us it is a symbol, and means the Church under the New Testament dispensation. The midst of heaven, then, is the midst of the Christian Churches. ANGEL is an official term; it is frequently applied to those spiritual and celestial beings who


are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation; but the word expresses not so much the nature as the character and duty of those who are employed as messengers. It is here a symbol, and represents the ministers of the Gospel, the messengers of the Lord to his people; and means not one particular minister, but a Gospel ministry in the aggregate. Of this a satisfactory explanation occurs in the second and third chapters of this book, where the symbol always refers to the ministry of the churches. FLYING is the figure of speed. A continued flying indicates an uninterrupted and unceasing progress. The LOUD VOICE expresses earnestness, zeal and authority.

From the symbolic terms we then collect, that John foresaw a period when zealous ministry would arise in the midst of the Churches, with a new and extraordinary spirit; a ministry singular in its views and exertions, and remarkable for its plans and success; a ministry which would arrest the public attention, and be a prelude to momentous changes in the Church and in the world.

The LITERAL explanation removes every doubt respecting the meaning of these symbols. What is the treasure the angel bears? What does he proclaim with so loud a voice? To whom is his message directed? Each of these is here determined. The angel has the everlasting gospel to preach: This is his treasure. He calls to the practice of the essential duties of true religion, and announces the hour of God's judgment: This is the import of his proclamation. He is commissioned to visit every nation and people on the earth: To them his message is directed. - Some of these articles deserve a minute discussion; but we must be contented with a few brief observations upon each.

1. The GOSPEL signifies good tidings, tidings of great joy, of salvation for lost sinners, salvation from great misery, procured by a great price, a great salvation. To PREACH this Gospel is official to declare the fact, and authoritatively to command and


Rev. John H. Livingston:     Memoirs,     Psalms and Hymns,     Sermons,     Funerals,    Marriage,     Eulogy

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