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Plainly open'd, in the several Chapters of this Book.
CH A P. I.
HE first chapter of the Revelation of John doth speak of things which must shortly come to pass.
John calls it The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God bim, to sew unto his Servants things which must fortly come to pass.
John might well say that God did give it unto him, because Jesus Christ is God, as he doth make it appear in his following discourse in this chapter.
Also those servants which he was to declare this Revelation of Jesus Christ unto, I declare it was unto the ministers of those seven churches in Asia, and from them to the churches themselves.
Also John doth speak much of this book of the Revelaton by way of vision, as well as revelation; and that doth make this book of the Revelation to be the more difficult, and hard to be understood, or to be interpreted.
Therefore many wise and learned men have gone about to interpret some places of it, but have left the greatest part of it as a sealed book, which cannot be opened, and have left that which they have writ upon, as dark to the reader as it was
And the cause is, they do not know what revelation, which doth arise from the seed of faith, is; neither can they distinguish between revelation and vision; many other reasons might be given why, but I shall let that pass now.
But to the matter in hand: it is said that the knowledge of these great mysteries should be signified by his angel unto his servant John. Now what this angel was, I shall speak something of it hereafter.
But John was to bear record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw; and this record which John bear, it was to the seven churches in Asia.
Therefore he directed his Revelation to them, and his Revelation was this, Grace be unto you, and peace from him, which is, and which was, and which is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.
First, what is meant by him which is, and which was, and which is to come.
This he, I declare was no other but the Lord Jesus Christ, this is be that is, because he is now become flesh, therefore he is called the word of God, that is, the word became flesh, according to John's saying, In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.
And this word became fesh, and dwelt amongst us, and this was Christ, which is that word of God, which is God, and is in heaven in that very same flesh, which the eternal spiritual body became, and suffer'd death in.
And in this regard John did say, grace and peace unto the seven churches, from him that is, because he is now become Resh, and is now in heaven in that same body, as aforesaid.
Secondly, it is said, and which was ; this Jesus Christ is he that was also, as you may fee Exodus iii. 14. A little before, in that chapter, God doth fend Moses to Pharoah; Moses desiring in whose name he must go, God giveth him this answer, God said unto Mofes, I am that I am: and thus shalt thou say to the Children of Israel, I am, hath sent me unto you.
This I am, I declare, by revelation, is no other but Jesus Christ, and this is he which was ; that is, he was without a body of Aesh at that time when he spake to Moses and the prophets, yet he had a body when he spake to Mofes, in the form and likeness of a man.
Else man could not have been the image and likeness of God; but God's body, though it was like a man, yet it was a spiritual substance clear as chrystal, and as I may fay, swifter than thought, brighter than the sun.
Therefore Mofes could not see his face and live, for a mortal eye-light cannot fee an heavenly and spiritual glory; therefore there is no seeing nor knowing of God before he became flesh, nor now he is ascended up into the fame glory, where he was before, but by faith only.
For no man can see the face of Jesus now he is in glory, and live, no more , than Moses could see his face and live, before he becanie flesh.
And this Jesus was that I am that spake to Moses, and that Jehovah, and that God which was ; that is, he was from eternity, and revealed to mankind from the beginning
Thirdly, This Jesus is he which is to come, that is, he is to come to put an end to all time, that there might nothing but eternity remain; for as there was a beginning of time, so likewise there shall be an end of time, and as eternity had no beginning, fo shall it have no ending.
· But here lyeth the great mystery, that eternity became time, and time became
being that nein of God, therefore called by the Revelation of John, be which was, before he became flesh, he was God then under the title of God the Father.
And after he did become flesh, the Revelation of John doth say he is, that he is God now under the title of God the Son, and as he is to come, he is God under the title of God the Holy Spirit, yet these three are but one personal glory.
They are all callid by the Revelation of John, but be that is, which was, and which is to come.
And as Moses and the Prophets did see by the eye of faith, that God was a spiritual body in the form of a man, and that this God would become flesh, this I say they did see by the eye of faith, and so were very well satisfied: the truth of this may be understood by the eye of faith, from that saying of Moses unto the Children of Israel, where he sayeth God will raise you up a prophet like unto me, hiin shall you hear.
That is, God will become Aesh himself, so that he may be capable to be a prophet, that you may be the more capable to hear him ; so likewise that place, the ninth of Ifaiah, he prophesieth of God becoming flesh, in that he fayeth, To us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and the
government shall be upon
his moulder, and he hall be called the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace.
This Isaiah did see by the eye of faith, that God should become a little child. Great is this mystery of God, but few that understand it!
For this Jesus is the only wise God, which is, which was, and which is to come, which hath washed every true believer's foul in his own blood ; neither can any thing cleanse and purge the conscience of man from the guilt of sin, and fear of eternal death, but the blood of a God.
But I shall shall speak more of that hereafter. What should be the meaning of those feven spirits, which are before his throne? I declare, by revelation, that those seven fpirits which were before the throne of God, they were those gifts and blessings of grace, which Christ gave unto the ministry of the seven churches after his ascension, as may plainly be read in the second chapter of John's Revelation,
Where he beginneth to write to the seven churches, and the angel of every several church ; which angel was the minister ; I say they had every one of them a several reproof, and a feveral gift and blessing ; therefore I shall let the reproof alone, because it would be too large to interpret.
Only I shall name the several blessings, because the feed of faith may the better understand the interpretation of them, therefore I shall set them down in order.
1. The first gift and blessing is fent unto the angel of the church of Ephesus, which is as followeth, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradice of God.
2. The blessing of the church of Smirna. Him that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second
death. 3. The blessing of the church of Pergamos. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the bidden Manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.
Reeperb my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he Mall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter fall they be broken to Jivers, as I received of my father, and I will give him the morning star.
5. The blessing of the church of Sardis. Him that overcometh, the same fall be cloathed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but will confess his name before my father, and before his angels.
6. The blessing of the church of Philadelphia. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he hall go no more out, and I will write upon bim the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of beaven from my God, and I will write upon him my new name.
7. The blessing of the church of Loadicea. To him that overcometh will I grant to fit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit of Revelation in John hath said unto all the feven churches of Asia.
The interpretation of the several blessings. HIS Tree of life, in the midst of the paradice of God: the tree of life is no
other but the person of Christ, and the eating of it is believing in him to be the only God, this is, to eat the flesh, and drink his blood.
2. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. This second death is an eternal death, that is, a living death, and a dying life, that is always dying, yet never dead ; this is call’d by the spirit the second death, which all true believers shall be freed from, so that they shall not be hurt of the second death.
3. He that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving be that receiverh it.
This hidden manna is that peace and satisfaction every true believer hath in his mind, in believing in the true God, so that the mind or spirit doth feed upon those fweet refreshments that floweth from their faith in the true God. For those motions of faith that doth arise in the mind, it feedeth
the assurance of everlasting life, for eternal life is that hidden manna, which every true believer doth eat of.
So that the spirits of true believers doth eat of this hidden manna of eternal life, even as the Jews did eat of that manna that Moses gave them in the wilderness; which manna' is call’d angels food.
That manna Moses gave them to eat, it did fignifie the law by which the holy angels did live by, and by that holy law the angels do live, that law being written in their natures of pure reason.
And by their feeding upon that law, that is, by their perfect obedience to God their creator, they do live in his presence for ever.
So that the manna that came down from heaven, it was but a type or figure of the angels law written in their natures, by which they live in the presence of God to eternity
So likewise there is a law written in the nature and feed of faith, that is to say, in every true believer, and by this law written in his heart, he cometh to
perfećt obedience of faith, and so liveth by the faith of the son of God, as Paul sàith.
But I fay true believers now they live by the faith of God himfelf, and so it may
be called the faith of God's elect. So that every true believer doth eat of the hidden manna, that is, they eat the flesh of Christ, for he is that bread that came down from heaven, that whofoever doth eat thereof shall never dye.
So that to speak properly, the flesh of Christ is that hidden manna, and those refreshments and assurances of eternal life, as I said before, are but types and figures, as the other manna was to the Jews.
So that every one that doth truly believe in the true God, he doth eat of the hidden manna: it may well be call's hidden manna, for indeed it is hid from the greatest part of the world, and very few there are that do eat of it at all.
For none do eat of it but those to whom it is given, but the angels manna is eaten of by every man and woman in the world. And as for this white stone, this white stone signifies clean hearts ; as thus, whereas the heart before it was a heart of stone, or a stony heart, and not only fo, but it was a black stony heart, defiled with ignorance, blindness, darkness and unbelief.
So that the heart was compassed about, and covered with the fear of hell, and torment of foul, and now this black or red stony heart, it is purified by faith in the blood of the lamb.
It having a new law written in it, that is the law of faith, and so causeth men to walk in God's statutes; which statutes of God is to believe those whom he sends, and that faith will purifie the heart of that ignorance, darkness, and unbelief.
So that in spiritual matters the heart of man will become a whith stone ; it is called a white stone ; because it is cleansed from those things aforesaid, and made white by faith in the blood of the lamb.
So that this white stone is no other but a new heart, or the old heart made new by the power of faith.
And as for the new name that is written in this white stone; this new name is a secret knowledge and assurance, that he is one of the redeemed of God.
So that he hath the name of the second Adam written in his heart, even as all men have the name of the first Adam written in their hearts; because all men are in the fallen state, by nature, children of wrath.
And so every man can read his name, in that he can read it in his own heart, they all being under the name of the first Adam.
But the name of this second Adam, which is called A new name, which none knoweth saving be that receiveth it, this experience will witness that no man can know that secret knowledge and assurance of his own redemption by the second Adam, but he that hath it written in him by the finger of faith. So that all that do receive this white stone, they have this new name written in