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Therefore I would have the seed of faith to observe, that there is no seeing of God, the Alpha and Omega, neither by vision nor by faith, but in the form of a man.
Therefore called the Son of Man, so that though Christ be called the Son of Man, yet he is nevertheless God.
For he is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, as you plainly see in verse 17 of this chapter, where he saith, And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead, and he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, fear not, I am the first and the Last. I am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of rell and of death.
Here you that have faith in the true God, may clearly understand that this Jesus Christ, which is called the Son of Man, is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.
Also it may be as clearly understood by the seed of faith, that God did die.
For if God be Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, as I think all men will confess, then I say the same Alpha and Omega, and the same First and Last, is he which was dead, and is alive for evermore.
And was there any God that suffer'd death and rose again, but Christ?
Hath any God the keys of hell and of death in his hands, but Christ only?
And that you may see the truth of this, that Christ is Alpha and Omega, the First and the last, though become a son, having flesh, blood and bone, that
he might be capable to suffer the pains of death, as aforesaid.
Yet he is looked upon by the eye of faith, to be the First and the Last, the Lord Almighty, he being the same as the prophets prophesied of, as you may see Isaiah xli. 4. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord the First, and with the Last, I am he.
So likewise in Isaiah xliv. 6. Thus saith the Lord, the king of Israel, and his redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, I am the First, and I am the Last, and besides me there is no God.
I would have the seed of faith to understand that this Lord and this God, which is the First and the Last that Isaiah spcaketh of, is the same that John speaketh of in the Revelation, only the prophet spcaketh of him as he was in the condition of the Father, and was to redeem his people from their sin ; but John speaks of him as he is a Son, and that he liath suffered death, and redeemed his people.
And so John calls him the First and the Last, for as he was a son, and suffered death, but is now alive for evermore, Amen.'
Yet all but one God, even the man Christ Jesus, who is that Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, he who was dead, and is alive, and behold he is alive for evermore.
And no other God hath the keys of hell and of death, but Christ only, which he hath purchased by his own blood ; his blood being no less than the blood of God, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, as aforesaid.
| CHAP. VII. IN verse 19 of this chapter, John is commanded I to write the things which he had seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.
To whom he was to write, it was to the seven churches of Asia, and in verse 20, which is the last verse of this chapter, he interprets what the seven stars, which he saw in Christ's right hand is, and what the seven golden candlesticks are, therefore I shall say no more of it here.
And as for what John did write to the seven churches of Asia, it is set down in the two chapters following ; those two chapters treating only upon the seven churches of Asia, and the chief things in those two chapters I have interpreted already, and the chief things which are of most concernment in the first chapter I have also interpreted ; therefore I shall go to the fourth chapter ; but I suppose it will be necessary to the reader for me to shew what à resemblance and likeness there is between the seven churches now in Europe, in these our days, and the seven churches of Asia.
And how the angels of the seven churches, which are the ministers or speakers, do agree with the seven angels of the seven churches of Asia. I have spoken something of them in the interpretation of the Eleventh of the Revelation, but I shall speak a little more of them here, because it is something necessary to inform the reader. "Therefore mind the distinction between the one and the other."
We read that the seven churches of Asia had seven several names, as may be read, and according to their good practice, or their bad, they were either reproved or commended, as I have shewed before.
So likewise the ministers of the seven churches of Europe, may be called seven angels, for the ministry of every church, let it be one or more, it is called but one angel.
And every one of these seven churches hath a several ministry, therefore distinguished by these several names, as followeth:
1. Papist. 2. Episcopacy. 3. Presbytery. 4. Independent. 5. Baptist. 7. Ranter. 7. Quaker, Now the ministry of these seven churches of Europe, though they be angels, yet they are but antiangels, in opposition to the seven true angels.
Neither are the seven churches themselves true churches, but anti-churches, in opposition to the seven true churches in Asia.
And the reason why these churches are not true churches, is, because they have no true ministry ; and the cause why they have no true ministry, is, they have no commission from God to preach the everlasting gospel, as the angels of the seven churches of Asia had. · For there can be no true church without a true minister; for a true minister having a commission from God, maketh a true church.
But those that receive their commission from man, which is not sent of God, is no true minister, 'neither is his church any true church.
And Ånd as for those who take upon them to be ministers of the gospel, without a commission either from God, or from man ; when I say man, I mean from the king, or head magistrate, who gives cominissions to men to be preachers.
I say that these men who take upon them the minstry by reading the letter of the scriptures, or by any natural learning, wit, or light within, or gift' whatsoever, without a commission from God.
I say, they are worse than those who have their commission from the magistrate, as the Baptist, Ranter, and Quaker; these three have no commission to preach the everlasting gospel, neither from God nor from man.
Yet they are ministers of those three churches, and so called angels ; so that there are seven angels of the seven churches of Europe, as there were of Asia.
That is to say, the angel of the church of the Papist, the angel of the church of Episcopacy, the angel of the church of Presbytery, the angel of the church of Independents, the angel of the church of Baptists, the angel of the church of Ranters, and the angel of the church of Quakers. These seven churches having all of them a ministry differing one from the other in point of practice and discipline; but in point of doctrine they all agree.
For as to that, they are all ignorant of the true God, therefore cannot preach true doctrine, they having no commission from God, as aforesaid.
Likewise the angels of the seven churches of Asia, they did all of them differ one from the other in point of practice and discipline, but did all agree in, point of doctrine.