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take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him?"

20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Brimstone is solid sulphur, sulphur which has neither been fused nor sublimated, which has not undergone elevation by fire, which abides as originally it was of the earth earthy. Of sulphur (see Latham's Dictionary) I read that it is an mentary substance so called; the name, unlike the majority of similar ones, being destitute of any technical termination indicative of its character. . . . This suggests the likelihood of the characters of sulphur being negative rather than positive." Sulphur thus becomes a parable of mankind in general brimstone of any in particular who may be condemned to the lake of fire. Sulphur is not evil by original constitution, but to become actually good it needs the elevating action of fire: not consigned to the purifying crucible it remains gross though capable of refinement: capable of refinement yet unrefined it is at last condemned as fuel to the flame. [I mean not my little parable for scientific experts, but for verbal dabblers like myself.]

"The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet":bound up as it were in a bundle to be burnt. "Fear not, neither be faint-hearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands." O Christ Who once wast condemned that we might never be condemned, pity us.

Who once enduredst shame that we might never fall into everlasting con

tempt, pity us.

Who once was forsaken of all that we might never be forsaken of God, pity us.

Who once was slain that we might never die, pity us.

Who once madest Thy bed in a grave that we might not come short of a blessed resurrection, pity us.

O Christ Who showest us hell that we may flee from it, pity us.

Who showest us heaven that we may thither ascend, pity us.

Because, O Christ, we deserve condemnation, pity us.

Because shame hath covered our face, pity us.

Because many times we have forsaken God, pity us.

Because we have destroyed ourselves, pity us.

Because we have said to corruption father, to the worm mother and sister, pity us.

O Christ Who knowest and we know not the depth of hell, pity us.

Who knowest and we know not the height of heaven, pity us.

Joseph yearned over Benjamin. O Christ, Lord God Almighty, Who hast deigned to become our Brother, pity us.


21. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

"With the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” The deceivers are cast alive into a lake of fire, the deceived are slain with the sword: "With Him is strength and Wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are His." Thus the seducer being incomparably more guilty than the seduced, incurs a proportionate doom; the scale of condemnation being poised as accurately, equitably, subtly, as even the scale of salvation. According to which Divine model of Justice and Mercy, Holy Mother Church now disciplines or would fain discipline her children: "Of some have compassion, making a difference and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

"The eye

"And all the fowls were filled with their flesh."that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it":—a proverb with a natural meaning and a supernatural suggestion.

The end of all things is at hand. We all
Stand in the balance trembling as we stand;

Or if not trembling, tottering to a fall.
The end of all things is at hand.

O hearts of men, covet the unending land!

O hearts of men, covet the musical,

Sweet, never-ending waters of that strand!

While Earth shows poor, a slippery rolling ball,

And Hell looms vast, a gulf unplumbed, unspanned,
And Heaven flings wide its gates to great and small,
The end of all things is at hand.

Earth is pre-eminently that rolling stone which gathers no
She has treasure, but it can be laid up in heaven only:


she has a harvest, but her harvest-home is in heaven.


1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

"An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him." Not that I dare misdeem of this avenging Angel as tinged with any taint of cruelty, but only as merciless when God All-Merciful shuts up His loving kindness in displeasure. If "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," no less are the "cruelties" of the righteous merciful; for the casting away of all evil is the restitution of all things.

Who forged that chain? Surely the dragon himself. So Goliath furnished the sword which smote off his own head, and Haman reared the gallows on which he himself came to be hanged. Thus we are self-bound in the chain of sin before God tightens it upon us as a chain of penalty.

"O God, Whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive, receive our humble petitions; and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of Thy great mercy loose us; for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate. Amen."

In the same sense that "God made not death," made He not punishment.

O God our God, Who hast no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, from death deliver fleshly sinners, spotted, stained, leprous, hideous, one and all and me a sinner.

From destruction deliver worldly sinners, clogged, weighed down, glued fast to perishing earth, one and all and me a sinner.

From the bottomless pit, from the lake of fire, deliver spiritual sinners, wilful, rebellious, defiant, braving vengeance, one and all and me a sinner.

For the love of Jesus, Who laid aside His Glory, Who learned obedience, Who was crucified, Who made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, for love of one and all and of me a sinner. Amen.

2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled and after that he must be loosed a little


Truly a joyful day when these "former things" shall come to pass. Meanwhile if it was not for Apostles to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power, how much less for me!

The date is hidden, the event revealed: the date therefore concerns me not at present, the event concerns me at once.

But what? must we fall a helpless prey to the strong raging dragon, the insinuating serpent, until an angel secure him with chain and seal and the lid of hell? Not so. Even now already thou hast thy chain at hand, my brother, my sister: I, if I will, have mine.

"Satan trembles when he sees

The weakest saint upon his knees."

Prayer is a chain apt presently to bind him, and which he cannot snap; prayer which links earth to heaven, human weakness to Divine Strength, me (if I will), even me to my Redeemer. Though the great and wide sea be Leviathan's playground, yet to him and to his habitation alike God hath assigned a bound by a perpetual decree so that neither can pass over it.

Lord Jesus, Who Alone makest our prayers acceptable to the Father, shelter us under prayer, hide us in prayer, give us breathings of prayer wherewith to quench the fiery breath of the dragon, wisdom of prayer whereby to silence the lying subtilty of the serpent. Amen.

Not dragon simply, or serpent simply; but serpent-dragon to be fled from when met raging, and still more to be feared when gliding unobtrusively. Not a novice, but an "old serpent," surpassingly subtil when Eve encountered him, and having now the accumulated experience of thousands of years and millions of victories.-Good Lord, deliver us.

"A seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till. ..."—If upon himself, Cain's mark as it were. If upon his prison, then we are reminded of the irreversible act of Darius: "A stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed."

Hell has no bottom, but has a lid: I need not fall in. Hell has indeed no bottom, yet has it one only exit and that upwards. A figure to me of the folly of piling sin on sin in hopes of self-extrication. To cover one lie by a second lie

thickens the lid over me.

Lord, grant us wills to trust Thee with such aim
Of hope and passionate craving of desire,
That we may mount aspiring, and aspire
Still while we mount; rejoicing in Thy Name
Yesterday, this day, day by day the Same :

So sparks fly upward scaling heaven by fire,
Still mount and still attain not, yet draw nigher
While they have being to their fountain flame.
To saints who mount, the bottomless abyss

Is as mere nothing they have set their face
Onward and upward toward that blessed place
Where man rejoices with his God, and soul
With soul, in the unutterable kiss

Of peace for every victor at the goal.

"The thousand years . . . a little season."-I can compute a thousand, but not a little. The thousand years I might call long the little season I incline to figure to myself as much shorter. Either would appear brief if compared with the whole of time; and time from beginning to end would itself dwindle to mere brevity if set against eternity. Nevertheless eternity hangs on time. "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"

The thousand years of exemption are to be "fulfilled." We read not that the little season of final horror is to be fulfilled. Perhaps Divine Compassion may cut it short; if so, it appears in harmony with Christ's promise: "For the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

"He must... "-What is to be understood by this must? an irresponsible, inflexible fate overbearing the Will of the Almighty? Not so: it expresses to us the fiat of that Almighty Will.-Shall would have conveyed the same without ambiguity. Possibly so: and if so, a surface ambiguity is here superadded for my profit.-How should it profit one?-By

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