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‘And had twelve gates.’ In that he saith twelve gates, he alludeth to the city of Jerusalem that was of old, which had just so many (Neh 3: 12:37-29); and are on purpose put into the number of twelve, to answer to the whole number of the elect of G.o.d, which are comprehended within the number of the twelve tribes, whether they are natural Jews or Gentiles; for as all the G.o.dly Jews are the seed of Abraham after the flesh, though to G.o.dly, because they are the children of the flesh of Abraham; so all the G.o.dly Gentiles are the children of Abraham after the spirit, though not by that means made the children of the flesh of Abraham. They both meet then in the spirit and faith of the gospel, as G.o.d saith to the Jews, ‘when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the pa.s.sover to the Lord,’ that is, become G.o.dly, and receive the faith of Christ, let all his males be circ.u.mcised, and then let them come near, and keep it, &c. (Exo 12:48). For they that are of faith, are the children of faithful Abraham, who is called the very father of us all (Gal 3:7; Rom 4:16). Thus you see all the G.o.dly come under the t.i.tle of the children of Abraham, and of the Jews; and so under the denomination also of being persons belonging to the tribes, the twelve tribes, who answer to those twelve gates.

Wherefore the Psalmist minding this, speaking indefinitely of all the G.o.dly, under the name of the tribes of Israel; saying, ‘Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together, whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord’ (Psa 122:2-4).

But again, though I am certain that all the Gentiles that are at any time converted, are reckoned within the compa.s.s of some of the tribes of Israel, to which the gates of this city may truly be said to answer; yet the gates are here in a special manner called by the name of twelve, to answer to the happy return and restoration of those poor distressed creatures the twelve tribes of the Jews that are scattered abroad, and that are, and for a long time have been to our astonishment and their shame, as vagabonds and stragglers among the nations (Hosea 9:17), there to continue ‘many days, without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an ephod’ (Hosea 3:4). That is, without the true G.o.d, the true Saviour, and the true word and ordinances; after which, saith the same prophet, they shall even in the latter days, that is, when this city is builded, return and seek the Lord their G.o.d, and David their king, and shall then ‘fear the Lord and his goodness’ (Hosea 3:5). This the apostle also affirmeth, when he telleth the believing Gentiles that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in: which Israel in this place cannot by any means be taken for the Gentiles that are converted, for this Israel must be rejected until the bulk of the elect Gentiles be converted; besides he calleth this Israel by the name of Israel, even while unconverted; but the converted Gentiles still Gentiles, even when converted: he calls this Israel the natural branches, but the Gentiles wild branches; and tells us further, that when they are converted, they shall be grafted into their own olive tree; but when the Gentiles are converted, they must be cut off of their own stock and tree: read Romans 11 throughout. Wherefore, I say, the gates are called twelve, to answer these poor creatures, who at this day shall be awakened, and enlightened, and converted to the faith of Jesus.

These gates in another place are called a way, and these Jews, the kings of the east; and it is there said also, that at present this way doth want preparing; which is as much as to say this city wants setting up, and the gates want setting in their proper places. Wherefore, saith John, the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates, that is, destroyed the strength and force of the Roman antichrist-for the river Euphrates was the fence of literal Babylon, the type of our spiritual one-which force and fence, when it is destroyed or dried up, then the way of the kings of the east will be prepared, or made ready for their journey to this Jerusalem (Rev 16:12). Of this the prophets are full, crying, ‘Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people’ (Isa 57:14). And again, ‘Go through, go through the gates, prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the high way; gather out the stones, lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy salvation cometh; behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out; A city not forsaken’ (Isa 62:10-12). All which doth most especially relate to the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, who in great abundance shall, when all things are made ready, come flocking in to the Son of G.o.d, and find favour, as in the days of old.

[The angels at the gates, what they are.]

‘And at the gates twelve angels.’ By angels in this place, we are to understand the messengers and ministers of the Lord Jesus, by whom the mystery of eternal life and felicity is held forth and discovered before the sons of men; and thus this word angel is frequently taken in this prophecy (Rev 1:20; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7; 14:6).

‘And at the gates twelve angels’-

In these words, then, there are two things to be considered. First.

Why they should be called twelve. And, Second. Why they are said to stand at the twelve gates of this new and holy city.

First. They are called twelve, to signify two things. 1. The truth of their doctrine. And, 2. The sufficiency of their doctrine and ministry for the converting of the twelve tribes to the faith of Christ, and privileges of this city.

1. For the truth of their doctrine: for by twelve here he would have us to understand that he hath his eye upon the twelve apostles, or upon the doctrine of the twelve, the apostolical doctrine. As if he should say, This city, the New Jerusalem, shall be every way accomplished with beauty and glory; she shall have a wall for her security, and twelve gates to answer the twelve tribes; yea, and also at these gates the twelve apostles, in their own pure, primitive, and unspotted doctrine. The Romish beasts have corrupted this doctrine by treading it down with their feet, and have muddied this water with their own dirt and filthiness (Eze 34:17,18).[6]

But at this day, this shall be recovered from under the feet of these beasts, and cleansed also from their dirt, and be again in the same glory, splendour, and purity, as in the primitive times.

It is said that when Israel was pa.s.sed out of Egypt, beyond the sea, they presently came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, &c., and that they encamped by the waters (Exo 15:27). Which twelve wells did figure forth the doctrine of the twelve apostles, out of which the church, at her return from captivity, shall draw and drink, as out of the wells of salvation. Now shall the wells of our father Abraham, which the Philistines have for a great while stopped; now, I say, shall they again be opened by our Isaac, his son; and shall be also called after their own names (Gen 26:18).

This is generally held forth by the prophets, that yet again the church shall be fed upon the mountains of Israel, and that they ‘shall lie down in a good fold, and a fat pasture’; yea, ‘I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord G.o.d’ (Eze 34:14,15).

2. As by these twelve we are to understand the truth and purity of the doctrine of the twelve, so again, by this word twelve, we are to understand the sufficiency of that doctrine and ministry to bring in the twelve tribes to the privileges of this city. Mark, for the twelve tribes there are twelve gates, for every tribe a gate; and at the twelve gates, twelve angels, at every gate an angel. ‘O Judah,’ saith G.o.d, ‘he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of thy people’ (Hosea 6:11). And so for the rest of the tribes; before Ephraim and Benjamin, and Mana.s.seh, he will stir up his strength to save them (Psa 80:2). ‘I will hiss for them,’ saith G.o.d, ‘and gather them, for I have redeemed them; and they shall increase as they have increased: and I will sow them among the people, and they shall remember me in far countries, and they shall live with their children, and return again; I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of a.s.syria, and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, and place shall not be found for them’ (Zech 10:8-10).

[Second.] But to come to the second question, that is, Why these twelve angels are said to stand at the gate? which may be for divers reasons.

1. To show us that the doctrine of the twelve is the doctrine that letteth in at these gates, and that also that shutteth out.

‘Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted,’ saith Christ, ‘and whosesoever sins yet retain, they are retained’ (John 20:23; Matt 18:18). And hence it is that the true ministers, in their right administration, are called porters; because as porters stand at the gate, and there open to, or shut upon, those that make an attempt to enter in (Mark 13:34); so the ministers of Christ, by the doctrine of the twelve, do both open to and shut the gates against the person that will be attempting to enter in at the gates of this city (2 Chron 23:19).

2. But again, they are said to stand at the gates for the encouraging and persuading of the tempted and doubting Jews, who at the beginning of their return will be much afflicted under the sight and sense of their own wretchedness. Alas! were it not for some to stand at the gates of this city for instruction, and the encouragement of those that will at that day in earnest be looking after life, they might labour as in other things for very, very vanity; and might also be so grievously beat out of heart and spirit, that they might die in despair. But now to prevent this for those that are in the way to Zion with watery eyes, and wetted cheeks, here stand the angels, continually sounding with their golden gospel-trumpets, ‘Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good, and his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth’ for ever, even ‘to all generations’ (Psa 100:4,5). As he saith again, ‘And it shall come to pa.s.s in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of a.s.syria, and the outcast in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem’ (Isa 27:13).

[The names written on the gates.]

‘And at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.’ Thus it was in the vision of the prophet, when he was taking a view of the pattern of this city: ‘And the gates of the city,’ saith the angel to him, ‘shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel’

(Eze 48:31). Which saying John doth here expound, saying, the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel were writ or set upon them.

This being thus, it cleareth to you what I said but now, to wit, that the gates are called twelve, to answer the twelve tribes, for their names are written thereon. This must therefore, without all doubt, be a very great encouragement to this despised people; I say great encouragement, that notwithstanding all their rebellion, blasphemy, and contempt of the glorious gospel, their names should be yet found recorded and engraved upon the very gates of New Jerusalem. Thus then shall the Jews be comforted in the latter days; and truly they will have but need hereof; for doubtless, at their return, when they are thoroughly sensible of the murder they have committed, not only upon the bodies of the prophets and apostles, but of the Son of G.o.d himself, I say this must needs, together with the remembrance of the rest of their villainous actions, exceedingly afflict and distress their bleeding souls.

For ‘the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping; they shall go and seek the Lord their G.o.d. They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward’ (Jer 50:4,5). Mark, ‘going and weeping’; there will not be a step that these poor people will take in the day of their returning, but will be watered with the tears of repentance and contrition, under the consideration of the wickedness that, in the days of their rebellion, they have committed against the Lord of glory. As he saith also by another prophet, ‘I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon, and the land shall mourn’ (Zech 12:10-12).

Wherefore, I say, they both have and also will have need of twelve gates, and on them the names of their twelve tribes, with an angel at each, to encourage them to enter this holy and goodly city; and to tell them that yet he counts them his friends in whose house he received the wounds in his hands (Zech 13:6).

But again, As by the names of the twelve tribes written on the gates, we may see what encouragement the Jews will have, at their return, to enter in at them; so we may also understand that by the names of the twelve tribes here written, G.o.d would have us to perceive how all must be qualified that from among the Gentiles at this day do enter in at these gates; namely, those, and those only, that be cut out of their own wild olive tree, and transplanted among the children of Israel, into their good olive tree. Such as are Jews inwardly, the Israel of G.o.d, according to the new creature, they shall enter, for the holy Gentiles also, by virtue of their conversion, are styled the children of Abraham, Jews, the chosen generation, the peculiar people, the holy nation; and so are spiritually, though not naturally by carnal generation, of the twelve tribes whose names are written upon the gates of the city (Gal 3:7; Rom 2:28; 1 Peter 2:9,10). ‘And it shall come to pa.s.s,’ saith the prophet, ‘that in what tribe the stranger,’ that is, the Gentile ‘sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord G.o.d’ (Eze 47:23). Thus the Jews and Gentiles shall meet together in the spirit of the gospel, and so both become a righteous nation; to both which the gates of this city shall stand continually open; at which also they may with boldness demand, by the faith of the Lord Jesus, their entrance, both for communion with the G.o.d, grace, and privileges of this city, according to that which is written, ‘Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in’ (Isa 26:2). Thus much of the number of the gates, and now to proceed to the order of them.

[The order of the gates.]

Ver. 13. ‘On the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.’ I shall not speak anything to the manner of his repeating of the quarters towards which the gates do look; why he should begin at the east, then to the north, afterwards crossing to the south, and last to the west; though I do verily think that the Holy Ghost hath something to show us, wherefore he doth thus set them forth. And possibly he may set them thus, and the west last, not only because the west part of the world is that which always closeth the day, but to signify that the west, when Jerusalem is rebuilded, will be the last part of the world that will be converted, or the gate that will be last, because longest, occupied with the travels of the pa.s.sengers and wayfaring men in their journey to this Jerusalem.

But I pa.s.s that.

From the order of their standing, I shall inquire into two things.

First. Why the gates should look in this manner every way, both east, west, north, and south? Second. Why there should be three, just three, on every side of this city? ‘On the east three, on the north three, on the south three, and on the west three.’

First. For the first, the gates by looking every way, into all quarters, may signify to us thus much, that G.o.d hath a people in every corner of the world. And also, that grace is to be carried out of these gates by the angels in their ministry into every place, to gather them home to him. As it is said of the living creatures, ‘Whither the head looked they followed it, they turned not as they went’ (Eze 10:11); so whithersoever the gates look, thither the ministers go, and carry the Word, to gather together the elect. He ‘sent them two and two before his face, into every city and place whither he himself would come’ (Luke 10:1; Matt 28:19; John 11:52).

Again, the gates, by their thus looking every way, do signify to us, that from what quarter or part of the world soever men come for life, for those men there are the gates of life, even right before their doors. Come they from the east, why thither look the gates; and so if they come from north, or west, or south. No man needs at all to go about to come at life, and peace, and rest. Let him come directly from sin to grace, from Satan to Jesus Christ, and from this world to New Jerusalem. The twelve brazen oxen that Solomon made to bear the molten sea (1 Kings 7:23-25), they stood just as these gates stand, and signify, as I said before, that the doctrine of the twelve apostles should be carried into all the world, to convert-as in the primitive times, so now at the building of New Jerusalem-and to bring in G.o.d’s sheep to the fold of his church. Now, I say, as the Word is carried every way, so the gates, the open gates, look also into all corners after them, to signify that loving reception that shall be given to every soul that from any corner of the whole world shall unfeignedly close in with grace, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, therefore, men ‘shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of G.o.d’

(Luke 13:29; Psa 107:1-3).

[Second.] ‘On the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.’ Having thus showed you in a word, why they stand thus looking into every corner or quarter of the world, I now come to show you why there must be just three looking in this manner every way.

1. Then, there may be three looking every way, to signify that it is both by the consent of the three persons in the Trinity, that the gospel should thus every way go forth to call men, and also to show you that both the Father, Son, and Spirit, are willing to receive and embrace the sinner, from whatsoever part or corner of the earth he cometh hither for life and safety. Come they from whence they will, the Father is willing to give them the Son, and so is the Son to give them himself, and so is the Spirit to give them its help against whatever may labour to hinder them while they are here (John 3:16; Rev 21:6; 22:17).

2. In that three of the gates look every way, it may be also to show us that there is none can enter into this city, but by the three offices of the Lord Jesus. Christ by his priestly office must wash away their sins; and by his prophetical office he must illuminate, teach, guide, and refresh them; and by his kingly office, rule over them and govern them with his Word (Heb 7:5; John 13:8; Acts 3:22-24; Isa 40:10,11; 9:6,7; Psa 76:1-3; 110:3).

3. Or, by three gates, may be signified the three states of the saints in this life; an entrance into childhood, an entrance into a manly state, and an entrance into the state of a father of the church (1 John 2:12-14). Or, lastly, the three gates may signify the three-fold state we pa.s.s through from nature to glory; the state of grace in this life, the state of felicity in paradise, and our state in glory after the resurrection: or thus, the state of grace that possesseth body and soul in this life, the state of glory that possesseth the soul at death, and the state of glory that both body and soul shall be possessed with at the coming of the Lord and Saviour. This was figured forth by the order of the stairs in the temple at Jerusalem, which was first, second, and third, by which men ascended from the lowest to the uppermost room in the house of G.o.d; as he tells us, ‘They went up with winding stairs’ from the first into the second story, and from thence by them into the third (1 Kings 6:8). Thus much for the wall and gates of New Jerusalem.

[The foundations of the wall.]

Ver. 14. ‘And the wall of this city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.’ In these words we have two things considerable:-First. That the city-wall hath twelve foundations. Second. That in these twelve are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

First. It hath twelve foundations. This argueth invincible strength and support. That wall that hath but one foundation, how strongly doth it stand, if it be but safely laid upon a rock, even so strongly that neither wind nor weather, in their greatest vehemency, are able to shake or stir it to make it fall. But I say, how much more when a city hath foundations, twelve foundations, and those also laid by G.o.d himself; as it is said concerning the worthies of old, they ‘looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is G.o.d’ (Heb 11:10).

‘And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.’ The wall, you know, I told you, is the wall of salvation, or the safety of the church by Jesus Christ, to which is adjoined, as the effect of that, the special providence and protection of G.o.d. Now this wall, saith the Holy Ghost, hath twelve foundations, to wit, to bear it up for the continuation of the safety and security of those that are the inhabitants of this city; a foundation is that which beareth up all, and that upon which the stress of all must lie and abide.

Now, to speak properly, the foundation of our happiness is but one, and that one none but the Lord Jesus; ‘For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor 3:11). So then, when he saith the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and that in them also are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, he doth not mean that this wall had twelve Christs for its support, but that the doctrine of the twelve apostles is that doctrine upon which both Christ, and grace, and all happiness standeth firm and sure for ever. And to signify also, that neither Christ nor any of his benefits can be profitable unto thee, unless thou receive him alone upon the terms that they do hold him forth and offer him to sinners in their word and doctrine.

If ‘we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you,’ saith Paul, ‘than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be accursed’ (Gal 1:8,9).

[Second.] ‘And in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.’ ‘And in them their names.’ This makes it manifest that by the foundations of this wall, we are to understand the doctrine of the twelve apostles of the Lord Christ, for their names are to it, or found engraved in the foundations. Thus it was with the doctrine which was the foundation of the Jewish church; the first pattern being delivered by the man Moses, his name was always so entailed to that doctrine, that at last it became common, and that by Divine allowance, to call that doctrine by the name of Moses himself. ‘There is one that accuseth you,’ saith Christ, ‘even Moses in whom ye trust’ (John 5:45). And again, ‘For Moses of old hath in every city them that preach him’ (Acts 15:21). The same liberty of speech doth the Holy Ghost here use in speaking of the foundations of this wall, which is the doctrine of the twelve. And in that he calleth the doctrine by the name of foundations, and leaveth it only with telling us the names of the twelve apostles are engraven in it; he expects that men should be wise that read him, and that they should be skillful in the word of righteousness, if they come up clearly to the understanding of him.

‘And in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.’

Thus you see that the twelve apostles, above all the servants of Christ, are here owned to be the foundations of this wall; and good reason, for they, above all other, are most clear and full in the doctrine of grace, and all doctrines pertaining to life and holiness. ‘In other ages,’ saith Paul, it ‘was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed to the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit’ (Eph 3:5). Moses was not fit for this, for his was a more dark and veiled administration; while Moses is read, the veil is over the heart, said Paul (2 Cor 3:13-15).

Neither was any of the prophets fit for this, for they were all inferior to Moses, and were, as it were, his scholars (Num 12:6,7).

Nay, John the Baptists is here shut out;-for the ‘least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he’ (Matt 11:11).

The apostles, above all other, were the men that were with the Lord Jesus all the time, from the baptism of John, even until the time he was taken up into heaven; they saw him, heard him, and discoursed with him, and were beholders of all the wondrous works that he did; they did eat and drink with him after his pa.s.sion, and saw, after he was risen, the print of the nails, and the spear with which he was pierced, when he died for our sins (Luke 24:39,40).

And because they had seen, felt, and at such a rate experienced all things from the very first, both touching his doctrine, miracles, and life, therefore he said unto them in chief, Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the utmost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8,21; 13:31; 10:39; 51:32; 1 John 1:1-3).

Further, The apostles were in that marvellous manner endued with the Holy Ghost, that they out-stript all the prophets that ever went before them; neither can I believe that in the best of times there should be any beyond them; yet if it should so fall out that a dispensation should come in which they should have, as to the pouring forth of the Spirit, their equals, yet it could not follow, that therefore the gospel should be offered in other terms than they at first have offered it, especially besides what hath been said of them, if you consider to them it was said, ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven’ (Matt 18:18).

They, as to their doctrine, were infallible, it was impossible they should err; he that despised their doctrine, despised G.o.d himself.

Besides, they have given in commandment that all should write after their copy, and that we should judge both men and angels that did, or would do otherwise (1 Thess 3:8; Gal 1:8).

Timothy must have his rule from Paul, and so must holy t.i.tus. All which, if we consider it, the Holy Ghost speaks to the purpose, in saying that in the twelve foundations are found the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. They are called the chief, and such as have laid the foundation, and others build thereon, and that as no men have laid the foundation but they, so none can lay even that foundation otherwise than they afore have laid it (1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11,12; 1 Cor 3:6-11; Heb 6:1-3).[7]

[Consideration from these words.] ‘And in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.’ These words, then, teach us two things worthy of our Christian consideration.

First. That G.o.d hath given to every man a certain and visible mark to aim at for his salvation, or to build his soul upon, namely, the doctrine of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. For in that he saith their names are in the foundations, it is better for us, all things considered, than if he had said in them was the name of G.o.d himself; that is, it is more easy to see this way, through the mist of our carnality, what the mystery of his will should be, which is, that we receive Christ according to their doctrine, words, writings, epistles, letters, &c., their names, I say, being there, G.o.d counts it as the broad seal of heaven, which giveth authority to all that doctrine whereunto by themselves they are prefixed and subscribed; not where they are writ by others, but by themselves. I say, as the token of every epistle, and of their doctrine for truth, the which Paul insinuates, when he saith that his hand is the token of every epistle (2 Thess 3:17; Gal 6:11).

As he saith again, Am I not an apostle? (1 Cor 9:1). And again, Behold, I Paul, have written unto you; I Paul (Gal 5:2), I, an apostle, I, a wise master-builder, I, who am in my doctrine one of the foundations of the wall of salvation, I have written unto you (1 Cor 11:5). And, as I said before, there is reason it should be thus: for as he who was the foundation of the Jewish church, even Moses, received the pattern of all his order from the mouth of the angel in Mount Sinai, so the twelve received their doctrine of faith and manners, the doctrine of the New Testament, from the mouth of the Son of G.o.d himself, as from the mouth of the angel of the everlasting covenant, on the mountain of Zion (Acts 7:38; 1:3; Matt 28:19).

Second. In that he saith the names of the twelve are in the foundations, this shows us the reason of the continual standing of this Jerusalem; it is built upon the doctrine of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and standeth there. For, observe, so long as he sees this holy city, he sees her standing upon these foundations; but he saw the city till she was taken up, therefore she continued as being settled for ever upon them. Indeed, the primitive city, or first churches, was built upon these foundations, and had also, so long as they there continued, sufficient supportation and upholding by that means (Eph 2:20-22). But then, as I have showed you, the wall of her salvation, and the wall of G.o.d’s special protection, stood at a distance each from other, and were not so conjoined as now they will be. Wherefore they then, to answer the type, did fall into the ditch that was between, and through their foolishness provoked G.o.d to remove the wall of his outward protection and safeguard from them, whereupon the wild beast, Antichrist, got into his vineyard, making havoc of all their dainties.

But mark, this city is not so, the walls are now conjoined, and for ever fastened upon the foundations,[8] therefore it abides for ever, and ascends higher and higher; yet not from the foundations, but by them into heaven: ‘Behold,’ saith G.o.d, ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me’

(Isa 49:16).

———-

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