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into the possession of that which elders, represent the churches ; behas been promised to her.
cause they say, that the Lamb has During the time that the Apostle redeemed them by his blood : provsaw the vision of the Great Bishoping that they are men, and not walking in the midst of the churches, angels : which is further proved by he was in the isle of Patmos (i. 9). their declaring that they are an But now that he is going to see election out of every nation, kinanother dramatic representation, dred, people, and tongue. The he is taken up into heaven. "A church, then, being in a state in door was opened in heaven, and which she is conscious of what is the voice said, Come up hither” going on, rejoices on seeing the (iv. 1). The prophet here sees a Lamb take the book, and sings, not ihrone with some one sitting on that she does reign on the earth, but it like a jasper and a sardine that she, ishall reign on the earth. stone; the one remarkable for its Now the question is, What connecpure transparent whiteness, and the tion is there between the Lamb other for its clear redness, like cor- taking the book, and the church nelian ;-the two combined repre- reigning upon the earth ? because senting the appearance of a glo- the one is the reason assigned for rified body, spiritual, yet fleshly; the other; “ Thou art worthy, for the Godhead united with humanity. thou wast slain ; and we shall reign The rainbow, the emblem of un- on the earth." broken faithfulness, surmounts the This prophecy of the Apocalypse throne; before which, four living contains two books; the one sealed, creatures (imperfectly translated in chapter v., and the other open, beasts in our version), and four-and- in x. 8. The meaning of what these twenty elders, offer adoration. two books signify,- the former, in
In the hand of Him that sat on the hand of Christ, under the emthe throne was a book sealed with blem of the Lamb; and the latter, seven seals, which no
in the hand of the same, under the worthy to open. Upon which, emblem of the “ mighty angel," — the Apostle wept; and one of the will appear from referring to the elders consoled him by the infor. Jewish Law concerning the remation that the Lion of the tribe deemer, and the title-deeds of the of Judah had prevailed to open it. estate to be redeemed. In the Upon this, the Apostle sees "a history of Ruth we read, that the Lamb, as it had been slain, having right or power of redemption was seven horns," the emblem of all only in the nearest of kin; and furpower; “ and seven eyes, which are ther, that no one was empowered to the seven Spirits of God sent forth take the inheritance, or the wife into all the earth. And he came alone, but that whoever took one and took the book out of the right was obliged to take the other also. hand of him that sat upon the The nearest of kin to Ruth was throne." Upon this, the four live willing to take Ruth's estate, but ing creatures, and the twenty-four not to take herself : “ No," said elders “sung a new song, saying, Boaz, "you must take both, or Thou art worthy to take the book, neither.” In Jer. xxxii. we read, and to open the seals thereof; for that, just before the destruction of ihou wast slain, and hast redeemed the city of Jerusalem, the prophet us to God by thy blood, out of every was instructed to predict the future kindred, and tongue, and people, and restoration of the Jews to it. Jenation, and hast made us kings and remiah's uncle, seeming to think priests; and we shall reign upon the the state of affairs desperate, goes earth.”
to his nephew and says, “Since you We learn, hence, that the living believe that we shall return to this creatures, and the twenty-four land, although the Chaldeans are
on the point of taking it, will you xix. xx.; Numb. x.; Judges vii.; buy my estate ?" evidently with the Lev. xxiii.; Josh. vi. vii.; and hence intention of cheating his nephew by repeatedly referred to throughout selling him that which was worth the Prophets); the seventh of which, nothing. Jeremiah had been pre- like the seventh seal, shews the viously warned of God that his uncle last of her enemies destroyed, and would come and make him this herself entered on her eternal rest. offer, and was directed to accept it, The various parts of the last acts of and buy the estate : and from the providence and judgment, described account of the transaction of the by the seventh seal and seventh sale and purchase which is there re- trumpet, are given with more micorded, we know that the title-deeds nuteness than the former acts under consisted of two books ; the one the figures of seven vials; because sealed, and the other open (ver. 11). it is during the effusion of these, Whoever, having paid a price for that is, after the sixth and before an estate, is in possession of the the seventh, that the Lord “comés title-deeds, in all countries is the as a thief” to take his saints to possessor of the estate.
himself, previous to the final judgThe Lord Jesus Christ, to fulfil ment on the apostate nations alive the office of Redeemer, must redeem in Christendom, commonly called both his spouse and her inheritance. “ the judgment of the quick;" which The inheritance given to Adam and judgment closes the seventh seal, his posterity was the rule, and so- seventh trumpet, and seventh vial. vereignty, and dominion over the The question next arises, What earth. This inheritance was lost; are the seven acts of providence, but the restoration of it was pro- and the seven acts of judgment, mised to Eve, to Abraham, to David, typified by the seven seals and &c. To redeem his bride he has seven trumpets? This question can appeared in the humiliation of her only be answered by a reference to condition; and to redeem her estate history, which it is not intended to he will appear again as the God of make. There is one point, howwar, mighty in battle. For the first, ever, which is worthy of observahe has become the Lamb slain; fortion ; namely, the date and place the second, he will be the Lion of which occur in all these visions. the tribe of Judah. The record of It was required by the law, Deut. his life and death and resurrection, xviii. 22, that unless a prophecy in the Evangelists, shews us what came to pass, the prophet was not he did to redeem the spouse; the to be believed: hence, whenever Book of the Revelation shews us the the ancient prophets foretold a fumethod by which he is redeeming ture distant event, it was always in the estate. These methods are de- such language that it should not scribed as seven different acts of only include that ultimate event, his providence ; one opened to the but also some other nearer event, church after the other, under the that the veracity of the prophet figure of loosing a seal of the book might be proved; the attention of which contains the history; and the the people called thereby to the seventh shews the earth redeemed, greater subject not yet unfolded; and He acknowledged its Possessor and God's righteousness, in punisband Lord. These methods are for- ing them for rejecting the warning, ther described as seven different cleared. This made the essential acts of judgment upon His and his difference between a prophet sent church's enemies, under the figures by Jehovah, and one of the false of seven blasts of trumpets ; an in- prophets; who were always deceivinstrument often connected with ing the people by promising them God's manifestations to, and deal- peace, and not judgment. In like ings with, His church (see Exod. manner it is necessary that these visions, shewn to the Apostle John, think that the first seal signifies should have a time and a locality Christianity taken into favour under affixed to them, in order that they Constantine ; the second, the permay be distinguished from any idle secutions and wars induced by the dreams of a distempered fancy. Arian heresies ; the third, the ob
Accordingly, the first vision, that scurity of the dark ages; the of the Bishop, contains the locality fourth, the cruelties of the Inquisiof the seven churches of Asia : and tion and the Papacy; the fifth, the time is marked by the ten days the complaint of the true believers; of tribulation ; which, all are agreed, the sixth, the Reformation. took place, and were over, before Others think that abstract things, the conversion of the Emperor such as the system of Christianity, Constantine to Christianity, in the are not matters of prophecy, which year 312. In like manner, the se- always deals with tangible and vicond vision of the opening of the sible men and things : that the seals seals contains the words in chap. vi. represent the acts by which God ver. 8, “the fourth part of the earth;" cast down the enemies of his church: which furnishes the key by which that the first seal represents Conto interpret both the time and the stanline the Great establishing place of it. The earth, or world, Christianity on the ruins of Pais the word constantly made use of ganism ; the second, Theodosius in Scripture for the Roman empire: the Great putting down the Pait is sometimes, also, used for the ganism which had been revived by three great universal empires which Julian ; the third, Honorius the preceded it, represented by the Great, and the famine that raged parts of the colossal image, and by when Alaric besieged Rome, sparthe beasts of the visions of Daniel. ing the Christians and burning the Thus, where it is said, that "a de- heathen temples; the fourth, Jus.. cree went forth that all the world tinian the Great, who finally extirshould be taxed ” (Luke ii. 1), it is pated the Arians ; the fifth, the obvious that “all the world” means cry of the saints, who had been no more than the Roman empire; martyred by Paganism and Arianto which alone the decree was ism,-hoping now that, their eneaddressed, or could extend. The mies being all destroyed, they question, then, is, “What is meant should be raised to enter into rest, by the fourth part of it?" Now it but are told that there was another is matter of fact, that the Roman. crop of martyrs to be taken under empire was divided into four parts, the Papacy, which had now risen in called Prefectures, in the time of power by the edicts of Justinian ; Constantine. This, then, being the the sixth, the punishment of the time and the place of this vision, Papacy, beginning at the French and the former vision occupying the Revolution ; and going on to the period between the calling of the seventh, when a similar event deGentile churches and the conversion stroys all Christendom. of Constantine, it follows, that this Others, again, think that the first vision takes up the history at the four seals are the same as the four reign of that emperor, and con- metals of the image, and the four tinues down till the sovereignty of beasts of the visions in Daniel, inthe world is brought under Christ. troduced here in order to connect
It is comparatively of less im- this book with that of Daniel ; that portance what particular events of the fifth seal relates to the two history we ascribe to each of the crops of martyrs gathered under first six seals. Some, from the sym- pagan and papal Rome. bol of Christ on the white throne, The viith chapter shews a body in chap. xix. ver. 11, represent- of people sealed and preserved from ing the final triumph of Christianity, all, or from some of, these judg
ments of the seals. They cannot after the sealing of the tribes ; for be the literal twelve tribes of Israel, this one hundred and forty-four because they are described in chap. thousand are called in chap. xiv., xiv. as following the Lamb. They “ the first fruits;" whereas the cannot be the elect, because there great multitude here are seen with is a countless multitude mentioned “palms" in their hands, which were besides them as being saved. It used at the feast of tabernacles,--a necessarily follows, therefore, that feast that took place long after the the national Israel is put for some feast of " first fruits." nation answering in the Gentile The next vision is that of the times that purpose in the dispensa- trumpets (ch. viii); upon the blowtions of God which the literal Israeling of each of which, a visitation of did in the former times: and as the wrath is seen to be inflicted upon sealing is mentioned after the sixth " the third part of the earth,' seal is opened, it seems to follow " third part of trees, third part of that the preservation should have living creatures in the sea, third special reference to that judgment part of ships, third part of rivers, History tells us, that the armies third part of sun, third part of of infidel France did scourge the moon, third part of stars, &c.” This Papacy, and march triumphant into reiteration of the words “ third the capital city of every Popish part," shews that it is an expression . state ; and that froin this visitation of importance; and it indicates the the Protestant nation of England time and place of this vision, as the was alone preserved. An additional words “ fourth part " indicated the objection to the twelve tribes mean- time and place of the vision of the ing literally the Jewish nation, 'seals. Nearly at the same period arises from the fact, that no name that the Roman Empire was dividin this book is used in its literal ed into four parts, it was divided sense ; such as Euphrates, Sodom, into three. History informs us, that Egypt, Zion, &c. The principal at the death of Constantine, the objection to this opinion is from empire was divided between his the language applied to that na- three sons; but one of these was tion in chap. xiv., seeming to indi- killed in Britain, wherefore half cate a degree of holiness which the Empire fell to each of the surthose who are taught by the Spirit vivors. These several halves were, of God to discus'n things, not ac- as has been observed before, dicording to outward appearance, but vided into two other halves, callaccording to the standard of Divine ed Prefectures, so that the empire purity, in vain look for in this our again became virtually in four parts. highly-favoured land. This is, in. It is further remarkable, that the deed, most true; but if we turn to division in three parts lasted but a the Prophets, and read the language very few months, and seems to have in which God writes of the Jews in been appointed by God specially some places, whilst in others He in order to be a mark or beacon to declares every species of wickedness guide his church through this histo abound in them, we shall per. tory of his dealings with the world ceive the great love which He for her sake. bears to, and the complacency with Since the trumpet is an instruwhich He regards, the church of ment appointed by God for the serHis dear Son, and the land in which vice of his church, it seems that she is established and nourished for this emblem directs our attention her sake.
to ecclesiastical, rather than to seAn accurate knowledge of the cular affairs. The fifth and sixth Jewish feasts shews us, that the con- angel are almost unanimously beclusion of the viith chapter, that is, lieved to represent the armies of from ver. 9, speaks of a period long the faith of ihe Mohammedan im
posture, the Saracens and Turks, might read it; and the Apostle was who destroyed “ the third part " of called to take it out of his hand; the Roman Empire, extirpated the and he went to the Angel standing name of Christianity, and still hold on the sea : he was commanded to the “ land of Immanuel.” To tram- eat the book, and told that he ple down the land of Immanuel is a must prophecy again before many very serious offence in God's sight, peoples, and nations, and tongues, since it was on this account that he and kings. punished the Assyrian of old (com- In order to do this, he is sent to pare Isa. vii. viii. ix. and xxxvii). measure the temple of God; whereThe river Euphrates rises in the fore, he moves from his place near country from whence the Saracens the Angel on the sea, making the arose, after the apostate Mohammed fourth situation in which he has had entered upon his pretended been. This prophecy of the little mission, the success of which has open book commences at the period spread to a far greater extent than when the holy city began to be that of Christianity. Their power is trampled under foot of the Genrepresented as waning again under tiles, and goes down like that of the the sixth vial of chapter xvi. seals, and the trumpets, to the time
The seventh trumpet completes when the kingdoms of this world the mysterious proceedings of God; were reduced to subjection under that is, those invisible works which Christ (ver. 15–19). This vision he is now transacting within the evidently relates to the affairs of vail; for, from that period onwards, the church, because all its imagery there is no more time, consequently is taken from the temple service. no more change; but every thing Another vision opens at ch. xii., takes its stand, as it is to remain likewise relating to the church, bethroughout the countless ages of cause a woman is used repeatedly eternity. The last seven plagues for its emblem in various parts of are recorded in chap. xv. xvi., and Scripture. In this, the literal hisas “ in them is filled up the wrath tory of the virgin mother and her of God," and as the seventh trumpet holy child Jesus is made to furnish concludes the mystery of God, the appropriate language with which to last seven plagues must be the com- write the history of the church and ponent parts of the seventh trumpet; Christ mystical. just as when Jericho fell, the last Another vision opens at ch. xiii., sounding of the trumpet had seven which the Apostle is shewn when blasts. Before reciting the effects standing upon the sand of the sea, of these last seven plagues, or vials out of which rises a beast. He of wrath, the Apostle is taken to afterwards sees a second beast rise another place. We have already out of the earth ; and the whole observed, that he saw the first vision concludes with the information that when in Patmos (ch. i); and the the subject to which they all relate second in heaven (ch. iv). He now is contained in some words exsees a mighty Angel, which by the pressed by the letters which comdescription can be none less than the pose the number six hundred and Angel of the Covenant, the Angel of sixty-six. Jehovah's Presence, even the Lord From the earliest times, down Jesus Christ himself: the Apostle to the present hour, the universal sees him set his right foot on the opinion has been, that the solution sea, and his left on the earth, plant- of this number was to be found in ing himself as Lord of the whole Rome. The word signifying “a globe, and crying with a loud voice, Latin man,” has been adopted by as when a lion roareth. This Angelmany: but the spelling is not corhad a little book in his hand, not rect; nor does the interpretation go sealed, but open, so as every one far enough. This book was written CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 339.