« הקודםהמשך »
word goes forth as “ a lamp that burneth,” and inust attend, and take the lead in the whole work of the Revelation of Christ; and the light of the word must be reflected upon the other steps of divine providence, in order that they might be understood. The ways of providence lead thro' such deeps of wisdom, that without the light of the word, they can never, by finite minds, be distinctly traced. The promulgation of the word of the kingdom, is therefore necessarily understood to be the disclosure made by the opening of the first seal. The distinct object of the ministry, such in a particular manner as it was in its commencement, is the Revelation of Christ. Thus Paul expresses the great end of his calling in these words, Gal. i. 16, “ To reveal his Son $ in me.”
“ And when he had opened the second Seal, " there went out another Horse that was red: “and power was given to him that sat thereon, " to take peace from the earth; and that they şi should kill one another: and there was given
unto him a great sword.” This imports the fearful judgments that fell upon the first enemies of Christ; particularly, the unbelieving and persecuting Jews, in the destruction of their city and whole state; which followed immediately upon the promulgation of the gospel. This great event, as it was foretold by Christ and his disciples; and which fell out, in all its circumstances, so exactly according to those predictions; was a new confirmation of the truth of Christ, and a distinct part of the Revelation, and in the natural course of the work, was the opening of a second Seal.
“ And when he had opened the third seal, I " beheld, and lo, a black horse; and he that 5 sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. * And I heard a voice in the midst of the four
“ beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, “ and three measures of barley for a penny; and “ see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”..... This imports the edification of the church, and the productiveness of its righteous institutions. Balances are the emblem of righteousness; and “a mea“sure of wheat for a penny, and three measures . “of barley for a penny,” betoken generous times. A penny is the lowest wages mentioned in the New Testament, for a day's work of a common laborer. The Hebrew standard measure was the ephah, the same for dimensions with the bath; it contained ten homers, and was nearly equal to the English bushel. This is just about what we call good harvest wages in America. The gospel tree soon came to its fruit bearing, and the fruit was good; which beneficent product of the gospel was constantly appealed to by Christ and his apostles, as an evidence of its truth that could not be gainsayed; and thus a new, and most confirming seal was disclosed. Some careless commentators have given this seal as indicating the judgment of famine; and to make it look like a time of scarcity, they have supposed that the measure spoken of, was the Syrian metress, of the size of two quarts; but it is plain, that John, in the use he made in this book of emblems, carefully followed the Hebrew standards; besides, why should famine be considered distinctly as one of the openings of the seals, as it is always an attendant upon the devastating sword, such as that which fell upon the Jews, and the other first enemies of the church? And how can it be accounted for, that in a view of the work of the manifestation of Christ, the natural fruits and effects of the gospel should be totally overlooked, which have ever stood confessed among its most direct and uncontrovertible proofs. “The tree " is known by its fruit;” and the excellency of
the fruit of the gospel, in those who cordially receive it, has long since vouched to its divine oiiginal.
“ And when he had opened the fourth seal, I " looked, and behold, a pale horse; and his name “ that sat on him was Death, and hell followed “ with him: and power was given unto thein over * the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the
sword, and with hunger, and with death, and “ with the beasts of the earth.” This imports the effects of the gospel upon hypocrites and unbelievers. The opening of this seal, together with the one immediately foregoing, compares with the passage, 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. “For we are unto God
a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are sav
ed, and in them that perish. To the one we are “ a savour of death unto death; and to the other
a savour of life unto life.” The effects of the Gospel in them that perish, are considered, justly, by all attentive observers, as being among the most manifest and deeply solemnizing proofs of its divine authority. To unbelievers, the Gospel is a cup of wormwood, a savour of death ; it will either darken, harden and stupify them, or, per haps, it will throw them into a delirium, in which they will conceive the most unnatural antipathies, and be prepared to give vent, upon all occasions, to the cruelest hatreds against their best friends. Yea, it is a savor of death unto death. Hell followed with the rider of the pale horse ; and poner was given unto them to kill with the sword, and with hunger. Such were the first displays of divine wrath against the enemies of the Gospel, already noticed; but they had also power to kill with death ; " a strange punishment!” death unto death ; death working death. It is appointed unto all men once to die; but, aside from this, it is appointed unto the rejectors of the Gospel to die two deaths; each with terrors tenfold, and the visible marks of these deaths may oftentimes be seen upon them, insomnuch, that even while they live, they may be pronounced twice dead. More. over, they had power to kill with the beasts of the carth. Beasts of the earth is the emblem used in these writings for those despots and tyrants, who, like lions and tygers, are, in the wrath of God, let loose against his enemies. Thus Nebuchadnezzar was suffered to destroy the people of Judah, who had rejected the Lord; and thus, over and over again, have gospel despisers been devoured. It is the express threatening of the word; that the despisers of God's truth shall fall under the power of savage despots. “For so much as “ this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that
go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliabs
son: Now, therefore, behold, the Lord bring“eth up upon them the waters of the river, strong "and many, even the king of Assyria, and all “ his glory; and he shall come up over all his " channels, and go over all his banks. And he « shall pass through Judah ; he shall overflow
and go over; he shall reach even to the neck: " and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the “ breadth of thy land, O Immanuel." Isai. viii. 6, 7, 8. The judgments of God upon unbelievers who have been favored with the Gospel, have a great variety of complexions; and taken into view together, are a signal opening of the book of God's kingdom, and cannot fail of being understood to forebode the dreadful day, “ when the “ Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with “ his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking ven
geance on them that know not God, and that “ obey not the Gospel.”
“ And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw “ under the altar the souls of them that were slain “ for the word of God, and for the testimony “ which they held.” This imports the martyr dom of the saints. The blood of the cross is an essential article of the gospel revelation. The death of Christ unfolded far more of the book of glory, than had before been known by all the works of God. As the poet says, respecting the divine decrees, The cross on Calvary makes them plain, and the sufferings of the saints bear a near relation to the sufferings of Christ, and operate to the same glorious end; as in Collossians i. 24. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and “ fill up that which is behind of the afflicti
ons of Christ.” The effects of martyrdom in the first ages of the gospel church were notorious. It then became a proverb, that The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. And it was in this way, as their tribulation and patience so clearly disclosed the truth of God, that this primitive army of confessors overcame the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb.
“ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth “seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake, and “the sun became black, as sackcloth of hair, and “ the moon became as blood: And the stars of “ heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree “ casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken “ of a mighty wind: And the heaven departed
as a scroll,” &c. This imports the great judga ment. No part of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is yet completed, or will be until the end of this world. The Day of Judgment is called empi cally the Day of Revelation. Hence believers are characterized as “ waiting for the coming”....in the original, “ the Revelation of our Lord Jesus « Christ.” 1 Cor. i. 7........All the Seals are now loosed, but no one of them is yet completely opened. The notion which some have entertained that particular parts of prophecy are restricted to certain particular events, is opposed to plain declarations concerning the nature and ap