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of surpassing majesty to his servant John; and describes himself as the First and the Last; as he that liveth and was dead, and, behold, is alive for evermore; and hath the keys of hell and of death. But how sublime are the ideas which are inspired by the description, when appearing under the character in which he is most of all endeared to fallen man,—that of a Lamb as it had been slain,—he is seen in the midst of the throne; while the innumerable hosts of heaven sing the song of Redemption; Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom and strength, and glory and blessing; Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Where is the person, without the Spirit of God, who could thus unite all the characters, in which the Redeemer was manifested to the holy men of old, all the types and shadows in which he was revealed in ancient prophecy, with the affecting circumstances of his death and sufferings; and thus accumulate all the glorious and endearing attributes, which belong to the Redeemer, as the everlasting Son of the everlasting Father,— the brightness of his glory and the express image of his Person,---the Lamb that was slain, the Redeemer, the Lord, and the Judge of mankind?
Such is the character of the revelations contained in this book, relative to the Person and attributes of the Redeemer. But when the prophet proceeds to describe the future triumphs of his religion, how sublime is the description, when, in imagery borrowed from ancient prophecy’, the Redeemer is described
2 Psalm xLv.
as going forth, as he did of old, for the protection and defence of his faithful people, conquering and to conquer! And when he appears again, after a long period of gloom and depression to his Church, on mount Sion, with the 144000 of the sealed, preparatory to the final destruction of the great apostasies, how sublime is the vision which accompanies this mild, yet awful display of Almighty power, when the command issues to the angel to bear the everlasting Gospel to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people ; and the Son of Man himself appears upon a cloud, in terrible majesty, to execute judgment upon the impenitent and unbelieving! But the most sublime description of all is that, which is contained in the nineteenth chapter, when heaven is again opened, and the Son of Man himself appears clothed in majesty and in victory! He comes forth again on a white horse; but it is no longer in the mild majesty in which he at first appeared: but he is described as Faithful and True, in righteousness doth he judge and make
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew but he himself. And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood : and his name is called the WORD OF GOD. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations : and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. The full power of the titles and attributes, under which the Redeemer is here manifested, have been illus
trated in the preceding exposition of the Apocalypse ; which thus exhibits him to us, the same in glory and in majesty that he appeared to the holy men of old; and brings to bear on him, in their full power, all the titles and characters under which he is described in ancient prophecy, and all those also which in addition belong to him, as he is revealed to us in the Scriptures of the New Testament, as the Saviour, the Lord and the Judge of mankind. We behold in Him, as he is revealed to us in this prophecy, the Seed of the woman; the Lamb that was slain ; the Star that should arise out of Jacob; the faithful Witness, the First-begotten from the dead; the King of kings and Lord of lords'. But as the appearances of the Divine Majesty which are recorded in the Apocalypse, (as has been remarked,) contain in themselves internal evidence of the reality of those visions which are described by St John; so also does the manner, in which these titles and attributes' are applied to Him, of his inspiration ! For what uninspired person could have brought all these titles and attributes to bear upon Him in the manner that is done in this prophecy; when the propriety of their application depends, for the most part, on events and circumstances connected with Him, as the great Agent in the fulfilment of the declarations of prophecy relating to his Church, to the end of all things ?
The last remark connected with the manner in which our Saviour is revealed to us in the Apocalypse, relates to the evidence which we derive from it in support of his Divinity. And what a mass of evidence does this book supply in support of this
1 Chap. xii. 4, 5; v. 12; xxii. 16; i. 5; xix. 16.
great and important doctrine! What other conclusion can we draw from such titles as are applied to him in the opening of this book, where he is called the First-begotten from the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth; as Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last,--as He that liveth and was dead, and behold is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and of death; the WORD OF GOD; THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS? Again, when he is described as presiding over his Church and overruling the destinies and revolutions of the world, that he may fully accomplish the great plan, which he conceived in the counsels of eternity for the salvation and everlasting appiness of the whole race of mankind; and when, in the accomplishment of his gracious purposes of mercy, he exhibits an infinite power and controul over all the hearts and purposes of man, so that not only the evil spirits, but even the events and destinies of the eternal world, appear to be subject to his Almighty will; when we consider the infinite knowledge and infinite power, which are implied in those prophecies which are already fulfilled ; and the fearless appeal which is made to the omnipotence of their Author for the accomplishment of the most magnificent plans, extending even to the endless ages of eternity; and when we, finally consider, that the great Agent in this wonderful scheme is the Son of God,—what other conclusion can we derive from all these considerations, than that He, who possesses an infinite knowledge, extending from everlasting to everlasting, and an infinite power, which exhibits an absolute controul even over the powers and destinies of the
eternal world, must be,--what He is proclaimed by the universal testimony of the Old and the New Testament, in the fullest sense of the idea which is attached to the word,-GOD?
3. Another circumstance connected with the doctrines of the Apocalypse, is,—the manner in which the
agency of the Holy Spirit is introduced throughout this prophecy. We have seen before, how he is introduced as one of the Persons of the everblessed Trinity in the address to the Churches, in perfect conformity with the manner of his introduction by our Saviour, in the command which he gave to his Apostles to preach the Gospel to every creature, and by St Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians': let us, in the next place, consider how he is introduced with reference to the affairs of the Church, both in the other parts of Scripture and in the Apocalypse. For instance, the prophet Isaiah, speaking of the blessings which would accompany the preaching of the Gospel, says, amongst other things, that the Spirit shall be poured out from on highề: he proclaims his authority as being derived from the Spirit, The Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me”; and in that passage, in which he speaks of the preaching of the Messiah, he says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; and this prophecy, we know, was expressly applied by our blessed Saviour to himself; and, in conformity with this, St Paul declared, that God gave not the Spirit by measure unto him, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". The agency of the Holy Spirit is introduced in a very remark
· Matth. xxviii. 19; 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
4 Isai. lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18.