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“ maketh war,” to victory, and the consequence of such victory,--peace. This notion is confirmed by the context to all these passages : and the colour, white", confines this horse to the service of the purifying Christian covenant. By the white horse then is signified the progress of a Christian power, militant for a time in
righteousness,” and in the end appointed to victory, which shall bring lasting peace.
He goes out, “conquering, and for to conquer.” In chap. xix, he comes to this final victory, and then his rider is the Son of God, who now in person (that is, with a more ample manifestation of his over-ruling power) fights the battles of his Church. But under this first seal, which represents only the early progress of the Christian church, it is not so manifest, that the rider of the white horse is the same glorious personage. For he is destitute of the same glorious attributes. He has siinply a crown and a bow. And the elders have crowns; and crowns are promised to every victorious Christian t; and the bow is not a weapon, or ornament, peculiar to Christ. And yet he may be the same; because there is a great difference between the humble and clouded beginning of our Lord's progress on earth, and his expected glorious appearance when he is to take vengeance on his enemies.
But we are not yet warranted that this horseman is the same, the Son of God. For his followers also are represented upon
white horses. “ As the Father had sent him, so he sent them into “ the world I.” And therefore the progress of the white horse seems to be rather that of the Christian religion, in its primitive purity, from the time that its heavenly Founder left it on earth, under the conduct of his Apostles. The divine religion goes out
* See note, ch. iii. 4.
+ Ch. ii. 10. T2
1 John xvii. 18.
crowned, having the Divine favour resting upon it, armed against the attacks of its many foes, and destined to conquer at the last *. There is another prophecy of Zechariah, which will afford light to this imagery of the white horse. I will give it in the translation of Archbishop Newcome:
" But Jehovah God of Hosts will visit
ZECH. X. 3-6.4
The going forth of this Christian armament seems represented by the white horse in this first seal; its final success will be seen in the sequel of the prophecy.
Ver. 2. A bow.] This was the weapon in ancient warfare, which was known to slay at the most considerable distance, with the greatest celerity, from a quarter least expected, and most difficult to escape. This weapon therefore, with its accompanying arrows, expresses figuratively the sudden and unexpected strokes of miraculous interposition, and is
very ancient commentator Methodius understood by the first seal, the preaching of the Apostles, and he is followed in this notion by all the early writers. See Andreas Cæsariensis, Arethas, Victorinus, and Primasius, in locum.
+ Tertullian, after quoting some prophetical passages of Scripture, which represent the Messiah as a warrior, adds; Sic bellipotens et armiger Christus est; arma allegorica. Ad Jud, 218.
so used in the Scriptures *
The progress of the Gospel was assisted by sudden and unexpected and miraculous aid and deliverance,
Ib. And a crown was given unto him.] This is the crown of life, described in ch. ii. 10. (see the note): our Lord's kingdom was not of this world. The crown is the reward of the faithful martyrs, who in the three first centuries fought and conquered in the cause of Christ. “ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give ""thee a crown of life t."
Ver. 2. He went forth conquering, and for to conquer. ] Two periods of time seem to be here designated. The first, when the Christian religion, preached in its purity by the Apostles, succeeded against human opposition, overcame the powers of darkness, and established itself in the world; "he " went forth conquering :” The second, when, after a long period of warfare, during which this religion is corrupted, deformed, and almost annihilated by the arts and machinations of the enemy, it is at length seen to regain its primitive freedom and purity, and its “crown is established in righteousness I,” in an “everlasting kingdom s.” These two periods are plainly distinguished in the visions of Daniel. The first is that of the stone, representing the Church of Christ in its infantine state; when it begins to conquer, by smiting the idolatrous kingdoms which are established in worldly power ||. The second is that of the mountain, when this “ stone becomes a great “ mountain, and fills the whole earth.” The latter period is represented in the sequel of the Apocalypse ** In the present passage it is only alluded to; for the
• Psalms, passim. Lam. ii. 4. iii, 12. Ileb. iii. 9. + Rev. ch. ii. 10.
Is. xxxii, i. § Dan. ii. 44. vii. 27. l| Dan. ii. 34.
** Ch. xix. 11, &c.
principal object is, to represent the religion of Christ as going forth in its original purity. Its heavenly colour is as yet unstained by worldly corruption. It appears pure now, and pure it must be, when it shall conquer at the last
“ So long, and so far, as Christianity was planted s according to this standard of its great Author; in “plainness and simplicity of incorrupt doctrine ; and sin meekness and humility, love and charity, in
practice: when Christians continued stedfastly in * the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship;—when the "multitude of them that believed, were of one heart " and of one soul, and great grace was upon them " all, (Acts iv. 32, 33); then did their light shine “ forth indeed before men, and cause them to glorify “ the God of heaven. Then was the Gospel truly “ and conspicuously, like a city upon an hill, a light “to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of God's
people. It was the praise and wonder of those who “ beheld its blessed effects, and might have been the “ joy of the whole earth. Had Christians continued “ to walk worthily of the vocation wherewith they were “called, -the Christian church established upon this “ foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus “ Christ himself being the chief corner stone, might
in its whole building, fitly framed together, have grown up into one holy temple in the Lordt.”
I have thus quoted from a learned and accurate writer, well versed in the history of the Christian Church, a draft or picture, (given nearly in the words of Scripture,) of what I conceive to be the period represented under the first seal.
Clarke's Sermons, vol. w. p. 312.
Its commencement is to be dated from our Saviour's Ascension, when he gave his final commission to the disciples, to go forth with his doctrines to the world. The time of its duration cannot be so precisely ascertained; because the change in the church from original purity to corrupt morals, worship, and doctrine, was gradual. But it may be affirmed, at least as a general position, that the Christians of the three first centuries, exclusive of the heretics, were of this character, although
although too many exceptions may be found in their history to this general description,
The opening of the second Seal.
CHAP. vi. VER. 3-4.
3 Kai őtt volgt thu 3 And when he opened the 3 And when he had
δευθέραν σφραγίδα, , second seal, I heard opened the second ήκωσα το δευτέρα the second living-crea seal, I heard the seSave barlos "Egxe. ture saying, “Come!" cond beast say,
Come, 4 Και εξήλθεν άλλG. 4 And there went forth 4 and see. And there
ίππα συρρός και another horse, fire went out another horse το καθημένω επ' caloured; and to him that red; and αυτόν εδόθη αυτω that sate thereon, to power was given to dabeir rno signnu him was there given him that sat thereon, [ano] rñs gns, tj to take the peace of to take peace from the ένα άλλήλας σφά
the earth, and that earth, and that they ξωσι και εδόθη αυτώ they should slay one
should kill one μάχαιρα μεγάλη. .
another: and there other; and there was was given unto him a given unto him a great great sword,