תמונות בעמוד

seven eyes, expressive of extraordinary power and knowledge,

these are the Seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came, and took the book out of the right-hand of him 8 who sat upon the throne. And when he received the book, the

four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders, fell down before

the Lamb, having every one harps and golden vials* full of per9 fumes, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a

new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to

God by thy blood, out of every tribe, and language, and people, 10 and nation; and hast made us to our God, kings and priests : and 11 we shall reign on earth. And I beheld, and heard the voice of

many angels round about the throne, and of the living creatures,

and of the elders : And the number of them was myriads of myr12 iads, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Vor

thy is the Lamb that was slaughtered, to receive power, and rich

es, and wisdom, and might, and honour, and glory, and blessing ! 1.3 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under

the earth, and such as are in the sea, even all things that are in them, I heard saying, To Him who sitteth upon the throne, and to the

Lamb, be blessing, and honour, and glory, and strength, for ever 14 and ever! And the four living creatures said, Amen : and the

twenty-four elders fell down, and worshipped him who liveth for ever and ever.

REFLECTIONS. It should fill us with unutterable joy, when we lift up our eyes to the throne of God, that we there discern the Lamb wearing the marks of slaughter. We should then gratefully remember his dying love ; for it is his precious blood which cleanses us from all sin, and emboldens our addresses to God, conscious as we are, that our guilt is attended with great aggravations. Surely, had it been queriedly with respect to the great atonement to be made for our transgressions, as it was with respect to the opening these seals, Who is worthy to complete this gracious undertaking? we should have scen with unspeakable anguish, that none in heaven, or on carth, would have been found equal to the task. But here likewise, the Lion of the tribe of Judah has firevailed. How divinely is he furnished for the high station he sustains, and for all the glorious services assigned to himn! What amazing power, what adorable wisdom is implied in the seven horns and seven eyes, with which he is here delineated ? and O! what love, in submitting to be slain, that he might redeein us to God by his blood! With the prayers of the saints, which come up before God as incense, may they ever mingle their most ardent praises for this divine condescension. And out of gratitude to their Redeemer, let them rejoice to see the glorious change in his condition, from his humiliation and sufferings on earth, to his exaltation and reward in heaven: and let them ardently long for the happy season, when the full choir of the redeemed, from every nation, and people, and congue, shall unite in this

* Or censers, alluding to the censers used in the temple, in which the priests offered incense.

joyful acclamation, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive powcr and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing - In this world the disciples of Christ are only a little flock, but when they stand together upon the heavenly mountain, they shall appear ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; and all the harmony of their voices, and all the ardour of their souls, inconceivably improved as all their powers will be, shall be united on this happy occasion. Form us, o Lord, we entreat thee, for this divine employment, and teach us, in some measure, to anticipate its pleasure, in these regions below. Even now, in spirit and intention, we prostrate ourselves before thee, and lay down the crowns, which faith, as it were, hath already received, at thy feet ; giving glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, and celebrating the victories and honours of the Lamb,


· The opening the first six seals, and the awful events which accompanied it.

Chu vi

AND I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals ; and I

A heard one of the four living creatures, which said, as with 2 a voice of thunder, Come and see. And I looked r, and behold

a white horse ; and he who sat thereon had a bow, and there was

given to him a crown, and he went forth conquering, and to con3 quer.-And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second 4 living creaturc, saying, Come and see. And another horse came

out, which was red; and it was given to himn who sat upon it, to

take peace from the earth ; and that they should slay each oth5 er: and there was given to him a great sword.—And when he

opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature, saying,

Come and see. And I saw, and behold a black horse ; and he 6 that sat upon it had a pair of scales in his band. And I heard a

voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, A small measure of wheat for a penny*, and three small measures of

barley for a penny; yet see that thou injure not the oil, nor the 7 wine. And when he opened the fourth scal, I heard the voice of 8 the fourth living creature, saying, Come and see. And I saw,

and behold a pale horse; and as for him that sat on it, his name was Death; and Hell ( Hades) followed him : And there was give en unto him power to slay the fourth part of the earth with the

sword, and with famine, and with death, and with the wild beasts I of the field And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the

altar, the souls of those who were slaughtered on account of the 10 word of God, and the testimony which they retained. And they

cried with a loud voice, and said, How long, Lord, holy and true,

ere thou dost judge and avenge our blood upon those who dwell Il on the earth? And there were given unto each of them white

* The Roman penny was 74d. of our money. A measure (or chenix) was what was allowed a slave for his daily food. This therefore is a description of great scarcity,

robes; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet a little

while, till the number of their fellow-servants and brethren, who 12 should be killed as they had been, should be fulfilled.-And I saw

when he opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great

earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair ; and 13 the moon became as blood; and the stars fell from heaven upon

the earth, as a fig-tree droppeth its untimely figs, being shaken 14 by a mighty wind: and the heavens passed away like a volume,

when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved 15 out of their places : and the kings of the earth, and the grandees,

and the rich men, and the chief officers, and the powerful men,

and every slave, and every free man hid themselves in the caves, 16 and rocks of the mountains : and they said to the mountains, and

to the rocks, Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of him who 17 sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lainb! for the great day of his wrath is come, and who can be able to stand!

REFLECTIONS. To whatever event these seals may refer, it is certain, that the representations here made are very awful, and very instructive. Let us consider ourselves as invited to come up and see, and let us observe the memorable spectacle with attention. Let the view of the white horse, and his rider, who went forth conquering and to conquer, lead us to reflect on the peaceful purposes of our blessed Saviour's appearance, and the rapidity of his conquests; and engage us frequently to pray for the further prosperity of his kingdom, that kingdom of righteousness, love, and happiness. When we think of the terrible effects of war, of famine, and of pestilence, represented by the three following horses, and their riders here mentioned, let it excite our thankfulness, that not one of this dreadful triumvirate is sent forth against us, though our national crimes have indeed deserved, that they should invade us with united terrors ; that peace should be taken from our land, that our bread and water should be received by weight and measure and that the dead should lie unburied in our streets, the food of the fowls of heaven, and the beasts of the earth : nor can any thing more justly excite our gratitude and thankfulness, than that the terrors and the guilt of sanguinary persecution, are not to be found in the midst of us. The history of its horrors and ravages in other nations and ages, may sometimes be an exercise of our faith ; and we may be ready to cry out with the souls under the altar, How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt thou not avenge the blood of thy saints upon the earth? But let us wait with patience ; let us not form a hasty and inconsiderate judg. ment. The dead who die in the Lord, and those who had been persecuted to death for his sake, and in his cause, are incomparably more happy than those who are the happiest among the living. The white robes, and golden crowns, with which they are adorned, are an abundant compensation, not only for every lighter suffering, but even for the slow fire, and the rack, those most dreadful instruments of torture. And though their malicious and implacable enemies may bitterly insult over them for a while, yet the triumphing of the wicked is for a short time, their guilty spirits will soon be summoned before the great avenger of blood ; and the day is coming when they shall be publicly brought forth, to suffer the utmost demands of his justice ; even that day, when all the figurative descriptions here used shall be fully answered, in their literal meaning; when the Sun shall indeed be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood ; when the volume of heaven shall be rolled up as a scroll, and its stars shall fall from their orbs. It is no wonder that ungodly sinners fly from this alarming and tremendous scene, with wild consternation and confusion ; no wonder that they rend the very heavens with their cries, and call upon the mountains 10 fall upon them, and the rocks to cover them: for 0! what were the sudden and irresistible crush of a rock, or a mountain, when compared with the weight of the wrath of the Lamb, and with the fire and brimstone of this second death. 0! that by the expectation of this awful day, men of all ranks and conditions, may be influenced to make their application to him, while he yet appears in the displays of his grace and mercy, to kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and they perish from the way, even when his wrath is only beginning to be kindled !


The increase of the church, represented by the vision of iwelve thousand sealed out of each tribe of Israel: the glory and happiness of those who should endure persecution. Ch. vii.

1 A ND after these things I saw four angels standing at the four

I corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth; that the wind might not blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor 2 upon any trce. And I saw another angel ascending from the ri.

sing of the sun (i. e. the east) having the seal of the living God :

and he cried with a great voice to the four angels, to whom pow3 cr was given to injure the earth, and the sea ; saying, Injure not

the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the ser4 vants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of

those that were sealed; which was in all one hundred and forty.

four thousand, who were sealed out of every tribe of the children 5 of Israel. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of

the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of 6 Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Asher were sea

led twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve

thousand. Of the tribe of Manasseh were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe

of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar 8 were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zebulun were sealed

twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph* were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

After this I looked r, and behold a great multitude, which no one could number, out of every nation, and tribe, and people, and

* i. e. of the tribe of Ephraim, the other son of Joseph.-The tribe of Dan is omitted: some suppose because this was the first that fell into idolatry. Dr. Hammond, because it had been long destroyed. N. B. It is not numbered, 1 Chron. ii. &c.

language, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, cloth

ed in white robes, and palms in their hands, to signify their victo10 ry and joy; and crying with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our 11 God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb ! And all the

angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders, and

the four living creatures ; and they fell down on their faces before 12 the throne, and worshipped God, saying, Amed: the blessing, and

the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour,

and the power, and the strength, be to our God for ever, and ever, 13 amen. And one of the elders answered, saying to me, As for those

who are clothed with white raiment, who are they, and whence do 14 they come? And I said to him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to

me, These are they, who are come out of much tribulation, and

have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the 15 Lamb: therefore they are before the throne of God, and perform

divine service to him day and night in his temple ; and he who

sitteth upon the throne, pitcheth his tabernacle among y them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither shall they thirst any more ; 17 nor shall the sun fall upon them, nor any heat: for the Lamb, who

is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and he shall lead them to fountains of living water; and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.

REFLECTIONS. How inexpressibly happy are the thousands of those who are sealed, those whom God has marked out for his own, and in that character, has taken o under his special protection. Whatever storms and tempests may arise, they are in no danger of being forsaken; they shall be preserved inviolably safe, and their happiness is secure. They shall be brought at length to join with the innumerable multitude, who surround the throne, and ascribe, as all Israel must do, salvation to God who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb. And O! that the salvation of Israel were come out of Sion! that their praises might sound sweeter here on earth, and that myriads of new voices might unite in the harmonious concert! Those songs of heaven let us begin below, and say, Amen ; blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever : amen! If, through his grace, we can call him our God, how cordially should wa join in this sublime ascription!

In the mean time, we may see the church in affliction ; we may feel a large share of personal, or public tribulation ; but, when it presses hardest upon us, let us lift up our cyes to that glorious scene which the apostle beheld, and which was so excellent and sublime, that it might well transport him, even under the tribulations through which he was then making his way to it. Let us persevere, steadily and faithfully, as they did, (whose triumph he describes) and the day will come, when our robes shall be as white, and our crowns as radiant, and our palms as verdant as theirs. Let us then bear with patience, hunger and thirst, heat and weariness, while we travel through this vale of tears ; rejoicing in hope of the everlasting refreshment and pleasure wo which the Lamb will lead ur ; egen those fountains of living water,

« הקודםהמשך »