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fold gifts * of the Holy Spirit, specially imparted in the Apostolic Rite of Confirmation, are before the throne, to prepare the soul for the presence of God. The Seven lamps burn before the throne. The Christian soul is also instructed in God's Law, encouraged by His Promises, and warned by His Judgments. These are signified by the voices, the lightnings, and thunders, which issue from the throne of God: for thunder is God's voice; the Law was given with thunder and lightning from Sinai f; and Our Lord named St. John a Son of Thunder t, when he called Him to his Apostolic office of preaching the great truths of the Gospel R.
What, now, is to be said of the Four Living Creatures, with figures like the Cherubim, winged, and full of eyes, upon which God Himself is enthroned?
In them the Ancient Church beheld a figure of the Four Gospels. They had been represented under this image by the Prophet Ezekiel ||, in his vision at the river of Chebar; and now they are viewed again by St. John in Patmos. This interpretation, which recognizes the four Gospels in the four living creatures of heaven, dates from the age and school of St. John himself. It is found in the writings of St. Irenæus **, the scholar of Polycarp, the disciple of
* Isaiah xi. 2. † Exod. xix. 16. I Mark iii. 17.
S See Theophyl. in Marc. iii. 17. vioùc Bpovrns ovoucíSEL WG μεγαλοκήρυκας και θεολογικωτάτους. .
|| Chapters i. and x. ** Irenæus, iii. 11. See also S. Victorinus, B. P. M. iii. 416.
St. John, and is sanctioned by the almost unanimous authority of the greatest teachers of the Eastern and Western Churches.
Many here present will remember, with pleasurable emotions, how it has found its way into the region of Christian Art, and has hallowed the pencil of the Painter, and the chisel of the Sculptor, and has served to elevate the thoughts of thousands from the strifes and stains of earth to the peace and purity of heaven. And it will have there presented to your minds a most striking testimony, (made more remarkable by the corruptions of an adulterated Christianity, with which it is too often surrounded,) that the winged and myriad-eyed Word of God, as preached in the GOSPEL of Christ, is the basis of the Heavenly Throne; and that, as God formerly manifested His Glorious Presence in the Schechinah on the Mercy-seat of the Ark, shaded by the golden Wings of the four Angelic Cherubim, in the Holy of Holies, in the Ancient Temple, which was the figure of heaven itself, so in the Christian Church He is now pleased to dwell on the four living Cherubim of Evangelical Truth.
Quatuor animalia IV sunt Evangelia.-S. Jerome, in two beautiful passages in Appendix A. to “ Lectures on the Canon,” No. XIX. h and i. Andreas, 1.c. p. 597. Berengaudus ad Apoc. iv. 7—10. Aquinas ad loc. Quatuor animalia scilicet Evangelistæ.–And Haymo says, Nulli dubium, quin hæc animalia Dominum J. C. significent, et omnes sanctos, præcipue quatuor Evangelia.–See other authorities in “ Lectures on the Canon,” Next, what shall we say of the Four and Twenty Elders, seated on either side of the throne of God?
As the Four Living Creatures represent the Four Gospels, so we are led by analogy to anticipate that the Four and Twenty Elders represent the older Dispensation. And it is a remarkable fact, of which we are reminded by Christian Antiquity, that the Old Testament Scriptures, according to one of the most commonly received modes of Jewish reckoning, (by which the Twelve Minor Prophets are reckoned as one book, and the two books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one each, and some other similar arrangements are made,) consist, on the whole, of Four and TWENTY Books *.
In the Twelve wells of Water and Seventy Palmtrees, at Elim, where the Ancient Church encamped in the wilderness t, the Christian Church | saw afterwards a type of herself, protected by the shade and refreshed by the waters of the doctrine preached by the Twelve Apostles and Seventy Disciples of Christ. And, as the Apostles of Christ are called in Scrip
* See “ Lectures on the Canon,” Appendix, p. 57. † Exod. xv. 27.
# S. Hieron. Epist. ad Fabiol. tom. ii. p. 590. De XLII Mansionibus. Nec dubium quin de XII Apostolis sermo sit, de quorum fontibus derivatæ aquæ totius mundi siccitatem rigant. Juxta has aquas LXX creverunt Palmæ, quas et ipsos secundi ordinis intelligimus Præceptores.-Venema de Methodo Proph. 104. Deus concessit XII Fontes et LXX Palmas, i.e. Scripta Apostolorum et Evangelistarum, e quibus veram doctrinam ad solatium abunde petere possunt Christiani.
ture “The Twelve *;" as, again, the Greek Version of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint, or “ The Seventy,” from the Seventy-two Elders or Interpreters, so the body of the Law and the Prophets is often entitled by the Israelites, “ The Twenty-four.” Indeed this title, Esreem-Arba, or the twenty-four, is commonly prefixed to Hebrew Bibles, to indicate their contents; and so, to the ear of an Israelite the name “The Twenty-four” would suggest the Old Testament Scriptures; just as to the Christian “The Twelve” represent the Apostles of Christ. And these Books of the Old Testament are called, in the Apocalypse, the Twenty-four ELDERS, because they signify the Elder Dispensation, as contrasted with the New Testament.
This interpretation, which identifies the Twentyfour Elders with the Old Testament, was current in the Christian Church † for more than a thousand
* oi dódeka. Matth. xxvi. 20. Mark xiv. 20. Luke xxii. 47. John vi. 71. 1 Cor. xv. 5.
+ Victorinus, B. P. M. iii. 417. Viginti quatuor faciunt tot numeros quot et Seniores. Sunt autem libri Veteris Testamenti qui accipiuntur Viginti Quatuor, quos in Epitomis Theodori invenies. —See also Victorinus, Schol. in Apoc. p. 55. ed. Gallandii. A most important Testimony against the Trent Canon. Victorinus is of the Third Century. So Primasius, B. P. M. x. p. 296. Veteris Testamenti Libros canonicâ auctoritate suscipimus tanquam XXIV Seniores tribunalia præsidentes.-So Ambrosius Ansbertus, B. P. M. xiii. p. 464. Quia prioris Testamenti XXIV libris utitur, quos auctoritate canonicâ suscepit, in quibus etiam Novum Testamentum revelatum accipitur,
years. But when, in the sixteenth century, at the Council of Trent, the Church of Rome disturbed the order, and marred the number, of the Canonical Books of the Old Testament, by adding to them the A pocrypha, as of equal authority*; although, to cite the memorable words of St. Jerome t, the Apocrypha “ do not appertain to the Twenty-four Elders, whom St. John represents as adoring the Lamb, and casting their crowns before His throne;" then this interpretation was suppressed.
But it is our duty to revive it. And, now, behold what a noble picture is here presented to us of the divine dignity and awful majesty of the Holy Scriptures! They are the Throne of God. They are the Zodiac of the Sun of Righteousness. With what reverent love, therefore, ought we to regard them! How diligent ought we to be in hearing and reading idcirco in XXIV Senioribus Ecclesia figuratur. - So Berengaudus ad loc. and ad iv. 8. Per sedilia XXIV Libri Veteris Testamenti designantur.—Bede, Explan. Apocalyps. in cap. iv. Singula eorum habebant alas senas] .... aliter. Alæ senæ quatuor animalium, quæ sunt vigintiquatuor, totidem veteris instrumenti libros insinuant, quibus evangelistarum et fulcitur auctoritas, et veritas comprobatur.–And Haymo and Aquinas. Viginti quatuor sedilia dicuntur libri Veteris Testamenti, qui sunt Viginti Quatuor.-See also S. Hieron. in “ Lectures on the Canon," App. A. xix. (a), and App. C. ; and compare the Rabbinical authorities in Hottinger, Thesaurus Theol. p. 101. Carpzov. Crit. Sacr. V.T. p. 134, and Todd's Lectures on the Apocalypse, p. 274, note.
* See “Lectures on the Canon,” Appendix B.