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Rev. i. 7.
Behold, He cometh with clouds ; and every eye shall see Him,
and they also which pierced Him.
The present season *, in which we commemorate the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Blessed Lord and Saviour, breathes, as it were, a solemn spirit into the thoughts, and gives a holy direction to the pursuits of all who live under the sacred influence which is exercised by Almighty God Himself upon the soul through the ordinances of the Church. And no faithful member of her Communion can, it may be supposed, be ignorant of the inestimable benefitsmoral, intellectual, and spiritual — which he may receive by yielding his heart, as it were, like a willing instrument, and even, if we may so speak, like the harp and lute of the Divine Psalmist, to be played upon by a spirit from Heaven, and to
* Preached at St. Mary's on Easter Sunday, 1848.
be attuned to holy melodies in the regular ministries of religion.
The subject in which we are now engaged lends itself readily and cheerfully to this spiritual guidance; and we proceed, therefore, without further prelude, to invite you to some meditations on the Apocalypse, which are in accordance with this solemn anniversary.
St. John introduces his Revelation with these solemn words *, I was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day t.
* Rev. i. 9, 10.
+ Kuplakj nuépa---die Dominicá— the Lord's Day, as Kuplakur deityov, 1 Cor. xi. 20, is the Lord's Supper. There is ample evidence to show, that the first day of the week (uia oaßßátwv) was called the Lord's Day (Kvplaki) in the second century. St. Ignatius (ad Magnes. c. ix.) contrasts the Jewish Sabbath with the Christian Lord's Day: St. Irenæus appears to have used the word in a fragment ap. Quæst. ad Orthod. cxv. (ap. Justin. Martyr. Opera, p. 490, ed. Bened.) Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in the second century, wrote a book “on the Lord's Day," nepi Kuptakas, (Euseb. iv. 26,) which shows that this was then the recognized and general name of the day. Hieron. De V. Ill. xxiv. Cf. Routh's Reliquiæ, i. p. 107. 114. 129. 168. 176. 419. The word is used in a letter of Dionysius of Corinth, (ap. Euseb. iv. 23,) and by Clem. Alex. (Strom. v. p. 712, ed. Potter.) So it was rightly understood by Victorinus and the Author of the Synopsis Sacræ Scripturæ, ascribed to Athanasius, tom. iii. p. 200. The article Tğ is omitted in some MSS.
I conceive that the words of Nicephorus (vii. 47) concerning Constantine, ήν Εβραίοι πρώτην είχον ημέραν, "Έλληνες δ' ηλίφ ανέ
The Weekly Festival on which the Church celebrates the Resurrection of her Lord was that day on which it pleased our glorified Redeemer to give His Revelation * to his Servant John, and to announce to him what the Spirit saith unto the Churches t, and what things must be hereafter f. And it has been thought by some that the Lord's Day, on which these Visions were revealed, was not only the weekly, but the yearly Festival of the Resurrection; that it was that festival on which we are now met together, EASTER DAY $.
With these reflections, let us proceed to observe, that in the Apostle and Evangelist St. John, to whom we ascribe the Apocalypse, we possess the best companion, and the most faithful guide through the scenes of the eventful history which now occupies
θεντο, Κυριακήν κατωνόμασε, do not mean that he gave
name Kupakn to the first day of the week, (which is untrue : see Dion. Alex. ap. Euseb. iv. 23; Routh, Rel. i. 368.) but that he publicly established that name. They who otherwise interpret it, neglect the force of the preposition card. It is well known that this day is now called Kupiaky in the Levant; and it has been so called there from the days of St. John. It may be observed, that in addition to the general fitness of holy Visions to a holy day, there is a special aptitude in the Visions of the Apocalypse to the first day of the week. For all these Visions—the Seals, the Trumpets, the Vials—are grouped in sevens, and they naturally begin on the first day of Seven; the anniversary of the birthday of the Church, whose History they unfold. * Rev. i. 1.
† Rev. ii. 11. | Rev. i. 19.
§ See Hammond in loc.
our thoughts. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved ; he leaned on the bosom of our Lord at supper* ; he was with Him in Gethsemane; he followed Him to the High Priest's Hall; and he alone of the Apostles stood at the Cross of Calvary, and heard the last words of the Son of God. To him our Lord bequeathed his sorrowing mother, and that disciple took her to his own homet; and, doubtless, St. John heard from the lips of the blessed Mary a recital of those things which she had kept and pondered in her heart t. He was the first of the Apostles at the tomb of his risen Lord: he was with Him in Galilee, after the Resurrection; and on the Mount of Olives he witnessed Christ's Ascension upon the clouds of Heaven: This is the disciple who testifieth of these things; and we know that his testimony is true g.
In the words of the Apocalypse (chosen for our text) we find a reference to a particular circumstance in the crucifixion of our Lord,Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him. Of the four Evangelists, St. John is the only one who records this circumstance of the piercing of our Lord's side ; and on him, as well it might, it made a deep impression: When the soldiers came to Jesus, says he, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs :
* John xxi. 20.
Luke ii. 19.
+ John xix. 27.
but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water. And, adds the Evangelist, he that saw it (speaking of himself) bare record, and his record is true : and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe *. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced
The reference in the Apocalypse to this circumstance, the piercing of our Lord's side, may justly be regarded as confirming the identification of its author with St. John; and this corroboration will appear more strong, when we remember, that the Evangelist in his citation in his Gospel from the Prophet Zechariah, They shall look on Him whom they pierced, deserts the Greek Septuagint Version t, and resorts to the Original Hebrew, which is here different from it; and that precisely the same thing is done in this same citation by the Author of the Apocalypse, Every eye
shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and that, both in the Gospel and the Apocalypse, the Hebrew is rendered by the same word, and that an uncommon one t, in Greek.
This circumstance in the Crucifixion is not merely
* John xix. 32–37.
| Compare Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. IV. p. 201, note, ed. 1715.