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Rev. v. 5. " And one of the elders saith unto me, weep not : behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."
The book of Revelations has been called by thousands a sealed book; and many a dear saint, while in this imperfect state of vision and knowledge, has wept much because they could not read and understand the book. For it is very evident that the book of Revelations is not only interesting in its symbolical and mystical descriptions, natural scenery and figurative language, but it is rich in truth and the communication of events then bid under the veil of futurity, and would only be unfolded to the natural visions of men, many ages to come. John has wrote this book after the laws of nature. That is, he has seemed to copy after some of the richest and most picturesque scenes in nature's laws. He has in revealing truths to our minds followed the same steady course that fountains of water do in their course to He begins as it were back upon
the mountains, where the head may be but a fountain, and there gives us a description of the source; he then glides gently along through the vale below, winding between hills and mountains, visiting in his course the hamlets of the peasant, the villages of men, the populous towns and cities of commerce until he lands us or leaves us in the ocean of eternity. At first, he appears to be describing some bubbling fountain or gentle spring, and swelling in importance as he proceeds, brings in and adds every important stream of event, deepens and widens in his course, until he makes his prophetic history like a deep flowing river, bearing upon its bosom the gallant ships and galley with oars. At first, he describes a pebbly brook murmuring along the hills, now and then bursting into view with some gentle fall, then gliding gently away until it meets some rugged headland, shifts its course and almost seems to retrace its path, then suddenly
bursting from the hills in cataracts of foam, bounding from rock to rock, leaping into the vale below, he again seems to follow the alluvial flats and receives his tributary streams, winds on his way, until it falls at its mouth by a tremendous leap into a gulph of waters, and is swallowed np in the waves of the sea.
Four times the Revelations seems to bring us down in this manner, as though he had begun on one mountain and traced four different streams of history down to the great ocean of eternity. Like the river of Eden, which watered the garden, becoming four heads of four great rivers, which watered and encompassed the whole land, taking different points of the compass, but falling at last into the ocean. Gen. ii. 10-14. And all these having seven tributary streams in their course. The seven churches of Asia, is a history of the church of Christ in her seven forms, in all her windings and turnings, in all her prosperity and adversity, from the days of the apostles down to the end of the world. The seven seals, is a history of the transactions of the powers and kings of the earth over the church, and God's protection of his people during the same time. The seven trumpets are a history of seven peculiar and heavy judgments sent upon the earth, or Roman kingdom. And the seven vials are the seven last plagues sent upon Papal Rome. Mixed with these are many other events wove in like tributary streams, and filling up the grand river of prophecy until the whole ends us in the ocean of eternity.
This, to me, is the plan of John's prophecy in the book of Revelation. And the man who wishes to understand this book must have a thorough knowledge of other parts of the word of God. The figures and metaphors used in this prophecy are not all explained in the same, but must be found in other prophets, and explained in other passages of scripture. Therefore it is evident that God has designed the study of the whole even to obtain a clear knowledge of any part. I shall then pursue the following method:
1. Explain the book which was in the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
II. Give the history of the seven seals and their opening
I. I am to explain what is meant by the book.
The book is often spoken of in the word of God. Sometimes we hear it spoken of as a little book open in the hands of the angel, and sometimes it is commanded to be