« הקודםהמשך »
sealed up, and sometimes to be unloosed, as in our text. The question arises, what can this book mean?. It cannot mean the book of Revelations; for John was commanded not to seal the sayings of this book. Rev. xxii. 10. Neither could it be the prophecies, for they were commanded to be read every Sabbath day by the Jews, and were so read. Yet John tells us in our context, “ that no man neither in heaven, nor in earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon, and I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. We see plainly that it could not apply to the law, nor the prophets, to the Old or New Testaments, for these were committed to the Jews, and also unto us Gentiles, and were to be read by all men; but this book they could not open, read, nor look thereon. There is one more book which answers to John's description, which no man, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, has yet been able to look thereon, or open and read, as we have any account of, and which, according to the whole tenor of the scripture, will never be opened, read, or looked upon, until the last seal is broken and the judgment sets. « And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened : and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, In this book which is called the book of life, the names of all the redeemed in heaven, in earth, or under the earth, are written, which are not known to any man, neither will be known, until the last seal is broken open, for the judgment will declare who is on the Lord's side. For the apostle tells us plainly
our lives are hid with Christ in God, that when he appears, then shall we appear with him in glory.” And John tells us, Rev. xxi. 26, 27, “ And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it, and there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie : but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” “ And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire." Again : " And they whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world shall wonder,”?, &c. This book, although we are abundantly informed there is one, in the right hand of him that sitteth upon the throne, no man, as
we are any where informed, has been able to look upon it, or open it, or to read its contents. This, then, is the book on account of which John wept to know its contents. And so it has been with all christians; they are anxious to know whether their names are written in the Lamb's book of life. But you must first learn, my dear brother in Christ, to live by faith, and faith, too, founded on the book in which you can look, of which you may read the promises, the prophecies and commands. But into the book of life you can never look until the Lamb of God shall open the seventh seal, and the righteous dead be raised to meet with the dear Saviour in that world of glory, when the book will be opened in the presence of the universe, and he will own you as his and crown you with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
II. I shall now give the history of the seven seals, with the time of their opening. After the prophecy of the seven churches, in the 2d and 3d chapters of Revelation, John has a view of the heavenly host singing the grand song, and gives us a description of the heavenly
choir, and a part of the song; he likewise introduces the book sealed with seven seals, and shows who can open the book, in the fourth and fifth chapters. These we have attended to in a former lecture.
We shall now begin with the sixth chapter, 1st verse, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts, saying, come and see. And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer.” The “beast,” in this passage, is the first, which was like a lion, representing the church in its first state, in the days of the apostles, when the church went every where preaching the word bold as a lion. The white horse and him that sat upon him, represents Jesus Christ going forth in the power of the gospel. This is proved by the passage, Rev. xix. 11–13,« And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and him that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself
, and he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God.” This is the same personage as the other, and both places represent the same thing, only
the first description is representing the spread of the gespel in the beginning of the gospel day, the other at the end of the gospel period under which we are now living. Therefore the first seal opens with the promulgation of the gospel, as the last will be closed by the same. 3d and 4th verses, " And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given unto him a great sword.” The red horse denotes blood and carnage, and has reference to the times of persecution in the days of Nero and other Roman emperors, and answers to the same time as the Smyrna church. Given unto him a great sword,” shows that the power would have great authority. The second beast spoken of in this passage is the representation of the church, which was like a calf, showing that the church would be given to the slaughter, like a calf fatted for the market, during the period of the opening of this seal, which period lasted until about A. D. 318, when Constantine put a period to the persecutions of the christians,
5th and 6th verses, " And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, come and see. And I beheld, and lo, a black horse; and he that sat upon him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, a measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see thou hast not the oil and the wine." The third beast which represents the church under this seal, had a face as a man, and shows that the church would be like a natural man, proud, haughty, independent, selfish, ambitious, covetous and worldly. This seal was opened in the days of Constantine, when religion became popular and was a steppingstone to power, and this seal agrees with the Pergamos church, as to time and place. The black horse denotes error and darkness, and when the church became connected with worldly power and wisdom she lost her purity of doctrine and practice, and adopted in her creed maxims and principles congenial with the natural heart, and forms and ceremonies for show and parade, rather than the humbling and cross-bearing life of the followers of Jesus. The balances denoted that religion and civil power would be united in the person who would administer the executive
power in the government, and that he would claim the ju dicial authority both in church and state. This was truc among the Roman emperors, from the days of Constantine until the reign of Justinian, when he gave the same judicial power to the bishop of Rome. The measures of wheat and barley for a penny denotes that the members of the church, would be eagerly engaged after wordly goods, and the love of money would be the prevailing spirit of the tines, for they would dispose of any thing for money. The oil and wine denote the graces of the spirit, faith and love, and there was great danger of hurting these under the in fluence of so much worldly spirit. And it is well attested by all historians that the prosperity of the church in this age produced the corruptions which finally terminated in the falling away, and setting up the anti-christian abominations,
7th and 8th verses, “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth beast say, Come and see; And I looked and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him: and power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with beasts of the earth.” The fourth seal opened in the year A. D. 538 when anti-Christ first arose, for the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. " And to the woman was given two wings of an eagle that she might fly into the wilderness into her place where she is nourished for a time, times and a half from the face of the serpent.” The pale horse is named in this passage, death. And hell followed, showing us plainly that it is the anti-christian power which would have the ascendency over one-fourth part of the earth, during the opening of this seal.
66 Power was given unto them,”_shows conclusively that it is the same power mentioned Rev. xiii. 2-5, “And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
And there was given him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” Again, 7th verse, “ And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations." In our text he
says, “Power was given them, to kill with the sword,” that is, to make war, which was fulfilled in Europe, when the papal power sent out large armies to exterminate the heretics as
they were called who would not worship the beast or his image. “And , with hunger;" this was fulfilled by the same power imprisoning and starving to death many thousands of persons who were suspected of opposition to her ungodly pretensions." And with death ;') inventing the most cruel and bloody means of torture, that were ever" imposed upon our world; to inflict death, in every possible shape that men or devils could invent; thousands and tens of thousands suffered death under the most excruciating torments that the Inquisition could devise. with the beasts of the earth;" after they had glutted their thirst for blood in every possible shape that man could inflict, thousands were thrown to ferocious beasts to be destroved by them. The time and place of the opening of this seal we cannot be mistaken in. It must have been during the bloody and persecuting reign of the papal church.
9th-11th verses, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on thern that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” On the opening of the fifth seal there is no beast to
say come and for this very good reason, the church has not changed her position, and is yet in the wilderness, like the flying eagle. Therefore under the fourth beast, the church is likewise under the control of the same anti-christian power as under the fourth seal, but the difference appears to be only in one thing, the church appears to enjoy a little respite from her persecuting enemy, and it would seem by the language of the souls of the martyrs that they are now looking for a day of vengeance which God had promised upon them who worshiped the beast or his image, and the inquiry is how long before this day of vengeance will come The answer is given to these praying souls to rest a little season, and they are informed there must be one more day or little season of persecution, when their brethren must be killed in like manner with themselves, and when that is accomplished they would then experience the last promise