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and rule of the great God. · And whether it ought to be understood of the throne of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit, the context sufficiently determines. In verse 5, the Spirit, under the emblem of seven lamps of fire burning, is represented as before the throne; and in chap. v., the Son is represented as receiving a sealed book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. The Father, therefore, must be understood as the possessor of this throne. -Personally considered, these divine subsistences are on a perfect level, none of them superior or inferior to another ; but, economically, viewed, the Father is greater than all. According to our feeble mode of conception, he is the head of that wonderful economy, which is usually called the economy of grace; and as in this character he sustains the majesty of Trinity, his throne is represented as above all : it is the fountain of power and authority, and the whole administration of grace may be traced up to it. Sustaining the majesty of Godhead, no form or likeness can be attributed to him. To whom will ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him ?" Hence John, without so much as insinuating, that any thing like form or figure might be attributed to him, only asserts, that one sat upon the throne that was to look upon

like a jasper and a sardine stone.

The decorations of the throne were remarkably splendid: There was a rainbow round about the throne. The canopy was formed by a spacious bow, which bore a striking resemblance to the bow in the clouds in a day of rain. All the different original colours could be distinctly traced in this bow, but that of green was the most predominant: for it was like unto an emerald,-a stone which is accounted precious in proportion to the beauty and liveliness of its green. There is a manifest allusion, in this part of the description, to the symbol by which the covenant with Noah was confirmed, Gen. ix. 14, 15; and surely nothing could have been more gratifying to the prophet, than the sight of a rainbow about the throne; for he was thereby assured, that whatever dispensations might

And even while they continue to be intrusted with the administration of the affairs of government, their minds cannot be continually occupied about them; they require moments of relaxation as well as other men ; and in these intervals of business, the throne may appear as if it were empty. But it is otherwise in the heavens. In that country, there is no interregnum, no change of dynasty, no succession of princes, nothing of what may be called a mere regency, nor any interruption in the administration of the government. The King of heaven is the eternal, the immortal, and immutable Jehovah ; the only wise God.

John does not speak of this great King by any particular name or designation, neither does he describe him by any peculiar shape or form. He only tells us, (verse 3) that he was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone. The comparison has a reference to the colour, not to the shape or figure, of the stones mentioned. Both are classed among the precious stones ; and, on account of their brilliant and beautiful

appearance, they are reckoned of great value. They were set in the breast-plate of Aaron ; and as if the beauty of all the twelve had been united in those which John saw, the one—the jasper was the first, and the other-the sardine was the last, in the constellation of the high-priest, Exod. xxviii. 17–20. They are also mentioned among the ornaments of the new Jerusalem, chap. xxi. 19, 20. One of these stones is said to be very transparent, with strokes or shades of the most beautiful green ; the other is of a bloody or Aesh colour. The first is supposed to symbolize the merciful, and the second, the righteous disposition of God. They are, perhaps, rather intended to symbolize the general nature of the dispensations which issue from the throne. To the church, they are full of kindness and mercy; but to her implacable adversaries, they are full of the fury of the Lord.

Considering the place where this throne is said to be set, and the representation that is made of the monarch, there cannot be a doubt of its being intended to symbolize the majesty

and rule of the great God. · And whether it ought to be understood of the throne of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit, the context sufficiently determines. In verse 5, the Spirit, under the emblem of seven lamps of fire burning, is represented as before the throne; and in chap. v., the Son is represented as receiving a sealed book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. The Father, therefore, must be understood as the possessor of this throne.--Personally considered, these divine subsistences are on a perfect level, none of them superior or inferior to another ; but, economically viewed, the Father is greater than all. According to our feeble mode of conception, he is the head of that wonderful economy, which is usually called the economy of grace; and as in this character he sustains the majesty of Trinity, his throne is represented as above all : it is the fountain of

power and authority, and the whole administration of grace may be traced up to it. Sustaining the majesty of Godhead, no form or likeness can be attributed to him. "To whom will ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him ?" Hence John, without so much as insinuating, that any thing like form or figure might be attributed to him, only asserts, that one sat upon the throne that was to look

upon per and a sardine stone.

The decorations of the throne were remarkably splendid: There was a rainboro round about the throne. The canopy was formed by a spacious bow, which bore a striking resemblance to the bow in the clouds in a day of rain. All the different original colours could be distinctly traced in this bow, but that of green was the most predominant: for it was like unto an emerald,-a stone which is accounted precious in proportion to the beauty and liveliness of its green. There is a manifest allusion, in this part of the description, to the symbol by which the covenant with Noah was confirmed, Gen. ix. 14, 15; and surely nothing could have been more gratifying to the prophet, than the sight of a rainbow about the throne; for he was thereby assured, that whatever dispensations might

like a jasemanate from the throne, they would always be according to the tenor of the everlasting covenant established with the church. While this bow, surrounded the throne, the covenant could never be forgotten, and therefore no deluge of wrath could ever fall upon her. Both her trials and her comforts would pass between the horns of the bow; and the one as well as the other would minister to her advantage.

The Nobles of the celestial court next attracted the notice of the prophet, as in ver. 4: And round about the throne were four and twenty seats ; and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting. The allusion appears to be borrowed from the manner of the children of Israel's encampment in the wilderness. Even there, during the space of forty years, this great King kept his court. The tabernacle of witness, the tent which he pitched with men, was his palace; the mercyseat was his throne ; and the Schecinah or cloud of glory, with which it was covered, was the grandest symbol of his presence. In the tribe of Levi, and especially in Aaron and his sons, he had his nobles and great officers of state, with whom his throne was surrounded.

The Elders here mentioned are spoken of, in allusion either to the Jewish nobles, the heads of the tribes, who are often called elders; or to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who, in the times of David, were divided into twenty-four courses, with a president or superintendent over each of the divisions. The latter supposition is the most natural, because these elders were in such nearness to the throne, as to be seated on thrones or benches round about it; and only the priesthood might come so near to the grandest symbols of the Divine presence as to be almost in contact with them.

As the allusion appears to be borrowed from the priesthood under the former economy, the twenty-four elders have been frequently understood of the ministers of the Christian church. But the description is too magnificent to be applied to gospel ministers as such. Outward splendour is no way connected with ministerial rank or character.

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something spiritual be intended, by the dignified station and splendid appearance of the elders, yet neither spiritual rank nor privileges are peculiar to ministers; otherwise Judas could not have been an apostle, nor could the sons of Eli have been acknowledged among the Levitical priesthood. Spiritual privileges are possessed by all the saints, whatever be their rank in society, or station in the church. It may likewise be mentioned, that though the elders are round about the throne, they are not the circle of worshippers that are next to it: these are the four living creatures afterwards described. Neither are the elders employed in any acts which are properly ministerial, but in such services only as are common to all right worshippers, whether occupying a public or only a private station in the church.

The four and twenty elders are the hieroglyphics of the whole body of the faithful, as the living creatures, it will afterwards appear, are the hieroglyphics of the ministers of the Christian church ; and it would confound all the ordinary meaning of words and signs, to make the elders and the living creatures symbolize the same objects, since, in all the different parts of this book where they are introduced, they are always spoken of by way of distinction from each other. Though the allusion may be to the priesthood, it ought not to be forgotten, that the whole church of Israel was represented in her ministers. The tribe of Levi was set apart in lieu of the first-born; and Aaron and his sons were said to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord. Lev. x, 17. The high-priest also carried the names of the different tribes, both on his breast-plate and upon his shoulder, when he went in to minister before the Lord.-Persons in public office were called elders, because they were generally advanced in life before they attained to that dignity among the Jews. But, under the new dispensation, the privileges and attainments of the members of the church are so far superior to those formerly enjoyed, that the name elder may be applied

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