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and heavenly origin*, Christ became “ the ront,” as he styles himself, Rev. xxii. 16. at the same time that he was the offspring of David ; that root, of which all men must be branches, otherwise they cannot bear fruit f. Isaiah calls him “the root of Jesse ;” intimating that David, the son of Jesse, was only a branch, of which the original stem was in Christ. " He shall grow up,” says the same prophet, tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground, despised “and rejected."—Yet, in this neglected tree, afterwards extending its wide branches, “the birds of the “air shall shelter g.” So did he likewise fulfil the other emblematical character, in which the Prophets had taught the Jews to expect him. They expected him as a lion ; he came like a lamb, “ļikę a lamb for “ the slaughter,” yet in fortitude, in power, in prowess, and complete victory over his enemies, he proved himself to be the very “lion of the tribe of Judah.” But, by what arms he “conquered,” namely, by pious faith, and suffering virtue, see explained in notes, chap. ii. 7. v. 9. xii. 11, 12.
Ver. 6. In the midst of the throne.] The cherų. bim were represented ll, to be “in the midst of the “ throne and around the throne;" but the expression here is “ in the midst” only; which is the inner and more dignified situation; žand in order that no doubt should remain concerning this station, it is added,
in the midst of the four living creatures and of the " elders.” This is that exalted station of pre-eminence and 'glory, even “ the bosom of the Father," to which the only-begotten Son of God alone can
Mic. v. 2. Col. i. 16. John vii. 58.
Is. xi. 10. Rom. xv, 12. I See note, chap. iv. 6,
† John xv. 1. 8. & Matt. xiii. 32.
"at the right hand of God, far above “all principalities and powers.” So in ch. xxii, 1. this throne is called " the throne of God and of the Lamb"
Ib. A lamb.] Our Lord Jesus Christ, for whom alone so supreme a station could be designed, is frequently represented under this symbol of innocence, led to suffer at the altar for the sins of mankind; as prefigured in the daily service of the temple f. Under which description, attributed to Jesus by the Baptist, two of the disciples acknowledged him to be the Messias †. He appears in the character of a suffering victim; the character which endears him, above all others, to sinful and mortal man; and which, thoroughly considered, is found perfectly to agree and coincide with that more splendid description of him, in which he is styled, “the lion of the tribe of “Judah.” For, it was in this very lowly and suffering form that he fought, and obtained the victory ş. The prophecies of the Old Testament, describing the Messiah, sometimes as a despised sufferer, sometimes as an irresistible and triumphant conqueror, appeared dark and irreconcileable, until the event shewed the truth and consistency of both predictions; when the “ Lord of glory” effected the salvation of the world under the character of an innocent, unresisting victim. That victim now appears, having received the deadly blow at the altar, still living, (as he says of hiinself, Rev. i. 18,) by the power of his resurrection, as when
John i, 15. Matt, xvi. 19. Eph. i, 20, 21. Heb.* i. 5. Rev. jii. 24.
† Num. xxvii. 3. John xix. 36, 37, 41. Epb. i. 7. v. ?. Heb. « 1-22. 1 Pet. i. 19. 1 Cor. v.7. John i. 19.
See note, chap. ii. 7.
be shewed his mortal wounds to his disciples * ; and thus “he ever liveth to make intercession for us t."
“ The lamb died for no offence of his own, but “ for the sins of others; so did Christ. The lamb “ could not commit sin, by his nature ; nor Christ,
by his perfection: the lamb was without bodily
spot or blemish; Christ was holy and undefiled: a “ lamb is meek and patient; such was the afflicted and much-injured Son of God ."
Ver. 6. Seven.] How this number became expressive of universality, fulness, and perfection, see note, clap. i. 4.
Ib. Horns.] The horn, being commonly that part of the animal by which he asserts his power, was received by the eastern nations as the symbol of power. So our Lord himself is called “a horn of salvationý;" that is, the great power of salvation. By the seven “ horns," attributed to the lamb, is signified that universal and irresistible power which our Lord obtained, when, suffering death under this very form, of an innocent victim, he thereby vanquished the formidable enemy of man. “ All power,” says he to his disciples (immediately after this conflict), “is given to nie in “heaven and in earth ll."
Ib. Eyes.] As the seven horns of the Lamb signify our Lord's omnipotence, so do the seven eyes his omnipresence. These seven eyes are described in Zech. jii. 9. iv. 10. to be “ the eyes of the Lord, which
run to and fro through the whole earth.” They are in that passage said to be inscribed“ on a stone, which is probably “ the precious stone, the head stone of
• Luke xxiv. 39.
+ Heb. vii, 25. 1 Jortin on Eccl. Hist. i. 184. Luke i. 69.
| Matt. xxviii. 18. 1
“the corner,” described in Is. xxviii. 16. 1 Pet. i. 6, 7. Luke xx. 17. Acts iv, 11. and therefore, being applied to Christ, appear to have reference to this description
Ver. 8. Fell prostrate.] The majesty of the Son of God appeared clouded under the corering of the Lamb. So was it in the flesh, when he appeared as the son of Mary and of the carpenter. But his splendour breaks forth with astonishing effect, when he receives the book at the right hand of the Father'; and all the powers of Heaven, " thrones and domi
nions, principalities and powers t,” fall prostrate before him. Like this, probably, was the disclosure of the divine mysteries in Christ, to “the principa“ lities and powers in heavenly places,” of which Saint Paul speaks in Eph. iii. 10.
Ib, Harps.] The barps, as well as the vials of incense, seem to belong to the elders only, not to the cherubim, to whose form they cannot accommodate, and whose figures were not seen distinctly. Besides, the masculine excolos directs this interpretation. The cherubim were seen in such effulgent brightness, flashing before the throne #, as not to admit an exact account of the place of their position, much less a minute inspection of them, as bearing harps and vials.
Ib. Vials.] The Dicha, vial, of the Old Testament appears to have been a sort of patera, or bason, in which were deposited, before the altar, the offerings of meal, or of incense. It was distinct from the censer, on which the offering was presented, and which is called λιβανωλος 5, πυρειον, θυμιατηριον, but never
• fo Archbishop Newcome on Ezekiel.
$. Rev. viii.
Quaxn. Therefore, they who bear these vials, are not necessarily priests who offer incense; these rather bear the incense, ministering, like the Levites under the old covenant, to the great high priest of the Christian covenant, by whom, and through whom alone, prayers are to be offered up to God *
Ib. Full of incense.] Oudescuelwr being in the plural number, our translators may seem to have rendered it not improperly odours; but this word does not express that particular compound, which by divine appointment was used in offering, and which we call incense. I have therefore employed this expres. sion, incense, which, being of itself a compound of various sweets t, has a plural signification. And by the use of this word we avoid an equivocation, which is to be seen in the common translation, wherein the
prayers of the saints,” may be referred to the odours only, whereas, in the original, they refer clearly to “ the vials full of incense.” The incense of itself does not so fitly represent “ the prayers of the saints,” as when placed upon the vial or patera, and brought up to the altar, there to be offered.
Ib. Which are the prayers of the saints. ] Prayer is fitly represented under the symbol of incense, according to the comparison of the Psalmist,“ let my
prayer be set forth before thee as incense I;" and according to the custom of holy worship with the Jews, who accompanied the offering of incense with their prayers, (see Lukei. 10.) Hence Origen, in his treatise against Celsus, alludes to this passage of the Reve
* 1 Tim. ii, 5. Heb. vii. 24, 25.-For a more particular accuuut of the word qigan, see.Parkhurst's Lexicon, and Daubuz, in loc. + Exod. xxx. 34. xxxvii. 29. Lev. xvi. 12. Ps, cxli. 2.