« הקודםהמשך »
is expressed by the colour of the horse; the red or fire-coloured denoting war and slaughter; the black, mourning and woe; the white, victory and peace to God's people. To assist us further in the interpretation of the white horse, we have a passage in this book of the Apocalypse, (chap. xix. 11-17.) where a white horse is introduced with the very same expression, id8 TTOS REUXoş, “ Lo! a white horse,--and “ he that sate upon him called Faithful and True, and “ in righteousness doth he judge, and make war. “ His eyes as a flame of fire, and on his head many “ diadems, having a name written which no one “knoweth but himself; and clothed in a garment " dipped in blood; and his name is called THE WORD “ OF GOD. And the armies which were in heaven “ followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine “ white linen, (and pure); and out of his mouth “goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite “ the nations; and he shall rule them with an iron crod, and he treadeth the press of the wine of the "anger and [indignation] of the Almighty (God); "and he hath upon his garment and upon his thigh " a name written, KING OF Kings, and LORD OF “Lords." It is impossible to doubt to whom this description appertains. The glorious rider on this white horse, is manifestly the only begotten Son of God. Whether he be the same in both visions; whether the Son of God be the rider of the white horse under this first seal; we will proceed to enquire. And first let us settle our opinion concerning the horse. This at least is of the very same description in both passages.He is simply“ a white horse,” and in both passages, i as in those above quoted from the prophet Zechariali, he carries his rider, who “ in righteousness judgeth and
"maketh war," to victory, and the consequence of such victory, -peace. This notion is confirmed by the context to all these passages : and the colour, white*, confines this horse to the service of the purifying Christian covenant. By the white horse then is signified the progress of a Christian power, militant for a time in “ righteousness,” and in the end appointed to victory, which shall bring lasting peace. He goes out, “ con“quering, and for to conquer.”' In chap. xix, he comes to this final victory, and then his rider is the Son of God, who now in person (that is, with a more ample manifestation of his over-ruling power) fights the battles of his Church. But under this first seal, which represents only the early progress of the Christian church, it is not so manifest, that the rider of the white horse is the same glorious personage. For he is destitute of the same glorious attributes. He has simply a crown and a bow. And the elders have crowns; and crowns are promised to every victorious Christian t; and the bow is not a weapon, or ornament, peculiar to Christ. And yet he may be the same; because there is a great difference between the humble and clouded beginning of our Lord's progress on earth, and his expected glorious appearance when he is to take vengeance on his enemies. But we are not yet warranted to say that this horseman is the same, the Son of God. For his followers also are represented upon white horses, “As the Father had 'sent him, so he sent them into "the world [.” And therefore the progress of the white horse seems to be rather that of the Christian religion, in its primitive purity, from the time that its heavenly Founder left it on earth, under the conduct of his Apostles. The divine religion goes out * See note, ch. iii. 4. + Ch. ii. 10. Jobn xvii, 18. T2
crowned, having the Divine favour resting upon it, armed against the attacks of its many foes, and destined to conquer at the last *. There is another prophecy of Zechariah, which will afford light to this imagery of the white horse. I will give it in the trans"lation of Archbishop Newcome:
But Jehovah God of Hosts will visit
ZECH. X. 3—6.1
.: The going forth of this Christian armament seems 'řepresented by the white horse in this first seal; its **final success will be seen in the sequel of the prophecy.
Ver. 2. A bow.] This was the weapon in ancient warfare, which was known to slay at the most con*siderable distance, with the greatest celerity, from
a quarter least expected, and most difficult to es. *cape. This weapon therefore, with its accompany. ing arrows, expresses figuratively the sudden and me expected strokes of miraculous interposition, and is
"That' very ancient commentator Methodius understood by the first seal, the preaching of the Apostles, and he is followed in tñis notion by all the early writers. See Andreas Cæsariensis, Arethas; Vic torinus, and Primasius, in locum. . . i + Tertullian, after quoting some propbetical passages of Scripture, which represent the Messiah as a warrior, adds; Sic bellipotens et armiger Christus est; arma allegorica. . Ad Jud. 218.
so used in the Scriptures *. The progress of the Gos. pel was assisted by sudden and unexpected and mira. culous aid and deliverance. .. Ib. And a crown was given unto him.] This is the crown of life, described in ch. ii. 10. (see the note): our Lord's kingdom was not of this world. The crown is the reward of the faithful martyrs, who in the three first centuries fought and conquered in the cause of Christ. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give “thee a crown of life t."
Ver. 2. He went forth conquering, and for to conquer.] Two periods of time seem to be here designated. The first, when the Christian religion, preached in its purity by the Apostles, succeeded against human opposition, overcame the powers of darkness, and established itself in the world; “he «« went forth conquering :” The second, when, after a long period of warfare, during which this religion is corrupted, deformed, and almost annihilated by the arts, and machinations of the enemy, it is af length seen to regain its primitive freedom and purity, and its crown is established in righteousness I,” in an" everlasting kingdom 5.". These two periods are plainly distinguished in the visions of Daniel. The first is that of the stone, representing the Church of Christ in its infantine state; when it begins to conquer, by smiting, the idolatrous kingdoms which are established in worldly powerll. The second is that of the mountain, when this "stone becomes a great **“ mountain, and fills the whole earth q.” The latter period is represented in the sequel of the Apocalypse **
In the present passage it is only alluded to; for the ***..Psalms, passim. Lam. ii. 4. iii. 12. Heb. iii. 9. .
t'Rev. ch. ii. 10. 1 18. xxxii, i. : $ Dan. ii. 44. vii. 27. · || Dan. ii. 34. q Ver. 35. " ** Ch. xix. 11, &c.
principal object is, to represent the religion of Christ as going forth in its original purity. Its heavenly colour is as yet unstained by worldly corruption. It appears pure now, and pure it must be, when it shall conquer at the last *. : “So long, and so far, as Christianity was planted "according to this standard of its great Author; in * plainness and simplicity of incorrupt doctrine ; and “in meekness and humility, love and charity, in “ practice: when Christians continued stedfastly in " the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship; when the “ multitude of them that believed, were of one heart "and of one soul, and great grace was upon them " all, (Acts iv. 32, 33); then did their light shine " forth indeed before men, and cause them to glorify “the God of heaven. Then was the Gospel truly m and conspicuously, like a city upon an hill, a light sto lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of God's to people. It was the praise and wonder of those who if beheld its blessed effects, and might have been the
joy of the whole earth. Had Christians continued
to walk worthily of the vocation wherewith they were ♡ called, the Christian church established upon this « foundation of the Apostles and Prophet , Jesus “ Christ himself being the chief corner stone, might "in its whole building, fitly framed together, have “grown up into one holy temple in the Lordt.”
I have thus quoted from a learned and accurate writer, well versed in the history of the Christian Church, a draft or picture, (given nearly in the words of Scripture,) of what I conceive to be the period re: presented under the first seal.
• Chap. xix.
+ Clarke's Sermons, vol. iž. p. 312.