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ble, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second
The account being here concluded of the future state of that part of mankind which preceded the age of Christianity, we are now invited to a new spectacle.
V. 9. “And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
V. 10. “And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem* coming down out of heaven from God,
v. 11. “ Having the glory of God: and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper-stone, even as crystal.”
Here we are favoured with a sight of the heavenly Jerusalem, or seat of bliss of the Christian saints. The ground of this distinction of two Jerusalems appears, not only from the prophet's invariable rule of not repeating the same thing, but also from their respective descriptions. The first, which we saw above, agrees with the nature and terms of the covenant of God with mankind relatively to the ages before the æra of Christianity; and this latter Jerusalem is particularly distinguished by being styled the bride and wife of the Lamb. which evidently characterizes the Christian Church. The view of this seat of heavenly beatitude is offered to St. John by one of the seven angels who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, it being fit that the rewards of the just should be proclaimed by the same angels, who before had poured the vials of divine punishments on the wicked. These vials appertain solely to the Christian Church. St. John is carried in spirit to the top of a great and high mountain, to be enabled to see over the high wall into this great city, the holy Jerusalem of the Christian saints, which he sees coming down out of heaven from God, to fix upon the earth. It is filled with the brightness of the glory of God; and its light is as shining as the lustre of the finest precious stone, and as agreeable to the eye as the view of the most transparent green jasper stone. V. 12. “ And it had a wall great and high, having twelve
* In the Greek text, "the great city, the holy Jerusalem." .
gates, and in the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
V. 13. “On the east, three gates; and on the north, three gates; and on the south, three gates; and on the west, three gates.”
This heavenly city is surrounded with a great and high wall, and has twelve gates, three to the east, as many to the west, to the north, and to the south. They are guarded by twelve angels in the same manner as an angel was appointed to guard the gate of the terrestrial Paradise : and upon each gate is inscribed the name of one of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, because from them the Christian Church was first formed, and thus they became the leaders or gate of entrance to all succeeding Christians.
V. 14. “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The wall stands on twelve foundations raised one upon another, on which are severally inscribed the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; they being, after Christ, the foundations of his Church.
V. 15. “And he that spoke with me, had a measure of a reed of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall..
V. 16. “ And the city lieth in a four-square, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth: and he measured the city with a golden reed for twelve thousand furlongs: and the length, and the height, and the breadth thereof are equal.
V. 17. “And he measured the wall thereof an hundred forty-four cubits, the measure of a man which is of an angel.”
The angel who shows and explains these things to St. John, measures with a golden rod the city, its walls and gates, and finds the plan of the city to be an exact square, and its whole circuit to be twelve thousand furlongs, or fifteen hundred miles. The wall of each side of this square is therefore, three thousand furlongs, or three hundred and seventy-five miles long; and what is strange, its height is said to be equal to its length; so that the whole fabric of the city forms an exact cube, the length, breadth, and height of which are, each severally, three hundred and seventy-five miles. What a prodigious city! but, “In my father's house," says our Saviour, “there are many mansions." John xiv. 2. Such an extensive habitation, we hope, indicates the vast multitude that will be of Christian citizens. The angel likewise measures
the thickness of the wall, v. 17, and finds it to be an hundred and forty-four cubits, or two hundred and sixteen feet; a cubit being the measure from the elbow to the extremity of the hand of an ordinary man, or a foot and a half nearly, which is the measure used by the angel.
V. 18. “And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper-stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass." St. John having described the dimensions of this great city, the basis of which being a square and the structure a cube, form the most elegant and most perfect figure of an edifice; he now proceeds to give us an account of the materials of which the whole is built, which are the richest that can be imagined. The wall is built of fine green jasper-stone, the colour best suited to the eye. The city itself, by which we suppose are meant the buildings of the city, is constructed wholly of pure gold as transparent as crystal.
V. 19. “And the foundations of the wall of the city, were adorned with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper : the second, sapphire: the third, a chalcedony: the fourth, an emerald:
V. 20. “The fifth, sardonyx: the sixth, sardius: the seventh, chrysolite: the eighth, beryl: the ninth, a topaz: the tenth, a chrysoprasus: the eleventh, a jacinth: the twelfth, an amethyst.” 'The twelve foundations that support the wall of the city, are adorned with the most shining and most beautiful precious stones, which are here particularly specified: As the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed upon them, v. 14, perhaps the qualities of each stone bear some relation to the peculiar endowments of the apostle whose name is upon it; but this relation we cannot pretend to discover.
V. 21. “And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, one to each : and every several gate was of one several pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” The twelve gates of the city in their jambs and external structure and decorations are made of so many beautiful pearls, a pearl for each gate: and the door of each gate is formed of one single pearl. And the streets and whole area of the city are paved with pure gold, transparent as chrystal. What can be more rich, splendid, or sumptuous ?
V. 22. “And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb.
V. 23. “And the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof." This heavenly city
wants no temple: Almighty God and the Lamb residing in it supply the place of a temple: they are always present to the blessed inhabitants, who thus see their God and Saviour face to face, and offer their homage immediately to them. Nor is there any occasion for the light of the sun or moon: the city is always illuminated by the resplendent glory and brightness of the Deity which serve in the place of the sun, and the Lamb himself is the great luminary of it, in lieu of the moon.. The same glorious perfections of this city are also painted to us in the same colours by the prophet Isaiah: “ Thou shalt no more have the sun for thy light by day, neither shall the brightness of the moon enlighten thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light, and thy God for thy glory," lx. 19.
V. 24. “ And the nations* shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour into it.” The citizens, who shall enjoy these blessings will be selected from all the nations that have espoused the Christian law. And the kings of the earth who have truly served Christ, the King of kings, shall there offer their homage to the Al. mighty and to the Lamb, and lay their crowns and honours at the foot of the throne.
V. 25. “And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day : for there shall be no night there.
V. 26. “And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.” The gates of the city will always be open, as it can suffer no danger from enemies, nor any disturbance. Nor will there be ever the least obscurity or darkness, its light, which proceeds from God and the Lamb, remaining al. ways equally intense and inextinguishable. Some of all ranks and conditions, out of all the nations of the earth, will there be found offering to the supreme Deity their glory and honour, that is, their riches, their dignities, or whatever blessings they had been possessed of in life. The same glorious things we hear from the mouth of that ancient prophet, who always spoke with rapture of Christ and his kingdom: “ Thy gates shall be open continually: they shall not be shut day nor night, that the strength of the Gentiles may be brought to thee, and their kings may be brought.” Isaiah lx. 11.
V. 27. “ There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.” Such is the holiness of the place, that nothing defiled, unclean, nothing stain
* In the Greek text, "the nations of those that are saved.”
ed with the abomination of idolatry, injustice, lying or impos ture, or any other species of iniquity, can enter there. It is a mansion of bliss for those only whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb, that is, for those only who have been called and chosen by the Lamb, and whom he has registered in his book. Such expressions repeatedly prove that the city here described is the Christian Jerusalem.
Chap. xxii. 1. “And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
V. 2.“ In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Through this celestial abode runs a river of water of life, clear as crystal, which rises from the foot of the throne of God and the Lamb. On the banks of this river, as it runs through the middle of the streets, grows the tree of life, bearing twelve different sorts of fruit which ripen every month; the food of which nourishes the inhabitants, preserves their bodies from all tendency to corruption, and keeps them in full vigour and strength without the least impair for all eternity. The leaves even have the virtue of healing, or of securing the body against the least attack of sickness or disease. An emblem of this was the tree of life in Paradise. With such fruit and such water the heavenly citizens eat and drink immortality.
V. 3. “And there shall be no curse any more: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him.
V. 4. “And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads." In this blissful habitation there will be no curse, there will be no danger of experiencing the anger of God or his punishments. He and the Lamb will fix their throne in the midst of them, to gratify them for ever with their amiable presence; while they with boundless affection will offer their praise and thanksgiving. Thus will the saints see their God face to face, and enjoy the possession of him with expressible and never-ceasing joy. And they will bear on their foreheads his name, that is, the names of God and the Lamb expressed in one name, as both are one God: and thus they will carry an honourable and distinctive mark of their having been the devoted servants of God and the Lamb.—We may observe, that in this and other places of the Apocalypse, where St. John names together God and the Lamb,