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wheat (that ancient universal measure) is to be bought for a denarius, and three measures of barley for the same. We may judge concerning the degree of plenty or want attending this arrangement, . if we obtain a knowledge of the quantity of corn contained in the chanix, and compare it with the value of the denarius, which was a coin of universal circulation in the Roman empire. The chønix appears to have contained just so much wheat, as to supply a slender allowance for the daily food of one man. This we collect from ancient authors, who represent it as the allowance of a slave: and in particular from Herodotus, who, in calculating the corn consumed by the army of Xerxes in their daily march, says, Ει χοινικα πυρών εκαστος της ημερης ελαμβανε, και μηδεν πλεον *: which shews this measure to have been but a short allowance for the sustenance of one man. The denarius, (in the Scripture translation called a penny,) appears to have been the daily pay of a labouring man t. But the labouring man has many other things to provide for himself besides bread. Those times therefore must be 'accounted very dear and oppressive, wherein the whole daily pay must be employed to purchase the daily food; and that but scantily. In the times of Cicero, it appears that a denarius would purchase sixteen chænices of wheat, and in Trajan's reign twenty I. The times of the yoke, or black horse, were therefore times of great scarcity. A coarser bread might, it seems, be then had in greater proportion for a denarius, even as three to one; a bread of barley, which appears to have been used by
. * “ If each person received a chønix of wheat per day, and ro more." (Herodot. Polymn. edit. Stephani, Genevæ, 1618; p. 446.) † Matt. xx. 2.
See the authorities ir Daubuz, in loc.
the poorer Jews *, and which is represented to be still produced in the East; viz.“ a black, coarse barley, "yielding fifty-fold, and principally consumed by “cattle t.” Hence we may collect, that the provision of food for the support of life was, under this seal, to be slender in quantity, or coarse in quality ; and that the stored dainties, the wine and oil, were to be in danger of total failure.
But by these provisions for food, what are we to understand ? wheat, barley, wine, oil, in their plain and proper meaning ? Surely not. The tenour of prophetic language forbids,—directing our attention, as our Lord has directed it I, to another kind of scarcity, even that of which the prophet Amos speaks, “ Not a “ famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of “ hearing the words of the Lord §.” This kind of scarcity is frequently lamented by the prophetical writers, who delight in describing the spiritual plenty of Christ's kingdom by such sensible images, “corn " and wine, and oil ll.” By these are signified that food of religious knowledge, by which the souls of men are sustained unto everlasting life. Such we are invited by the Evangelical Prophet to buy, even, “ without price." Such are recommended to the purchase of the Laodiceans by their divine Lord ** Such were dispensed throughout the world, at the first preaching of the Gospel, and upon terms of the easiest acquisition;—" freely ye have received,” said
* Judg. vii. 13. John yi. 9. Joseph. Ant. v. c. vi. 4 ; Bell. Jud. v. C. X. 2. + Niehburgb's Travels.
See note, ch. ii. 7. . § Amos viii. 11.-Qui terrena sapiunt, famem verbi Dei patiuntur, Origen. in Gen, hom. 16. || Ps. Ixii. 16. Hos. ii. 22. Jer. xxxi. 12. Matt. ix. 17. Is. lv, 1.
** Rev, iii. 18.
Jesus to his disciples, “ freely give.” But when dark clouds of ignorance, denoted by the colour of the black horse, began to spread over the face of the Christian world, and ambitious and corrupt teacliers could advance their worldly purposes, by “bringing “the disciples under the yoke” of superstitious observances, the knowledge and practice of genuine religion became scarce. Astonishing are the instances produced by historians, of the extreme ignorance in the professors of Christianity, throughout the middle ages.
Yet, during the long progress of these dark times, the prophetical command from the throne has been wonderfully fulfilled. There has always been a moderate supply of spiritual food. The grand saving doctrine of Christianity, an eternal life of happiness, given to sinful man, upon his faith and repentance, through the satisfaction of his Redeemer, has been taught in all these ages. And that invaluable storehouse and repository of divine knowledge, of spiritual wine and oil, the Holy Bible, the word of God, has been accessible to some persons in all times since this injunction was delivered. Through all the ignorant, fanatical, factious, and corrupt hands, by which this sacred treasure has been delivered down to us, it has passed, in the main, uninjured. The corruptions of it, even for the base purposes of party zeal, and worldly domination, have been miraculously few. And such as it hath come down to our times, it is likely to be delivered to posterity, by the useful art of printing. Thus hath the prophetical injunction from the throne been wonderfully fulfilled, through a dark period of long continuance, and of great difficulty and danger :--The oil and wine have not been injured.
The opening of the fourth Seal.
CHAP. vi. 7–8. 7 Kai to pouze 17 And when he opened 1 7 And when he had
Tùy oppayida tòng the fourth seal, I opened the fourth seal, Tilágrnu, öxeon heard the fourth li- I heard the voice of TË TETáplu Sms ving-creature saying, the fourth beast say,
heyoutos• "Egxe. 8 “ come;" And [I be- 8 Come, and see. And 8 (Kai sidox] xj ide, held] and lo! a pale I looked, and behold,
177geasupos, tai livid - green horse ! a pale horse ; and his ο καθήμενος επάνω and he that sate upon name that sat on him a'zē, övqja aútū7 him! his name was was Death, and hell Dávalo rjó qons Death; and Hell fol followed with bim: hxonében wil avtš lowed with him. And and power was given rjdón avto let your power was given unto unto them, over the σία επί το τέταρτον him over the fourth fourth part of the räs gyös, á Toxliver part of the earth, to earth to kill with is soupaig, rj is slay by sword, and by sword, and with λιμώ, και έν θανάτω, famine, and by pes hunger, and with ry imò tūv Ingiwa tilence, and under the death, and with the año yñs.
beasts of the earth. beasts of the earth,
Ver. 8. A pale livid-green horse.] Xiwpos, in the common translation rendered by the adjective pale, is used in the Greek Scriptures to express the colour of grassy-green ; which, though beautiful in the clothing of the trees and fields, is very unseemly, disgusting, and even horrible, when it appears upon flesh ; it is there the livid colour of corruption. I have therefore translated it with this additional epithet. By Homer, the epithet xawpos is applied to fear*, as ex* Xawgov deos, Odyss. M. 243.
pressive of that green paleness which overspreads the human countenance, upon the seizure of that passion. And the epithet pale may be sufficient to express this colour, as affecting the face of man, but seems inadequate to convey the force of ximpos, when used to describe the hue of this ghastly horse.
There is a sublime climax, or scale of terrific images, exhibited in the colours of the horses in the four first seals, denoting the progressive character of the Chrisian times. It begins with pure white; then changes to the fiery and vengeful; then to black, or mournful: and when we imagine that nothing more dreadful in colour can appear, then comes another gradation much more terrific, even this “deadly pale*." And the imagery is Scriptural, as well as sublime. Striking resemblance to it may be observed in the following very poetical passage : “ Her Nazarites “were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, “their polishing was of Sapphire. — Their visage is “ blacker than a coal, darker than blackness; they “ are not known in the streets; their skin cleaveth to " their bones, it is withered t.” Such a gradation was there also, froin heavenly-pure to foul and horrible, in the Christian church.
Ib. Death.] This grisly king of terrors, so mounted, is very different from the benign conqueror, who came forth on the opening of the first seal, seated on the white horse; yet he is not described ; the name only is given, and the picture of him is left to be supplied by the imagination of the reader, where (such is the natural horror of dissolution) he stands delineated in terrific colours. Death is frequently personified in Scripture, as an invader, a con# Shakespeare's Hamlet.
+ Lament. iv. 7, 8.