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5. Lo! a black horse !) Another change now ensues, still for the worse; by a colour the very opposite to white; a colour denoting mourning and woe, darkness and ignorance*. What a change in this pure and heavenly religion ! but history will shew that Christianity, as professed and practised on earth, underwent this change; which will appear from the following notes.
Ib. He that sat on him having a yoke in his hand.] The word Suyos, which in our common translation is rendered by a pair of balances, I have translated a yoke, for reasons now to be assigned.
1. Zuyos, and not Zevyos, is used by all the Greek writers, whether of the Old or New Testament, to signify Siz yoke, either in its proper or metaphorical sense ; the latter word expressing not the yoke, but the pair of oxen, horses, &c. which go under it; (Lev. v. 11. Luke 11. 26.) whence it comes to be used by the scriptural and other Greek writers, to signify pairs of any kind whatever.
2. Zvyos, when used by the scriptural writers to signify a balance, is seen seldom, or perhaps never, to stand alone, as in this passage of the Revelation, but is joined to some other word or expression in the context, which points out this its borrowed significa
18. 1. 3. Jer. iv. 20. xiv, 2.
tion; such as Zuyog email@example.com; Zuyos din@10s, adimos, avojos, 'Porn Cuys, and the like; without which, tuyos would necessarily be understood to mean simply a yoke : for it is only in a borrowed and secondary sense that suyos can be taken to signify a balance. In its primary signification it is a yoke; that is, a staff, which having a link or small chain fixed to the middle of it *, was thereby suspended on the beam of the plough, or of the pole of the chariot, or wain, (like the swing-tree used in modern agriculture,) and from this, so suspended, the two beasts were to draw, the two ends of the staff or yoke being fixed to the necks or horns of the beasts. To render their draft equal, it was necessary that the staff, or yoke, should be divided equally at the point of draft, at the place where it was fastened by the link to the beam or pole; it was necessary also that it should hang loose, and play freely upon the pole. Such being the construction of the yoke, it is evident, that when the beasts were taken from under, it would remain suspended from the pole so evenly, and so freely, by the middle, as to exhibit the figure, and answer the purpose of the beam, or yard of a balance, or of a pair of scales. And it seems probable that this instrument, first used to fasten two beasts to a plough or carriage, in such a manner as that they might draw equally, afforded the first idea of determining weights, by fixing ropes and scales to each end of the yoke. Thus it seems that the word Guyos, yoke, used with words in the context denoting the act of weighing, (but not other. wise,) came to signify a balance t.
A de* Mocou la@wy. Hom. Il. X. 212. + The manner in which the yoke was fastened to the pole, and
A description of the ancient plough, with its pole or beam (temo), and its yoke (jugum), may be seen in Virg. Georg. i. 169. Temo dictus à tenendo, says Varro*; is enim continet jugum. Which jugum (from Suyos, yoke), being, as above described, a staff or rod, passing over the necks of the beasts, was early and very universally used, for the badge and symbol of slavery. “ Thou shalt serve thy brother,” says the Patriarch to his eldest son; " and it shall come to pass “ when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt “ break. his yoke (Suyov) from off thy neck t. It was under this kind of yoke, or under a staff, beam, or spear representing it, that the nations of antiquity had the custom to pass their conquered enemies, in token of subjection.
It is in this its obvious and primary sense that I understand the word Guyos in this passage. In this sense it is used throughout the New Testament; and in no other sense whatsoever I. It is used metaphorically to signify the burthensome ceremonies of the Mosaic law, from which the Christian “ law of liberty” has delivered us $; and in this law of liberty we are exhorted to “stand fast, and to resist every attempt “ to subject us to ordinances and a yoke of bondagell.”
With these attempts “ to put a yoke on the neck of " the disciples,” the history of the church abounds. Attempts of this kind are to be traced so early as in the second century*; but these were only “the be“ginnings of evil.” As the stream of Christianity flowed farther from its fountain, it became more and more corrupt, and as the centuries advanced, superstition advanced with them; and unauthorized mortifications and penances, and rigorous fastings, and vows of celibacy t, and monkish retirement and austerities, and stylitism, and the jargon and repetition of prayers not understood, and tales of purgatory, and pious frauds, and the worship of saints, relics, and images, took the place of pure and simple Christianity: till at length, the book of God being laid aside for legendary tales, and “the traditions of men,” all these corruptions were collected into a regular system of superstition and oppression, well-known by the name of the papal yoke, and which was expressly foretold by the Holy Spirit, as about to be produced in the latter times | The Eastern Church, for some time,
* Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. ch. iv.-In a fragment of Ignatius, preserved by Grabe, (Spicileg. sect. ii. p. 24.) that apostolical father says, Maplevies Suryoy undsye smilebes “ Lay upon none the yoke of virginity." And Augustine, in the 5th century, complains, that the jugum Judæorum sub lege, the yoke of the Jews under the law, was more tolerable than the ceremonies, &e. then introduced. Epist. xix.
+ See Socrat. Hist. i. 11. where it is called the yoke : for in the first Nicene Council, when sone of the bishops had proposed that the married clergy should separate from their wives, Paphnutius, a prelate of great authority among them, successfully opposed the motion: εβρα μακρα, μη βαρυς ζυγον επιθειναι τοίς ιερωμενοις ανδρασι" vehemently calling upon them, not to lay a heavy yoke on the clergy. Thus the disposition to impose the yoke in this instance strongly appeared and was defeated : but the evil day was only deferred. II Tim. iv. 1.
kept pace with the Western, in the introduction of burthensome unauthorized observances; and the Mahometan religion, derived from the corrupted Jewish and Christian, has imposed a similar kind of yoke in those parts where it has prevailed.
Ver. 5. A voice in the midst of the four living creatures.] This voice is’ from the throne ; for the Cherubim, or living creatures, were stationed close around the throne* The progress of the yoke, through the ages of dark ignorance and superstition, has been indeed alarming; threatening to annihilate the pure law of Christian liberty. A voice therefore, of the highest authority and most dread command, is uttered, to restrain its pernicious consequences. The effect of this will be seen in the ensuin
Ib. A chænir of wheat for a denarius, and three chenices of barley for a denarius ; and the oil and the wine thou mayest not injure.] Wheat, barley, oil, and wine, were with the Eastern nations of antiquity the main supports of life. Under these terms therefore, in scriptural language, we find plenty to be generally expressed t. Now it is proclaimed from the throne, that during the progress of the black horse, how desolating soever, there shall be still a certain price, at which wheat and barley may be bought, and a certain preservation of the more precious commodities, wine and oil. These prices will be found to be very high, which infers great scarcity of the commodity. But still, there is not to be an utter failure; they are to be purchased at some price. A chønix of
* Chiv. 6.
+ Gen. xxvii. 28. Deut. xi. 14, xviii. 14. 2 Chron. ii. 15. Is. lxii. 8. Jer. xxxi, 12. xli. &. Ps. iv. 7. Hos, ii. 8. 22. Joel ii. 24, Hag, i. 11.