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to be considered the only witness taking an interest in the representation. The immense assemblage, just now described, constitutes itself an innumerable multitude of spectators. A portion of the heavenly host are sometimes represented as taking part in the scenes exhibited; but whether actually engaged or not, the whole multitude, with the elders and the living creatures, must be supposed to be anticipating the several developments with eager expectation, and to be contemplating the scenes presented with the most intense interest.
THE SEALS OPENED.
V. 1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were
the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts, [living creatures,] saying, Come and see.
Καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξε τὸ ἀρνίον μίαν ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ σφραγίδων, καὶ ἤκουσα ἑνὸς ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ζώων λέγοντος, ὡς φωνὴ βρον
§ 145. I SAW when the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals, and I heard the first of the four living creatures, as with a voice of thunder, saying, Come. The words uíar and ròs, used in our common version as numerals, if compared with what is said of the opening of the other seals, appear intended here as ordinals, (Rob. Lex. art. ɛis, 194;) and if the words xai βλέπε, or καὶ ἰδε, found in some editions after ἔρχου, are correctly omitted, as above, the word come appears as a command issued, not to the spectators, but to the object about to exhibit itself-somewhat in the style of incantation-which idea seems reasonable; as it would be apparently unnecessary to invite or bid the assembly of spectators to come and see, since they are all supposed to be waiting impatiently for the opening of the seals.
The first living creature was like a lion, and it is at his instance that the object about to present itself, on the opening of the first seal, comes forth, or is exhibited, with a call, perhaps, upon the attention of the spectators. This first animal we suppose to be the element of divine justicespeaking, as we may say, in a voice of thunder-reminding us of the thunderings of Sinai: the action of this element is to call forth, or to exhibit that which is about to appear. It being understood throughout, that the Lamb, which had been slain, is the efficient cause of this, and of all the subsequent exhibitions; the voice calling forth, being a secondary cause.
V. 2. And I saw, and behold, a white
horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him : and he
went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος λευκός, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπ ̓ αὐτὸν ἔχων τόξον· καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ στέφανος, καὶ ἐξῆλθε νικῶν καὶ ἵνα νικήσῃ.
§ 146. A white horse.'-The horse of Scripture is generally the warhorse, distinguished for its adaptedness to the purposes either of combat or escape. The warrior of old depended greatly upon his horse, whether in charging an enemy, or in sustaining the shock of an attack; so, in case of
defeat, his trust was equally in his horse. This we find to be the case still in Eastern countries; as it was the case in Christendom in the days of chivalry, till the use of gunpowder, and the introduction of artillery, changed the whole character of military warfare. A horse is thus a scriptural figure of means of dependence for salvation-earthly means, such as one's own merits or righteousnesses-means of which the human mind is prone to glory. "A horse," it is said, Ps. xxxiii. 17, "is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength;" and Is. xxxi. 1, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay (or depend) on horses, and trust in chariots." Here, horses are used as in a bad sense; but we find by the third verse of the same chapter, that there are two kinds of these animals: "The Egyptians," the prophet says, "are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit." The spiritual horse is a very different being from the animal of which man makes his boast; when God furnishes the charger and gives power to the rider, it is no vain preparation for battle; and then, indeed, the neck of the animal may be said to be "clothed with thunder," (Job xxxix. 19.) So, too, God's provision for escaping the wrath to come, is no vain thing for safety.
The apocalyptic horse now exhibited, is the opposite of the Egyptian horse-it is spirit, and not flesh. It is God's means of contending with the elements of legal condemnation-the means furnished by him for contest, or escape a horse is the sustaining power of the combatant. The sustaining power of him who has to contend with the elements of legal condemnation, is righteousness, or moral perfection; the only sufficient power in such a conflict being a perfect righteousness. This element of justification, as we have before had occasion to observe, is alluded to in the Apocalypse, under the figure of something white;-the white horse thus represents the sustaining power of divine righteousness, as it is promised, Is. xli. 10, "Fear not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold (sustain) thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
We find no other mention of a white horse in the Revelation, except in chap. xix. 11-21, where the apostle says, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True,"―nioròs xaì áhŋðivós; and where it is expressly declared of the rider, that his name is called the WORD OF GOD, ó óyos tov Ocov. The two descriptions are so nearly alike, as to lead us to infer that the rider is the same in both cases. The warrior in the first case is seen to go forth to the battle; in the last case, he is contemplated as already triumphant in victory. If this supposition be correct, the champion here represented is the Logos, Christ, as the Word of God, sustained by his own righteousness; as it is said, Isaiah lix. 16, "He saw that there was no man, and wondered
that there was no intercessor: therefore, his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him."
§ 147. And he that sat on him had a bow ;'—róžov, a bow. The term occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but it is the same as that applied in the Septuagint translations of the Old Testament to the rainbow, when its appearance was assigned to Noah, as a token of reconciliation and peace with God;-Gen. ix. 13, “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." The spiritual rainbow we have already contemplated as a display of the combination of the imputed righteousness and the atonement of Christ, (§ 120.) The Gospel exhibition of these combined elements affording the assurance of the reconciliation of an offended God with his rebellious creature man : with this bow, comprehending, as it may, the whole economy of salvation, the Logos, or Word of God, goes forth to overcome the requisitions of the law-to manifest the superiority of Christ's merits over all other pretensions, and to establish his own glory.*
* It is said, (Rob. Lex. p. 417,) of the term logos, as employed John i. 1-14 :— "The word óyos is used in a manner altogether peculiar, to express that which the writer believed to be divine in the character of Jesus, and united with his human nature. But why the apostle was led to employ, for this purpose, the word óyos, in preference to any other, has never yet been satisfactorily shown, nor have we the means of determining with certainty."
This is treating the subject somewhat cavalierly, as if the apostle had not been divinely directed in the use of his words; and as if their use in one place had no reference to their employment in other places, by the same writer.
Perhaps, we may come at some approximation to the reason in question, by considering, that as the word, or speech, of a man indicates the decision of his mind, so the term logos, or word, in Scripture may indicate the decision of the mind of Deity, -His decree, his fiat, his fixed purpose. It is said of the Almighty, he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. No one supposes an action of speech to be literally understood here. It is enough that God wills, and all things are done. He is unchangeable, too; His will must have been from everlasting. The enunciation of that will, however, may be said to consist in the act of fulfilling it. The purpose of God in the creation of this world, must have been the same in all eternity; but the enunciation of this purpose did not take place till the purpose itself was fulfilled in the work of creation. The exercise of power in the act of creation, being equivalent to such an enunciation of the purpose; it is thus figuratively spoken of as an act of speech, bearing some analogy to the announcing of human purposes by an action of the voice. The expression of purpose in words, is man's speech-the act of performance, is God's speech. With man, however, the exercise of various organs of the body is required to carry out his purposes. The limbs of man are the instruments for executing his will-with God, the will itself is the power by which his purposes are executed. As the mind of a man is the power acting immediately upon the organs of his own body, so the mind or will of God is the power acting immediately upon every element of the universe, material or immaterial, With God, it would be impossible to separate the mind or will from the decision of
The use of the bow implies the use of arrows. The bow is the instrument of impulsion, but the arrows are the immediate instruments of inflicting the wound ;—the arrows of the Word, or Logos, carry conviction to the heart of the sinner-not only a conviction of his sin, but also that of the utter worthlessness of his self-righteous pretensions; as alluded to by the royal penitent, Ps. xxxviii. 1, 2, “O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath; neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore." So the same arrows, or emanations of truth, parting from the covenant or economy of grace, are the instruments of overcoming those false principles, or doctrines, the tendency of which is to deprive the Redeemer of his glory, and of his right to reign; as is implied in the address of David, in spirit, to this same conqueror, on his going forth: "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty, and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things: thine arrows (are) sharp in the heart of the kings's enemies; the people fall under them,” -the king's enemies being the principles hostile to hisreign, (Ps. xlv. 3-5.)
The power of this covenant-bow may be illustrated by what has been related of the success of certain missionaries amongst the Greenlanders.
the mind or will; so, as the word of a man is equal to the decision of his mind, the Word of God is equivalent not only to the decision of his mind, but to the mind itself. Hence the divine mind may he properly spoken of as the 26yos, word, or speech, of God— the mind or volition of God, manifested in the works of creation, providence, and redemption. In Christ, the divine mind or purpose, especially in reference to the work of redemption, appeared as having its seat in one like unto the Son of man. The Word was made flesh, was manifested in the flesh; at the same time, it did not cease to be manifest also in all the works of creation, and in all the operations of an overruling Providence.
As the volition, decision, or decree of the mind of God, is the power by which he acts, and as this decision is what is sometimes in Scripture called the Logos, we see, from the nature of its operations, that this mind, or Logos, must be the same power as that at other times spoken of as the HOLY SPIRIT. The purpose of the divine mind, setting apart a certain being as substituted in Christ, or setting apart any created thing for a peculiar purpose, being the sanctification of that being, or thing. As this setting apart in Christ, is also spoken of under the figure of adoption, and as the purpose of God, exercised in adoption, is identical with the same purpose exercised in sanctification, the power or word must be the same in both cases. The difference being in the figure, or manner of speaking of the things, and not in the things themselves. So election, according to the foreknowledge of God, involving predestination, can be nothing else than the same word, fiat, or purpose of God, setting apart or adopting from all eternity, the subjects of his favour. The Spirit or power of Christ, in the vicarious act of substitution, being but the same purpose or will of God under another figure. An illustration of the truth of the observation, that several figures may be employed to represent the same truth without perplexity, but one figure cannot represent several truths without hazard of confusion.—(Vid. Faber on the Prophecies.)