Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The rider of the fiery-red horse is, however, to take peace from the earth, or out of the earth. The exhibition of truth, showing the exact and unrelenting requisitions of justice-of which the going forth of this rider is a figure-manifests that there is no peace, or reconciliation, with God to be found in these earthly systems, or these systems of earth; the want of peace, or concord, between the different elements, alluded to above, being figuratively spoken of as their killing each other, or mutually sacrificing each other, as the Greek term implies.

§ 151. To him was given a great sword.'-This great sword might be put for great division; as we see in the two passages above quoted from Matthew and Luke, the sword is put in one, for what is termed division. in the other; but it appears more in accordance with the style of Scripture, to give to every particular its peculiar force. Here are three particulars, which we can hardly suppose to be mere synonyms. The rider on the fiery-red horse had power to take peace from the earth-those that are on the earth are to kill each other; and besides this, a great sword is given to this rider. It seems most probable, that this great or powerful weapon is the sword of the Spirit spoken of by Paul, (Heb. iv. 12, Eph. vi. 17,)—the word of God. That is, the word of God in its most spiritual sense-the mind of God, the power of discerning between the natural and spiritual sense of the revealed word—a power sharper than any two-edged sword. With this sword, the warrior on the red horse searches into the motives of actions, as well as into the nature of the actions-detecting, discerning, and exposing the intents and thoughts of the heart; and thus convincing the world of sin, showing the impurity and selfishness of human motives, and the impracticability of obtaining peace with God by works of righteousness of man's performance; the same Spirit of truth which manifests himself a comforter to the disciple of Jesus, being the judge and investigator, convincing the world of sin. The rider of these two horses is thus the same Divine power exhibited under two different aspects. As the element of justice calls forth an exhibition of the provision of Divine mercy, the element of propitiation requires the presence of the provision for the conviction of sin, showing that by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified the going forth of these two combatants, although successive in the representation, being simultaneous in effect.

V. 5. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast [living creature] say, Come and see. And I be. held, and lo, a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

Καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξε τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν τρίτην, ἤκουσα τοῦ τρίτου ζώου λέγοντος· ἔρχου. Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος μέλας, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπ ̓ αὐτὸν ἔχων ζυγὸν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὑτ

τοῦ·

§ 152. The third living creature.'-We have supposed the animal with the man's face to represent the mind or reason of Divinity-as an animal with

a man's face would be supposed to be endued with the faculty of reason. Perhaps, as one of the elements of sovereignty about the throne, we may suppose it to represent the wisdom of God, or the element of wisdom itself. Wisdom calls forth the exhibition now to be made, or directs special attention to it.

6

And lo, a black horse.'-Black is the opposite of white. Blackness and darkness are coupled together in Scripture-darkness being the opposite of light. Light, or whiteness, we have assumed to be figurative of moral perfection, or righteousness; so blackness and darkness are figures of the absence of such perfection. Hence blackness, as of sackcloth, is a token of repentance, humiliation, or conviction of a want of righteousness; and darkness is a corresponding figure of despondency, from a sense of guilt a state from which every ray of hope or comfort is excluded.

The black horse is apparently an opposite of the white horse. The rider of the black horse depends for his power upon something representing an entire lack of righteousness. At the same time the colour reminds us of the condition of those who are groping in darkness, and have no light; not having yet come to the knowledge of the truth of salvation by grace alone.

( And he that sat on him.'-The rider of the black horse is furnished with no weapon, other than a pair of balances, or, as the Greek term might be rendered, a yoke. The difference will not be material in the construction we propose to give. A yoke for a pair of oxen, has some resemblance to a pair of balances; and the use of the balances, as they are designed here, causes the figure not to differ much from a yoke. A pair of scales, or balances, is a common equipment for a representation of justice; justice being supposed to balance exactly what is put into one scale, by that which is placed in the other. Having already supposed the lion to represent the attribute of Divine justice, we cannot consider this figure upon the black horse with the balances as representing precisely the same thing; but we may suppose it to represent the element of law-the standard of duty-that which defines the rule; weighing in the balance the requisition on the one side, and the fulfilment on the other-that law which proved to be a yoke of servitude under the old dispensation, (Gal. v. 1, Acts xv. 10,) and is still so to all subjected to it. As the third living creature calls attention to this figure with the pair of balances, so wisdom exhibits to every rational being in creation the law, or standard of moral right or wrong; corresponding with the dictates of prudence, that he who builds should count the cost; and he who goes into battle should compare his forces with those of his enemy, before it be too late. The law depends for its power upon the short comings of those subjected to it. Wherever the law is fulfilled it loses its ascendency: it can require nothing more. So the rider here, with the

balances, is sustained by something representing man's want of that righteousness, necessary to fulfil all that the law, or standard of good and evil, demands. The going forth of this rider may thus be equivalent to that manifestation of the Holy Spirit which is to convince the world of sin; a going forth which is also simultaneous with that of the conqueror, and of the rider on the fiery horse.

V. 6. And I heard a voice in the midst

of the four beasts [living creatures] say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and (see) thou hurt not the oil and the

wine.

Καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἐν μέσῳ τῶν τεσσάρων ζώων λέγουσαν· χοῖνιξ σίτου δηναρίου, καὶ τρεῖς χοίνικες χριθῆς δηναρίου· καὶ τὸ ἔλαιον καὶ τὸν οἶνον μὴ ἀδικήσῃς.

153. This voice is said to be in the midst of the four living creatures, and the four living creatures were in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne; and from the throne itself, it is said, lightnings, and thunderings, and voices proceeded. The throne being the habitation of justice and judgment, and these four living creatures representing principles intimately connected with this tribunal, a voice from such a source, or a principle found in such a connection, must be something of a judicial character. Thus we may presume the four elements of Divine sovereignty, represented by the living creatures, however opposite they may be in their action one to the other, as must be the case with the elements of justice and mercy, all accord in magnifying the law, and making it honourable, by appealing as it were with a common voice to the standard or rule of judgment—proclaiming it as by an edict from the throne.

It has been no uncommon thing for governments to control, and even to monopolize the trade in grain, and to regulate the price of bread. Wheat and barley being materials for making bread; and bread being, as we have before shown, (§ 65,) a figure of the means of eternal life; the edict here published is, in a spiritual sense, the enunciation of the exact requirements of the law, as to the only legal means of salvation. This edict coming from the throne, emanates like the law from Mount Sinai, from a source distinguished for the fearful paraphernalia with which it is said to be attended.

A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny. If the price here mentioned were a very low price, indicative of great plenty, we might suppose the purport of this edict to be equivalent to that of the Gospel invitation, by the mouth of the prophet, to buy and eat without money and without price. We are to take into consideration, however, that, in the days of the apostles, a penny was considered the fair price of a day's labour. On the other hand, the word translated measure, zoivis, is supposed to be equal to about a quart; and the Roman denarius, (Arváotov,) a penny, according to some, to be equal to 7 d. sterling; according to

others, 9 cents, (see Rob. Lex. 141, 829.) A quart of wheat for 10 to 15 cents our money, or a quart of wheat for a day's labour, would not be considered very cheap. But as this quantity of wheat was considered a daily allowance for one man, the edict is equal to a proclamation assigning to every labourer his daily subsistence for his daily labour. The relative price of barley is indicative of the same just discrimination. The ideas of plenty or scarcity have no share in the illustration. The standard of prices is just that of the old rule under the law: by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread. Under the law, nothing was obtainable but upon the principle laid down to Cain: "If thou doest well, shall it not be accepted?" If thou doest not well, by the same rule, is it not for thee to take the consequences ? Under the law, every transgression and disobedience receiving a just recompense of reward, (Heb. ii. 2.)

The price of the great necessary of life being thus fixed, the representative of public justice goes forth with his balances, to weigh, to give out exactly, in conformity with the rule of law.

154. There are those who, like the fratricidal Cain, offer the earthly fruits of their own pretended merits as sacrifices of propitiation. They conduct themselves upon the mercenary principle of receiving precisely the recompense to which they suppose their own work entitles them. Actuated by this spirit they live to themselves as essentially as did the Babylonish monarch, who was weighed in the balances and found wanting; the sword of the Spirit exposes their real motives, the thoughts and intents of their hearts. Their only object is their own glory, and their own well being the love of self is the ruling motive of their conduct. To such,, suppose the rule of law to be applied, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Here, even in their obedience to this first commandment, they are found wanting; they are not able even here to furnish their penny for their daily supply of food, still less to furnish that which is to ransom their souls, or to lay up for them the provision of eternal life. It is the office of divine wisdom to exhibit this rule of law; not only so, it proclaims the value of the great essential of eternal life. The law requires a perfect righteousness, and like a powerful despot it keeps in subjection all incapable of meeting this requirement.

In the figure presented in the Apocalypse, the edict of prices is equivalent to an enunciation of the Law; the balances, as the means of trying the merit of all pretensions, occupy the place of the fire, which is to try every man's work. The rider on the black horse we may suppose to be that Spirit, or power of truth, which applies these rules, and this instrument of trial, to the consciences of all-an action equal to the application of the texts, "The soul that sinneth it shall die ""The wages of sin is death;"

"There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not.” Though a man keep the whole law, with but one exception, in that single offence he is guilty of all.

'And see thou hurt not (or do no wrong to) the oil and the wine.'A caution apparently not to allow the elements of the gospel to be approached in conducting this judicial process; as if it were said to the selfrighteous, or self-sufficient, 'You prefer being treated on your own merits; you would have your own righteousness weighed in the scale against the price of eternal life; you have heard the conditions,-now come to the trial: but see that you do not lean to the very gospel principles you despise.' Oil was used amongst the Hebrews as a sign, in setting apart certain persons to a particular office. Thus, kings and priests were set apart, or sanctified, by the use of oil; hence, the sign of this setting apart seems to be figuratively put for the setting apart or sanctification itself. To be set apart in Christ, or to be sanctified in him, is obviously the greatest cause of rejoicing; and hence it is spoken of as the oil of joy ;-the sinner mourning under a depressing sense of his sin, when able by faith to trust to this setting apart in Christ, rejoices in that spiritual unction with joy unspeakable.

So, as by the power of Jesus, the element of purification was transformed to the wine of a marriage feast, the atonement-his own propitiation for the ablution of sin-becomes the element of making glad the heart of man, not only for time but for eternity. These gospel means of salvation, however, are not to be trespassed upon by those who come to the bar of divine judgment, to be tried upon their own merits. They depend solely upon what they have to offer themselves, and out of their own mouths, and by their own rules, they must be weighed in the balance: or at least such must be the trial by which the doctrines supporting these pretensions are to be tried and judged.

Vs. 7, 8. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see, [or come.] And

I looked, and behold, a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and

hell followed with him.

Καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξε τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν τετάρτην, ἤκουσα φωνὴν τοῦ τετάρτου ζώου λέγοντος· ἔρχου. Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος χλωρός, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ ὁ θάνατος· καὶ ὁ ᾅδης ἠκολούθει μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ.

155. I heard the fourth living creature say.'-The animal by which this exhibition is ushered forth is that like a flying eagle, supposed to represent the Holy Spirit in the office of Comforter; as the eagle bears up its young in its flight, or protects them with its wings. Here the parental care of the Holy Spirit may be supposed to be exercised in pointing out the imminent danger, calling for the protection provided-the inevitable judicial death and condemnation to which the sinner is exposed.

« AnteriorContinuar »