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tary arrangement; while by a legal covenant they could only occupy the position of slaves.
The bride it appears is prepared by being adorned; not merely clothed, but decorated with ornaments-corresponding with the idea we have before suggested, that the occasion for this preparation is not the marriage itself, but the marriage feast, (§ 425,)—the exhibition or manifestation of the marriage, at which it was customary, with the Hebrews, for both of the parties to exhibit their best attire. As it is said, Is. lxi. 10, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." Of Jerusalem in her perverted state it was said, Ezek. xv. 14, 15, “ And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty, for it was perfect through my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God; but thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and played the harlot, because of thy renown." We suppose the ornament of the bride descending out of heaven from God to be that of his comeliness-the beauty of his perfection. The covenant of grace is seen exhibiting that righteousness and that moral beauty which is the gift of God, conveyed by imputation, given, we may say, to the mother of us all, for the benefit of her children.
The economy of redemption, or the vision of it, in its pristine state, as it comes direct from God out of heaven, is adorned with the precious jewels of divine perfection, and with these only; as it was said by Jehovah of Jerusalem, in the passage just now quoted, "I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck; and I put a jewel in thy forehead, and ear-rings in thy ears, and a beautiful crown upon thy head." But when this same covenant is misrepresented, when this vision of peace is perverted by misconstruction, when the ornaments of a Saviour's merits are transmuted into pretensions of human merit, then may its gracious author say of it, as was said by the mouth of the prophet, “Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself [idolatrous objects of worship]; and tookest thy broidered garments and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them," &c., (Ezek. xvi. 11, 12, 17–19.)
The different aspects under which, as we apprehend, the same vision of peace is seen, will account for the various modes in which it is spoken of in the Psalms and prophets: "Do good in thy good pleasure," says the Psalmist, "unto Zion, build thou the walls of Jerusalem," make the provisions of thy grace known-exhibit in its true light the protection afforded by thine own economy of salvation. "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave
to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”
On the other hand, when it is said, "Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire, and all our pleasant things are laid waste," (Is. lxiv. 10, 11 ;) "I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons," (Jer. ix. 11 ;) the resort of accusers-a fate similar to that of Babylon ;-"I will mar the great pride of Judah and Jerusalem," (Jer. xiii. 9;) "I will make void the counsel of Jerusalem," (Jer. xix. 7;) "Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations," &c.; there can be no doubt that, in all these passages, the old Jerusalem,—the perverted vision of peace—is the subject of contemplation and reproach.
§ 467. But again, we are equally certain that in the following passages, the spirit of prophecy had in view the brighter day, with the sight of which we are now favoured in the Apocalypse. Is. lii. 1, 2 : " Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city!... Shake thyself from the dust, (the perversion of earthly, carnal interpretations;) arise, sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, (the yoke of legal construction,) O captive daughter of Zion." "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God," (Is. lii. 8-10.) "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her. . . . As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem," (Is. lxvi. 10, 13.) "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying," (Is. lxv. 17-19.) "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain," (Is. lxvi. 22.)
The watchmen shall see eye to eye when the interpreters of the written word possess that spiritual understanding, ovvεois avεvμazizi, (Col. i. 9,) which will enable them to discern and to set forth clearly the whole truth of the gospel; when there is a concurrence of the mental vision with the spiritual purport of the Scriptures; when the right arm of divine righteousness is seen to be virtually the instrument of upholding and saving the sinner; and when this arm, as set forth in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, is revealed, in the spirit as well as in the letter. When such an exhibition shall take place, the economy of grace (the vision of peace) must in effect appear coming immediately from God, adorned with the distinguishing characteristics of his atoning sacrifice, (the pearl of great price,) the clothing of his perfect righteousness, and his precious name, as a seal or jewel in the forehead. So the seed and the name of the covenant of grace will remain when these are perceived to be identic with the merits of Christ,-the promised seed,and with the name Jehovah our righteousness, by which it was predicted he should be called.
Vs. 3, 4. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God (is) with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,
and God himself shall be with them, (and be) their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more
pain; for the former things have passed
καὶ ἤκουσα φωνῆς μεγάλης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρα νοῦ λεγούσης· ἰδού, ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ θεοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ σκηνώσει μετ ̓ αὐτῶν, καὶ αὐτοὶ λαοὶ αὐτοῦ ἔσονται, καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ θεὸς μετ ̓ αὐτῶν ἔσται, θεὸς αὐτῶν· καὶ ἐξαλείψει ὁ θεὸς πᾶν δάκρυον ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν, καὶ ὁ θάνατος οὐκ ἔσται οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι· ὅτι τὰ πρῶτα ἀπῆλθον. ἔτι, οὔτε πένθος οὔτε κραυγὴ οὔτε πόνος
§ 468. And I heard a great voice,' &c.-This voice is out of the new heaven, for the old had passed away: a great voice, a powerful development from the new view of divine revelation.
'Behold, the tabernacle of God,' &c.-When the apostle Peter in vision saw a certain vessel as a great sheet let down from heaven, there came a voice, saying, Rise, Peter, kill and eat. The voice referred to the vessel let down; so we suppose here, the new Jerusalem is seen coming down from heaven, and at the same moment a voice is heard, saying, Behold, the tabernacle, &c. God is now about to dwell with his people: behold the tabernacle he has prepared for that purpose-the New Jerusa lem. The covenant of grace, sometimes spoken of as the holy city, is the tabernacle, tent, or shelter, which God has provided for his people; the tent which he pitches over them, as we have formerly contemplated the figure, (181;) a figure equivalent to that of the overshadowing of wings, employed Ps. xvii. 8, xxxvi. 7, and elsewhere. The tabernacle of God, and the city of God, (the new Jerusalem adorned as a bride,) are identic ; different figures of the same means of redemption, of the same testamentary
arrangement, (diana,) by which the righteousness of God is (in Christ) made to the disciple a shelter from the wrath to come. To see this plan of redemption fully developed, is, accordingly, to see the tabernacle of God with men.
And he will dwell with them,' &c.; or, as the Greek ozmoos strictly signifies, He shall tabernacle or pitch his tent with them.-The figure is essentially Arabian; as if a tribe of wandering Arabs, without a leader and without a protector, were exposed to some imminent danger, and on this account, just at the moment when they were about being scattered by flying before their enemies, a powerful neighbouring chief were to adopt their cause as his own, to identify himself with them, and as a pledge of his good faith and determination to protect them, to pitch his tent among them; he becoming their leader, and they his subjects. So, in a spiritual sense, when the taber nacle of God—the economy of grace-is revealed, he will be seen to have come forth for the protection of his people, making their cause his own, pitching his tent amongst them, and identifying himself with them-He as their God and they as his people.
This identity, as we conceive, is the prominent idea to be associated with the description; corresponding with the petition of the Son of God himself, (John xvii. 21, 23,) "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.' "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Not that the use of the figure here militates with that referred to Rev. vii. 15, but that different features of the same arrangement are indicated by the changes of expression. The tent pitched over the objects of protection directs our attention to the shelter of divine righteousness; while the tent pitched among or with the same objects, points to the feature of identity by adoption, (Gal. iv. 4, 5, and Eph. iv. 5, 6.) So the advantages of the disciple's position by adoption are illustrated by two different figures, Ps. xv. 1: "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill ?" The position on the hill is equivalent, as a protection, to the shelter of the tabernacle. So we find likewise, by Ps. xxvii. 5, the position upon a rock, and the secrecy of the inmost recess of a tabernacle, to be illustrations of the same state of security: "In the time of trouble, (when the requisitions of divine justice call for the punishment of the sinner,) he (God) shall hide me in his pavilion in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me, he shall set me up upon a rock."
This tabernacle is now said to be "with men ;" that is, with the men of the new earth, or with men in the new state of things: not the inhabiters of the first earth, (Rev. viii. 13,) nor the men not having the seal of God in their foreheads, (Rev. ix. 4,) nor those that blasphemed God on account of the hail, (Rev. xvi. 21,) but apparently a class similar to those spoken
of, Rev. vii. 14-17, who had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, of whom it was also said, "He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them," &c., (§§ 180-184;) this purification in the blood of the Lamb being equivalent to the change of position from the old to the new state of things. We suppose the epoch of the two representations to be the same: the announcement in the first four verses of this chapter being a declaration of the fulfilment of what is predicted in the three last verses of the seventh chapter.
As the development of the sixth seal extends to the coming of the great day of wrath, corresponding as we suppose with the scene of judgment under the seventh vial in the last chapter; so we may consider the action of the choruses in heaven, described in the seventh chapter, to correspond with the gratulatory announcement of the great voice out of heaven in this chapter; the multitude which no man could number, standing before the throne, Rev. vii. 9, being identic with the men of the new heaven and new earth; or the first standing before the throne may apply to principles, and the last (men of the new earth) to those benefited by these principles. It may not be intended, however, that these terms, multitude and men, should be so strictly construed; the narrations, taken in the abstract, illustrating a state of things, or certain views of a state of things. The former things exhibited only views of judicial wrath, the new things exhibit those of
As we have before observed, in the description of the judicial retribution given at the close of the last chapter, the fate of only one class of objects is there set forth-those not written in the book of life. The present chapter unfolds the condition of an opposite class; the individuals of this class, however, are not represented as objects of meritorious reward. In order to bring about their different treatment, the circumstances of the case are entirely changed: a new heaven and a new earth are indispensable: former things must pass away, and all things must become new. As those escaping the lake of fire are not said to escape by virtue of their works, but as it is implied by the simple fact of their being found in the book of life; so those enjoying the privileges of the new Jerusalem, owe this enjoyment, not to their works, but to the extraordinary change of position with which they are favoured.
All things, it is said, are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, (Heb. iv. 13;) in whose sight even the heavens are not clean, (Job xiv. 15;) and who is declared also to be of purer eyes to behold evil, or to look upon iniquity, Heb. i. 13; consequently, the only mode in which any person or thing can become an object of divine favour, must be by substitution of the economy of grace for that of judgment.
$469. And they shall be,' &c.; or, the people themselves shall be