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reigned unto death, even so might grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord;" or, as the language might be paraphrased, "Where the transgression of the law most abundantly rendered man obnoxious to condemnation, there the principles of salvation by sovereign grace most powerfully predominated, through justification by Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.
V. 6. And he said unto
me, ings (are) faithful and true. *
Και είπε μοι· ούτοι οι λόγοι πιστοί και αληθινοί:
$ 521. 'And he said unto me,' &c.—The word are is supplied by our translators, and we may dispense with it, or transpose it by rendering the expression, these are the faithful and true sayings. This is the third time in which this formal declaration has occurred, the circumstances on each occasion being similar ; that is, as if an answer were required to a question understood, ($$ 427, 471.) It has just been declared that these servants of God shall rule, reign, or predominate forever. The question understood, we suppose to be, Who are these servants of God ? the answer is, These, the true and faithful words or sayings ; or, rather, as the term 1.6701, plural of 26yos, might be rendered, These faithful and true doctrines, or elements of doctrine ;t principles of the economy of grace, comprehended in the whole purpose of God ;—that decision of the divine mind, (fiat,) unchangeable from all eternity, which is distinguished, by way of pre-eminence in the Scriptures, as the WORD OF GOD. Every doctrinal principle involved in this Word or purpose, pertaining to man's redemption, must reign, preside, or predominate; its reign being secured by all the arrangements of the economy of redemption, as the elements of a city population are secured in the enjoyment of their rights and privileges by the entire structure of the city, with all its peculiar advantages.
These sayings, principles, or words, (àóyou,) were personified, Rev. six. 9, as the guests at a nuptial feast, taking part in the celebration or manifestation of the marriage. Again, they appear, Rev. xxi. 3–5, as the things made new; and lastly, they are represented as these servants of God and the Lamb; their whole tendency being that of glorifying the name of Jehovah. We do not suppose these sayings, however, to be represented solely by the dwellers in the city, we suppose all the elements of the economy of redemption to be virtually the servants, and (oi 26701) the words of God; accordingly they are all represented by different parts of the city, or different parts of the city may be different figures for the same elements of truth, or true sayings.
* We have divided the verse here, because we think the subject of the first clause properly belongs to the description just given of the holy city; while the last clause is part of the account given by the messenger of himself.
† (Rob. Lex. 416. Hoyos (3) (0) (a) applied to Rev. i. 9, and xx. 4.)
The preceding narrative, from the coinmencement of the fourth chapter to the close of the twentieth chapter, contains an exhibition of the contest between opposite principles, (the elements of truth and those of error,) in sacred things—matters pertaining to the way of salvation. Towards the close of this narrative, the elements of truth become more and more developed, and their destined predominance more and more brought forth, till finally, in this exhibition of the new Jerusalem, it is manifested that they are to reign or rule forever ; all of these elements being symbolized in the various particulars given of the splendid and well-fortified city just contemplated ; they are all spoken of as destined to serve God continually, and to rule or reign in sacred things forever; and all, accordingly, we apprehend, are entitled to the appellation of true and faithful sayings, (2.6you,) elements of doctrine, elements of the same class as those of whom it is said, Rev. xiv. 5, “ And in their mouth was found no guile ;” opposites of “whatsoever causeth abomination or maketh a lie.”
OF THE VISION
$ 522. Although the description upon wñich we have been commenting is that of a city, and not of a woman, we have purposely retained for our remarks the running title of the Bride, the Lamb's wife, because it is important to bear in mind, throughout our consideration of the subject, that the new Jerusalem or holy city, and the bride or wise of the Lamb, are representations of the same mystery-interchangeable figures of the same subject.
Whether as a bride or city, the holy Jerusalem is equally an opposite of Babylon ; both are revealed to us by a like twofold mode of illustration. The one as a bride appears in a clothing of the purest white, prepared by the hand of God himself; all her attractions being destined to secure the affections of one object alone; the other appears arrayed in the meretricious decorations of a harlot, intent upon perverting from the right way all coming within the baneful influence of her allurements. But whether as a bride cr city, the new Jerusalem is seen descending immediately from God, out of heaven, leaving no room for suspicion of the smallest adventitious mixture of earthly material, either in her own composition or in that of her array ; while all that is to be inferred from the description of Babylon as a woman, or as a city, shuts us up to the conclusion that she is of the earth, earthy.
From the description given of the holy city, the hand of man is not to be traced in its structure ; as, in the building of the altar of stone, upon which no iron tool of man was to pass, (Ex. xx. 25; Deut. xxvii. 5,) an intermixture of human labour in giving it perfection, or in attempting to
make it more acceptable to Jehovah, would have been a pollution. Babylon, on the contrary, is represented to have risen into importance froin her own resources—her arts, her manufactures, and her commerce ;-her magnificence was instrumentally the work of men's hands, and her wealth and power the result of human toil. Nothing is said in the Apocalypse of the walls of Babylon ; they were but earthly mounds when first erected, and may be supposed to have crumbled to decay long ere her final destruction. Of gates she had no occasion, for there was nothing however false and abominable which might not have obtained admittance; even that which was of a better character would have been received for the purpose of effecting its perversion. Neither is any thing said of her supply of water: the great river had been dried up; she had no living springs to which she could resort ; her cisterns were broken cisterns, incapable of answering the purpose for which they were intended; she was utterly without the means of arresting the conflagration with which she was destroyed. Sudden destruction came upon her, and that without remedy—she could not escape ;-the fire destroyed every work, for every work was of the same destructible material ; even her site or foundation was nowhere to be found. She had no temple of God—He was not in any of her thoughts—God is not supposed to have been there worshipped at all. Self was the idol of her adoration; and of that idol the whole city may be contemplated as the temple ; self-interest, self-gratification, and mercenary calculation, constituting all her temple service.
We have adverted to these particulars of the harlot city by way of recalling the imagery furnishing so striking a contrast with the features of the vision of peace, the heavenly Jerusalem. Employing Paul's exposition of the two Jerusalems, (Gal. iv. 24,) as a key to these two figures of the Apocalypse, we have taken them as representations of two plans, systems, or economies of salvation ; Babylon representing a plan of works, not purely legal, but a confused mixture—in pretence a gospel plan, but really an adulteration of the elements of grace with those of works, ($8 385, 386.) The holy Jerusalem, on the other hand, we suppose to represent, as in a picture, the divine scheme of salvation by grace, sovereign grace, entirely free from any admixture of pretensions to merit on the part being saved. Accordingly, the glory exhibited in this picture is the glory of God alone. The vision offers for our contemplation no foundation or site upon which to rest our hopes other than Christ, (God in Christ,) the stone, the rock, the mountain filling the whole world. It shows us no wall of salvation but that of divine righteousness; it shows us no gate but the way of access to God in Christ—a way justly to be esteemed a pearl of inestimable value ; it shows us no means of ablution from sin but the river of the water of life, the atoning offering of the Son of God. It shows us no
element of eternal life but the merits of Christ, the fruit and the leaves of the tree of life ; it shows us no light or perfection constituting a portion of this scheme but that of Jehovah himself. At the same time, it shows us that all these elements are but so many modes of exhibiting one means of eternal life—God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. The foundation or mountain, the wall, the gates, the river, the tree of life, the light, are all so many representations of God the Saviour; and all of them such representations as have been elsewhere set forth by prophets and apostles, and to which the whole burden of the Old and New Testament revelations bears a uniform testimony ;—the manifestation of truth exhibited in this vision of peace, in which God and the Lamb appear one and the same divine Being, showing us what the apostle declares (1 Cor. xv. 28) is to be finally manifested—that God is all in all—Jehovah our righteousness. As it is said, (Is. xii. 2) “Behold, God is my salvation ; I will trust and not be afraid : the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song."
$ 523. That such is the interpretation to be given to this portion of the Apocalypse may be readily granted ; but the question will still occur, Why is this exhibition of the economy of grace denominated the Lamb's wife or bride?
To answer this inquiry we go back to the account first given of the institution of marriage, and learn that its prominent characteristic is that of an accounted identity, resulting from the union of two parties by this rite, (Gen. ii. 24 ;) an identity referred to by Jesus Christ himself, as the peculiar feature of the same union, (Matt. xix. 5, 6 ;) and an identity alluded to by Paul as analogous to that of the mysterious union of Christ and the church, (Eph. v. 31, 32.) To say that the new Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, is equivalent, therefore, to the declaration that the new Jerusalem and the Lamb are to be accounted identic :-whatever is represented by the one is represented by the other; whatever is revealed concerning the one is revealed concerning the other ; whatever the holy city represents, with her walls, her gates, her light, her river, her structures of gold, and her tree of life, is represented also by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That the Lamb of the Apocalypse is a figure of the divine Being to whom the appellation of “ the Lamb of God” was given by the Baptist, (John i. 29, 36,) must be indisputable. This Lamb of God is Jesus Christ : whatever is revealed then under the symbol of the bride or Lamb's wife, must be accounted identic with Christ; and a revelation or unveiling of the bride or holy city, must be accounted equivalent to an unveiling of Jesus Christ himself; corresponding with the construction (5 2) put upon the title of this book, (Rev. i. 1,) “ The Revelation of Jesus Christ;" that it is the unveiling of his character, and offices, and work, in what may be termed their peculiarly spiritual aspect.
Jesus Christ reveals himself in this vision of the apostle, and he makes this revelation of himself through the instrumentality of the new Jerusalemthe wife of the Lamb ;-what she represents, He is; He is represented in her.
As the woman is the glory of the man, (1 Cor. xi. 7,) so the new Jerusalem exhibits the glory of the Lamb, or rather of God and the Lamb, one Being. The glory of the Lamb is the glory of God, ($ 504 ;) as Christ is declared (Heb. i. 3,)* to have been the express image of the Father, the glory of the holy city, or that exhibited by the holy city, is the glory of God. This glory of God is his goodness ; the new Jerusalem is an exhibition of the goodness or glory of God. The disciple, in contemplating the heavenly Jerusalem, sees what Moses, when in the cleft of the rock, was permitted to see, this goodness passing before him, (Ex. xxxii. 19.) The goodness of God, in the sense here alluded to, we apprehend to be his loving-kindness (Fr. bonte) in the work of redemption. The holy city of the Apocalypse is an exhibition of the loving-kindness or glory of God in all its particulars ; it is an exhibition in detail of the merciful purpose of God to save by sovereign grace. This merciful purpose of God is bis glory, of which glory Christ is the manifestation in the first instance, and the economy of grace, as identic with Christ, the further exhibition, under the figure of the new Jerusalem.
$ 524. Corresponding with this view, we have in the preceding pages assumed the apocalyptic Jerusalem to be a representation or vision of the economy of redemption; a true picture, as opposed to that afforded by the harlot city, (Babylon,) which we denominate a false picture. The economy
of redemption in truth is the economy of grace; the economy of grace is God's purpose to save by grace; the purpose of God is the mind, fiat, determination of the Supreme Being ; it is the word of God: and this Word, it is declared, was made fesh, and manifested on earth in the person of Christ, the Lamb of God. The new Jerusalem, therefore, both as identic with the Lamb, and as an exhibition of the economy (diafijxn) or purpose of sovereign grace, is a vision or picture in detail of the word of God; representing the goodness or loving-kindness involved in that word or purpose, and which goodness constitutes the glory of the Deity ; this glory being exhibited in the economy of redemption, through the instrumentality of Jesus Christ. As it is said of the holy city, the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.
The Lamb and the New Jerusalem of the Apocalypse are figures, but Christ and the economy of grace (the Word) are realities. We do not say, therefore, of the figures, that they are identic with the realities; but the one is as much identic with the other as the appearance of a man's face in the
* Χαρακτήρα της υποστάσεως αυτού. The representation of the divine principle itself.