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mirror is the same as the man's face. The Lamb, the holy city, and the Rider of the white horse, as figures, are identic ; and the Supreme Being, Christ, and the divine purpose, (word,) are identic, as realities. He that makes all things new is manifest in the Lamb, and the Lamb is manifest in the bride ; so God is manifest in Christ, and Christ is manifest in the economy of redemption—the divine purpose or word ;—God the Father, the Son, and the Word, being so many manifestations of the same Saviour.
In the Old Testament writings, God is expressly declared to be the only Saviour, and the part taken by the Son in the work of redemption, is but dimly shadowed forth. In the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles of the New Testament, Christ is expressly declared to be the Redeemer, and his name is said to be the only name wherewith we can be saved. In the Apocalypse the overcoming principle (ó vix@v) is brought forward as the conqueror and inheritor of all things. This overcoming principle (the purpose of sovereign grace) we apprehend to be revealed under the figure of the Word of God or Conqueror in the narrative portion of the book of Revelation, and under the figure of the bride or wife in the last or descriptive portion of the same book. At the same time, we have not here an exhibition of three Saviours, or three powers of salvation ; we have only the representation of the same Saviour, the same saving power, brought home to our understandings, and presented for the contemplation of our faith in three different ways—as the King of kings, the Faithful and True, and the Word of God, were all revealed in the person of him who had trodden the wine-press alone, (Rev. xix. 11-16.) Christ while on earth revealed the divine purpose of grace (the Word of God) in all he did and taught and suffered—Christ, in the Apocalypse, reveals the same Word or purpose in the particulars given of the Conqueror, and in the illustrations afforded by all that is said of the new Jerusalem, or bride. In the first instance, the truth as it is in Jesus may be said to have been veiled in the fesh—in the last, (the apocalyptic revelation,) it is unveiled in the spirit, and, thus spiritually understood, it is an unveiling of Christ himself.
$ 525. This unveiling of Christ, spiritually understood, may be considered, therefore, in a certain degree, a fulfilment of the promised coming of the Comforter, (the Holy Spirit, of whom it was said to the disciples of Jesus, “ He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,” John xiv. 27 ;) the testimony borne by the Comforter being collateral with that to be borne by the apostles, as we gather from the assurance subsequently given : “He shall testify concerning me, and ye also shall testify”—unotugrozi nepà fuoũ xai vụeis då uaprvorīte (John xv. 26, 27)—the Comforter bearing no other testimony than that contained in the whole volume of inspiration.
Of this Comforter (Paraclete*) it is also said, “ He shall reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment,” (John xvi. 8,) or as we think the expression might be understood, He shall confute the world concerning sin, and concerning justification, and concerning condemnationελέγζει τον κόσμον περί αμαρτίας και δικαιοσύνης και περί κρίσεως. The teachings of the Spirit will convince those of sin who believe themselves to be without sin. It will convince the self-righteous of the necessity of justification, through an imputed righteousness; and it will show the certainty of condemnation where this means of salvation is wanting.
The world here spoken of (xóquos) must be that which Jesus says, in the same connexion, he has overcome, (John xvi. 33.) We suppose it to be the arrangement of principles placing the disciple in a position of dependence upon his own merits. The word rendered reprove, as above, signifies primarily “to confute,” to put to shame, (Rob. Lex.) Accordingly, the operation of this revelation by the Holy Spirit is to confute, or put to shame the pretensions of this self-righteous economy, figuratively termed the world: this confutation of the pretensions of the world by the Holy Spirit being equivalent to the overcoming of the world by Jesus Christ. It is not merely a convincing of the thoughtless and profane and dissolute, who are literally living without God and without hope, that they are sinners; an assertion which for the most part they would not pretend to deny ; but it is a convincing of those trusting to their own merits, who go about to establish their own righteousness, that they are especially the sinners in contemplation—that even with them, in their position out of Christ, sin lieth at the door. This is pre-eminently the work to be accomplished: Hoc opus, hic labor est.
To effect this work, the just sense of the written word of revelation is requisite, and for the attainment of this just sense, the illustrations of the Apocalypse are given. A large portion of these illustrations, as we have seen, are applied to the elucidation of errors and erroneous systems opposed to the great truth of salvation by sovereign grace; these errors having been overcome, the book closes with an exhibition of the truth itself—the economy of grace illustrated by all the particulars here given of the heavenly Jerusalem. This exhibition, showing as it does, God's purpose (Word) to be a purpose of mercy, comes to the desponding disciple certainly as a comforter. Its language is, 'Be of good cheer; the sovereign grace of God is sufficient for thee. Behold the ample provision made for thy salvation :' while coming as it does immediately from God out of heaven, setting forth a
llapdxlntos, one who has been called to give assistance; an intercessor, an advocate in a court of justice, (Donnegan.)
way of redemption in which human merit can have no part, its direct tendency must be to confute the pretensions of every self-righteous system, and 10 point out the only path—the strait and narrow way to eternal life—the gate of pearl inestimably precious.
The view here taken of what is represented by this spiritual city, bride, or wife, corresponds with our remarks in assigning a reason for the appellation beloved, given to the besieged city, ($ 453.) God's purpose
grace and mercy is his beloved purpose, and this purpose, or word, personated in Christ, is his beloved offspring. For the same reason, perhaps, the apostle bearing the name of the grace of the Lord, (John,) was distinguished as the disciple whom Jesus loved; although he also loved them all even unto the end, (John xiii. 1.) The saine construction enables us to understand why the Messiah of the Old Testament (the Christ of the New) is prophetically spoken of as the servant in whom the Lord delighteth, (Is. xlii. 1 ;) and why it is prophetically said of the exhibition of the economy of grace, restored (as we apprehend it to be in this Apocalypse) from its once perverted state, “ Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate, but thou shalt be called Hepzibah, and thy land Beulah, for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
V. 6, (continued.)- And the Lord God και κύριος ο θεός των πνευμάτων των of the holy prophets sent his angel το προφητών απέστειλε τον άγγελον αυτού δείshow unto his servants the things which ξαι τους δούλους αυτού, και δεί γενέσθαι εν must shortly be done.
$ 526. · And the Lord God of the holy prophets,' &c.; or, according to our edition of the Greek and others, the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets, which, for the reasons we have given, ($ 437,) may be equivalent to the declaration, “ And Jehovah of the spirits of the prophets hath sent,” &c. That is, the same Being who was spoken of by the prophets as Jehovah, and was contemplated in the spiritual sense of the prophecies as Jehovah, he has sent his angel or messenger. The difference may not be material, except that our mode of rendering this appellation calls up an association of ideas not usually accompanying the ordinary rendering. Without this, however, the consideration suggested by the text is very important. The God of the holy prophets is the God of the Apocalypse. The same Being makes the revelation in both cases. The same spirit of inspiration which dictated the writings of Moses and the prophets, dictated also that of
the Apostle John. As this spirit is a spirit of truth, pre-eminently so, alike incapable of falsehood, error, or mistake, it follows that both productions must be considered the emanation of the same infallible mind. They must coincide in the testimony, and where the circumstances are similar, they must be susceptible of a like construction. The language of vision in the Old Testament, is the language of vision in the New. The economy of redemption shadowed forth in one, is the economy revealed and illustrated in the other. There must be, therefore, a consistency in the types, the figures, the doctrines. and principles of both. This we believe to be the case, however imperfect our mode of showing it may appear.
Sent his angel.”—The inspired messenger, having performed his promise of showing the apostle the bride, the Lamb's wife, now proceeds to gire an account of his authority for what he has done, and for the various explanations and declarations given by him throughout the exhibition, " to show to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass.
s." The expression in the Greek is precisely the same as that employed at the commencement of the book, (Rev. i. 1,) where the revelation of Jesus Christ is said to be that " which God gave unto him to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass ;" which things, it is added. he sent and signified by his angel to his servant John ;—the words come to pass and be done being the rendering of the same Greek words—or rather the words done and pass being both supplied, the original going no further than to say the things which are shortly or suddenly to be that is, to be revealed. This, then, is the angel commissioned to signify these things to the apostle, and what is here said to that effect may be considered a notice that the task of the messenger is now performed. He has signified the things which are to be suddenly, ($ 4,) that is, revealed, as we suppose. Whenever they are revealed to the spiritual understanding, the change of views produced will be suddenly brought about, as must be the change with every disciple in his transition to another state of existence; from a state where he sees darkly, to one where he sees even as he also is seen. The speaker may be also the angel who took the apostle first to the wilderness to see the harlot, and afterwards to the mountain to see the bride ; or this angel may be supposed to have left the apostle under the care of the heavenly conductor, accompanying him throughout all the scenes. This, in reality, may be of little consequence. This figure of angels we suppose to he employed in this mystic composition by way of adapting the narrative and scenery to the common apprehension of mankind. The revelation itself may be considered an angel, messenger, or message. If God pleases to reveal the truth to the understanding of a disciple, he has no occasion for the employment of an embodied messenger: the spirit of understanding is itself an angel of light, a messenger from God.
V. 7. Behold, I come quickly: blessed Και ιδού, έρχομαι ταχύ. μακάριος και την (is) he that keepeth the sayings of the ρών τους λόγους της προφητείας του βιβprophecy of this book.
λίου τούτου. . $ 527. “Behold I come,' &c.—The words, saith the Lord, seem to be understood here. The angel was already present, and would hardly speak of his own coming, although he might be so misunderstood. The words rendered shortly, at the close of the preceding verse, (év túysi,) and quickly in this verse, (ruyó,) are so pearly the same, that there seems to have been an intentional bearing of one upon the other. According to the Greek edition we copy, the two sentences should be connected also by the conjunction xai, (and ;) reading, " the things which are suddenly to be; and behold, I come suddenly ;" the coming of the Lord being represented as equivalent to the being done, or being revealed, of the things,—both referring to the same manifestation of truth, ($ 17.)
· Blessed (is) he that keepeth the sayings (roős hóyovs) of the prophecy of this book.'—The word rendered blessed, might perhaps be better rendered here, as elsewhere, happy. The keeping of these sayings is not the cause or means of salvation, but it is a source of happiness; as it is said, “ Blessed (happy) is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity ;" “ Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven;" “ Happy is he who hath the God of Jacob for his help.” This blessedness or happiness cannot be enjoyed without a knowledge of the truth, as the sinner, until he feels the assurance of his forgiveness, cannot feel the happiness resulting from his pardon. So we suppose the keeping of the sayings alluded to, to be equivalent to an understanding of all that is revealed in this book ; the understanding of all of the elements of the covenant of grace affording the same kind of happiness or blessedness as that arising from a sense of sins forgiven. As these words however are the language of vision, they may be supposed to apply to doctrinal elements, personified as disciples ; the elements consistent with the truth here revealed, or acting as stewards of this truth, being described as blessed.
The words of this declaration correspond so nearly with what is said at the commencement of the book, (Rev. i. 3,) that we cannot but consider it as marking the termination of the whole narrative—the beginning and the ending; the remaining verses (the present included) occupying the place of an application of the subject. If we contemplated the Apocalypse merely as a prophetic account of ecclesiastical and political transactions to take place in the history of this world, our idea of the happiness derived from keeping these sayings, in any sense, would be very limited ; but when we take the word prophecy to signify an interpretation of the mind or purpose of the Deity, ($ 69,) and consider that term in this place as referring to the divine purpose of grace and mercy, then we can easily conceive of a