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(Numbers xxiv. 17 ;) so, 2 Peter ii. 19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” This day dawn we suppose to be the manifestation of the truth, and the rising of the day-star to be a figure equivalent to the exhibition of Jesus as “the Lord our righteousness," our light, and our salvation ; the owocópos or light-bearer of Peter being put for the dawn of a spiritual revelation.* Christ, at the time of writing this Epistle, had been already manifest on earth, and his truth was already being taught by the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world. But the spiritual understanding was still wanting ; Christians were yet to see Jesus, as the Sun of righteousness, even of their righteousness, and as such he here unfolds himself; corresponding with the construction we have elsewhere put upon the figure of light, ($ 504,) the glory of moral perfection. As it is said, (Ps. xcvii. 11,) Light is sown for the righteous; or, as we understand it, a righteousness is prepared or made for the justified (in Christ).
We had occasion to notice, ($ 83,) in the introductory Epistles, the promise of Jesus to the overcoming, ó rixõv, I will give him the morningstar, (Rev. ii. 28 ;) which assurance we have applied to an overcoming principle, considering it equivalent to the promise of a manifest identity with Christ. He is the Star, and he promises to give himself to the overcomingthat is, he promises identity : as he prays for his disciples, (John xvii. 22) that they may be one with him; that, in the sight of God, they may be ac counted identic with him. This promise we suppose to be now apocaly ptically fulfilled. The word of God overcame. The word of God is the purpose of God to save by imputed righteousness. This purpose of God is set forth at large under the figure of the New Jerusalem or bride. The bride or Lamb's wife is identic with the Lamb; the Lamb is Jesus, and Jesus is the morning-star; thus the word of God or economy of grace are identic with the star, and Jesus gives himself to, or identifies himself with, the purpose of sovereign grace—one is exhibited and seen in the other.
$ 539. “And the Spirit and the bride,' &c.—The apostle does not say I heard the Spirit and the bride say, Come; it is Jesus himself who is still the speaker. Having announced that he had in the preceding revelation
* The king of Babylon is also styled by the prophet (Is. xiv. 12) Lucifer, or.lightbearer ; and son of the morning, according to our common version, (Sept. ‘Ewocópos, or morning-bearer; and roui avatékhov, the early rising, or the twilight of the rising: “ How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning !) But this we suppose to be a sarcastic allusion to the presumptuous pretensions of the Babylonish monarch, who himself serves in prophecy as a figure corresponding with the sevenheaded beast of Revelation, and the man of sin in the Epistles; the Babylonish pretender claiming to be the morning-star, as the beast and the man of sin pretend to make themselves equal with God.
testified of the things of his kingdom, through the instrumentality of an angel, he next announces himself as the spiritual David, and the spiritual Morning Star; and having thus revealed himself, he now declares what the Spirit and the bride say—that is, he declares the use and purport of the preceding development, viz., that it is equivalent to an urgent invitation or exhortation, addressed to all who read it, to a participation in the means of redemption as represented.
The spirit here spoken of we suppose to be the spirit of this Apocaly pse. elsewhere (Eph, i. 17) termed “ the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ;" the spirit by which, or in which, John was enabled to witness the day of the Lord, ($ 24 ;) the spirit by which, or in which. the apostle beheld the heavenly scene described in the fourth chapter of the book, and indeed in all the subsequent chapters; the spirit by which. and in which, he was carried to the top of the mountain, and to the wilderness; the spirit explaining the nature of the blessedness enjoyed by iLose dying in the Lord, (Rev. xiv. 13 ;) the spirit, in fine, which all the seren churches were especially called upon to hear—what the spirit says being the spiritual meaning of what is said or represented. On this occasion the spirit is mentioned as uniting with the bride with one voice in giving the invitation. We are not told that the Spirit says, Come, and the bride says : Come; but the Spirit and the bride together say, Come. They together constitute the party giving the invitation.
The bride, of whom so much is said in the last two chapters, is noi mentioned in the preceding portion of the Apocalypse, except on one occasion, (Rev. xix. 7–9,) where she is said to have made herself ready for the marriage feast, ($ 425.) The Spirit, on the contrary, as we have seen, is to be recognized in all that is revealed; his first work having been the preparatory operation of setting forth the errors opposed to an understanding of the truth ; which preparation we may consider equivalent to the bride's making herself ready. His last work is that of setting forth the truth, in the spiritual understanding of all that is said of the bride or holy city; and this last, the New Jerusalem, is the bride ; so that it might have been said here, The Spirit and the New Jerusalem say, Come. The New Jerusalem consists of a collection of various symbolical figure
: illustrating the principal features of the divine economy of grace. The figures, however, alone would explain nothing : it is the spirit or spiritual upderstanding with the figures which affords the illustration; the two togethe: unite in exhibiting the plan of divine mercy, and thus, as with one roice. give the invitation to participate in that provision of mercy ;—the call being particularly addressed to those under the influence of erroneous views who are now besought to choose the only way of salvation; as it is said of true wisdom, (Prov. ix. 1-6,) She hath prepared her feast; she hath sent
forth her invitations ; she crieth upon the high places of the city, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled ; forsake the foolish (way) and live, and go in the way of understanding.
The Spirit and the bride in this revelation virtually say, Come ; as the cities of refuge, with their open gates and their guide-posts virtually said, Come, to the man-slayer in need of the asylum; the word, or sovereign purpose of God, (the city,) inviting to fly for refuge ; and this word, or purpose, identic as it is with Christ, giving its invitation by a figurative exhibition of itself, accompanied with a spiritual understanding. The Spirit and the New Jerusalem say, Come ; in other words, the economy of grace, unfolded to the spiritual understanding, says, “ Come, for all things are ready.” As a table, spread with rich dainties, virtually says to the beholder, Come; so the rich provision of divine mercy here displayed says to the disciple, in the language of the Psalmist, “ Come, taste and see that the Lord is good ; blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” A blind confidence in means of redemption vaguely set forth, is not required; the whole plan is exhibited, that the trust or confidence of the disciple may be won or gained by it. The lofty walls of the city, with their twelve garnished foundations, the pearly gates, the angelic guards, the golden streets, the endless day, the ample supply of living water, and the fruit and leaf of the tree of life, (together representing the whole body of written revelation upon the same subject,) all say, as with one voice, Come. This voice we suppose to be the voice of the Comforter, while the precious invitation corresponds also with that of Jesus himself: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are hea vy laden, and I will give you rest.”
$ 540. “And let him that heareth say, Come.'- It is not said, Let him that heareth, come, but let him say, Come; the language being still that of Jesus himself. He tells the hearer that the Spirit and the bride say, Come, which is equivalent to announcing his own invitation. Having done this, he directs the hearer what to say in his turn—“Let him that heareth say, Come.” This we must connect with the previously repeated declarations of Jesus of his coming quickly. The invitation of Jesus by the voice of the Spirit and the bride is addressed to the hearer; and the invitation which the hearer is instructed to give is addressed to Jesus, as he is here understood to announce his own coming : " Let him that heareth (understandeth) say, Come, Lord, come quickly.”
This, we think, is the easiest construction to be put upon the expression. But, instead of this, the hearer may be contemplated in the light of a messenger, to whoin a direction is given to communicate what is said to others; in which case the invitation of the hearer, like that of the Spirit and the bride, would be directed to disciples, and not to the Lord. The style of the Apocalypse, however, and its general construction as a composition, somewhat of a dramatic character, justifies, we think, the supposition that the language of the hearer is intended to be a response to that of the voice of the Spirit and the bride.
However this may be, the hearing in question is something more than a mere apprehension of words and phrases, whether communicated orally or in writing. It must apply to a certain recognition of the spiritual sense of what is thus communicated ; as it is said at the conclusion of each of the introductory addresses, ($ 46,) “ He that hath an ear to hear, let him bear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Corresponding with this, we may suppose he that hath an ear to hear having heard, he is now directed what to say ; that is, to say with the apostle, as at the close of this chapter, “ Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” The disciple, accordingly, after he has gone through with the testimony of Jesus, furnished in this revelation, may judge in some degree whether he has heard or not, in the apocalyptic sense of the term, by his disposition to obey the direction here given ; and by the readiness with which he can respond to the annunciation of the Saviour,“ Behold, I come quickly," (suddenly,) “ Even so, Lord, come.”
As we were before told that the marriage feast was come, (Rev. xix. 7,) and that the wife having received her nuptial array, had made herself ready; as her appearance was next described to be that of a wife adorned, or decorated, apparently for the feast, which we have supposed to be equivalent to a manifestation of the union; and as she here with the Spirit gives the invitation, Come, we may presume the feast thus anticipated to be now before
In connection with this figure, him that heareth may be supposed to occupy the place of the friend of the bridegroom ; such a friend presiding. according to the Hebrew custom, as a ruler of the feast, inviting and attending to the guests. Thus the direction given to the ruler of the feast to say. Come, is equivalent to a general notice that every thing is now ready; it remains only for the guests to take the places assigned them. Under this construction, all whose duty or privilege it is in any way to promulgate the truths of the gospel, may be said to exercise the functions of the friend of the bridegroom. They give the invitation, Come ; and they give it as the Spirit and the bride have given it here; that is, by setting forth the economy of grace itself. What is said of the teachers may be equally said of the doctrines taught : if they exhibit the divine purpose of redemption as a rich provision of sovereign mercy, their language is that of invitation, Come.
Contemplating this marriage feast, however, as a manifestation simply it will be sufficient for us to consider these invitations as designating the completion of that development of truth, which may be said to constitute the coming of the Lord.
$ 541. “And let him that is athirst come ;' or, let the thirsting come. -Not let him say, conie, but let him come ; precisely the same invitation as was given by Jesus himself when manifest in the flesh, (John vii. 37:) • If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." So Matt. v. 6.
“ Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The verb Supáo, to thirst, is to be understood in all these passages in the strongest sense of the term ; expressing not merely an inclination to drink, but a vehement desire, a famishing with thirst—an apprehension of perishing, if the means of quenching this thirst be not immediately supplied. So the adjective dívios, used metaphorically, signifies parched, arid, dry, (Donnegan.) In this sense the means of supplying the thirst alluded to in this passage comprehends the whole means of eternal life, that without which the sinner must perish forever. Of the two figures, hunger and thirst, the last is here used for both ; and the means of supplying this want may be considered equivalent to the supply of every want pertaining to the salvation of the soul. The case of the sufferer, in this spiritual sense, is analogous to that of the children of Israel in their way to the promised land: wandering in the wilderness, they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them; then they cried unto the Lord, and he led them by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation, (Ps.cvii. 5, 6.) Such a city, represented by the new Jerusalem, and all its abundant means of comfort and security, is now comprehended under the single symbol of the one indispensable aliment of life and cleanliness; and the right way, before symbolized by the city, is now spoken of as the way, or rather, as the act of coming to a never-failing spring.
* And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely ;'* or, the willing (the desiring) let him take, &c.—As we have said of thirsting, so we say of the term rendered will in this place ; it is not merely a nonrefusal, a mere assent or consent, but it is a desire, a wish. The verbs in both cases are employed in the active form, and we may say there is no merely passive idea to be associated with them-jénov signifying sometimes even eagerly, (as Æschyl. Choe. 791, quoted by Donnegan.) So the verb is used, Rev. xi. 5, 6, in the sense of seeking to accomplish a desired object.
This water of life we suppose to be a figure of all that is requisite for eternal happiness, all that is otherwise represented by the holy city; and this all we take to be comprehended in the atonement—the vicarious propitiation of the Son of God. A city paved with gold, the whole structure of which is garnished with diamonds and precious stones, must be of no value as a habitation, without a supply of water. So it is the river of the water of life, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb, which gives to the new Jerusalem its characteristic feature of a city to dwell in ; as it is also the propitiation of Christ which gives to the whole economy of grace its characteristic adaptation to the circumstances and wants of the disciple.
* The adverb swpeav, translated freely, is rendered, John xv. 25, without cause. It is from a noun, dword, signifying a gift or present; something freely granted by the donor, and wholly undeserved by the recipient.