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that source, (Jesus,) “ Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him,” &c.; leaving the inference to be fairly drawn, that the coming spoken of consists in the unveiling now about to be made ; that it is in the symbolical revelation here made that Jesus is to be seen coming as in the clouds, ($ 17.) It is on account, too, of this revelation, apparently, that certain legal elements and principles of self-righteousness are represented as mourning or wailing-tribes of the earth, opposites of the sealed ones represented by the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the twelve chosen tribes. This, then, is the general proposition of the work :—that the unveiling of Jesus Christ about to be made is something equivalent or analogous to his coming in the clouds; and that its nature or tendency is such as to cause, figuratively speaking, the mourning or lamentation of all elements of doctrine opposed to the truth of salvation as it is revealed in him.

The vision commences with what John saw in spirit, witnessing the day of the Lord, ($ 24,) or its equivalent. Here Jesus is first seen as one like unto the Son of man. To the apostle who had been literally the bosom companion of the Son of man, this appearance was sufficient to identify the form he saw with that of his beloved Master. He had been his companion while on earth, he had seen him on the cross, he had seen him in the grave, he had seen him risen from the dead, and he now saw him clothed with a perfect and complete righteousness of his own-girt about with truth, the Ancient of days, the possessor of the sword of the Spirit, and of the keys of the mystery of death and hell, and the supreme overseer of the churches.

In the introductory addresses dictated to the apostle, the reason is given for the revelation about to be made. Certain errors exist, calling for a peculiar manifestation of truth—a manifestation spoken of by Christ as his coming quickly or suddenly. The churches, or their angels, are to be supposed ignorant of the predetermined purpose of the Lord to come, or of his actual coming. This event is therefore spoken of to them as something contingent: “Repent, and do thy first works, or else I will come.” The speaker, however, knew that they would not repent—that the errors in question would demand the threatened correction ; consequently, with him there is no uncertainty as to the actual taking place of this coming. The form of the announcement, however, serves the purpose of indicating the design of the advent, viz., that of correcting certain errors of doctrine; and it is important for us to keep this design in view, that we may better understand the revelation about to be made. The erroneous views to be corrected we suppose to be those of a self-righteous character, tending to create the belief that man (the sinner) is to overcome the requisitions of the law. by some works, merits or propitiation of his own. To correct this misapprehension, the principle or power really overcoming, and upon which alone dependence is to be placed, is set forth as that to which certain very peculiar promises are made ; in order, perhaps, that we may recognize the principle by understanding the fulfilment of the promises made to it.

Here is another stage in the process of revelation. We are introduced to a new character, The Overcoming, (o rızõv, or, as we have proposed to denominate it, ó lóyos ó vixõv,) and we are somewhat at a loss to conceive what part this overcoming principle can take in the unveiling of the anointed Saviour. We are, however, to keep the personification in mind throughout the remainder of the vision, watching its progress, and judging finally of the sense in which the promises made to it may be said to be fulfilled.

$ 553. The fourth chapter affords an exhibition of the attributes of the Deity, such as we may suppose them to appear prior to the revelation of the plan of salvation. The elements of truth peculiar to that plan exist, but they are not yet revealed. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders may be considered the depositaries of this secret; but the mystery itself

, in the nature of the case, can be made known only through a certain instrumentality. This mystery (the divine plan of redemption, or perhaps the plan of divine government) is represented (chap. v.) as a sealed book in the right hand of the Most High. The only instrumentality by which it can be unfolded is the propitiatory power peculiar to the plan : the Lamb, as it had been slain, alone is able to open the book. Here we advance another important step in the unveiling of Christ : knowing him to be the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, we recognize him in the power now prevailing, or overcoming, to open the book. Having arrived at this point, we are to bear in mind that whatever is revealed or unveiled concerning the Lamb is a revelation of Jesus Christ himself.

The first revelation made by the Lamb, in opening the sealed book, (chap. vi.) is that of a power going forth overcoming and to overcome, or that he may overcome, (vxv xai iva rizí,) and, apparently, in order that he

may obtain the reward promised to him that overcometh. Thus far, however, the combatant is seen to have received only the crown promised the overcoming in the epistle to the church of Pergamos ;—the white horse upon which he is mounted, and the bow with which he is armed—the sustaining power of divine righteousness and the overruling power of the covenant of grace, (the promise of mercy, $ 147,)-indicating the means by which his final victory is to be obtained.

We seem to lose sight of this Conqueror for a great part of the subsequent narrative, but we leave him in the midst of a victorious career ; operations are continued, although presented to us under different figures, and he again appears to manifest his triumphant progress at the close of the revelation.

The opening of the three subsequent seals exhibits the existence of three other powers destined to come into collision with the rider of the white horse.


The fiery-red colour of the horse of him to whom the great sword is given, corresponds with the colour of the great red dragon, the antagonist of Michael. The mercenary character of the rider of the black horse calls to mind the commercial spirit of Babylon; and Death and Hell (sustained by the green horse) are expressly mentioned as terminating their career on the exhibition of the great white throne. We may presume, therefore, all three of these combatants to be understood as operating throughout the vision, till overcome by the rider of the white horse: indeed, their functions may not differ from those of the three spirits, unclean as frogs, ($ 365,) out of the mouths of the dragon, of the beast, and of the false prophet, engaged in summoning the kings of the earth to the great battle of Armageddon.

The opening of the fisth seal shows the state of suspense in which certain elements of truth are held pending the contest finally to result in the manifestation of their correctness.

The opening of the sixth seal reveals the consternation figuratively incident to all principles of error, or of self-righteous doctrine, in consequence of the unfolding of this great mystery of salvation : at the same time it exhibits (chap. vii.) the opposite figurative rejoicing of the principles of truth in anticipation of the same development; while it shows (by what is related of the four angels holding the four winds of the earıh) the true cause of the prevalence of error in the earthly system, viz., a privation of the spiritual sense of the written word.

The opening of these six seals affords a general view of the position of things—a glance at the whole field of action, the different elements in operation, their beginning or going forth, and their end; for we suppose the close of the sixth and the close of the seventh chapters to present scenes parallel, as to the progress of the narrative, with the state of things depicted at the conclusion of the twentieth and in the former part of the twenty-first chapters.

$ 554. The opening of the seventh seal (chap. viii.) affords a new series of representations; not the exhibition of new things, but further particulars of what has been already revealed in substance.

The day of the wrath of the Lamb has been already spoken of as come; we are now 10 learn in what the exhibition of this wrath consists : this knowledge comes to us as the results of the voices or sounds (revelations, of seven trumpets. Various self-righteous and self-justifying principles, figuratively spoken of as material objects, are represented as exposed to certain tests showing their true character. The trees and grass of the earth are burned up; pretensions lo human merit wither for want of root; the sea becomes blood, and human means of preservation from the vindictive wrath represented by the sea (ships) are proved to be worthless. Fountains and rivers (human means of atonement) become bitter, incapable alike of promoting purification or of preserving life: the sun, moon, and stars of this first heaven are darkened; no sources of righteousness are now exhibited: the bottomless pit system (chap. ix.) is seen to send forth no principles but such as are calculated to torment, (torture,) as with a scorpion's sting, all pretensions of merit coming in contact with them. The Euphratean system of atonement (the great river in human apprehension) is seen to be even of a more deadly character, its principles resulting in the condemnation of those trusting to it as a means of eternal life—the horsemen killing where the scorpion-locusts only hurt or tortured. ment, is to be found only in the earthly exhibition of that government. Even here the power of the adversary is manifested to predominate only so long as the true exhibition of the economy of grace is lost sight of. So long as the witnesses are prophesying in sackcloth, and the woman which bore the man-child is secluded in the wilderness, so long the dragon is enabled to make war with the remnant of her seed. But the dragon does not carry on this war in his own person; he does not appear on earth in his proper character ; he gives his power to a certain blasphemous principle represented (chap. xiii.) as a beast originating from the sea or abyss; and this beast exercises his influence through the instrumentality of a certain other principle, denominated the false prophet. The secret is here unfolded, that the legal adversary (Satan) is actually to be found in the blasphemous principle to which we have given the appellation of self, and that the power of this self, and consequently of the adversary, is sustained by a misconstruction or false interpretation of the language of revelation. We do not suppose the reign of this beast to depict a different error, or a different system of error, from that previously alluded to; it only constitutes a new and more detailed illustration of the course and power of the same errors.

The six first trumpets thus exhibit, in a summary manner, the downfall of the system of error; each of them representing the same process by different figures, or in a different light. The last of the six affords, also, in the narrative of the two witnesses, (chap. xi.,) a kind of historical epitome of the progress of error, from its most triumphant stage to its destruction : from the possession of the outer court of the temple and of the holy city by the Gentiles, and the destroying of these witnesses by the beast from the pit, to their final glorification, and the shock given to the false system represented by the great city, as by an earthquake. As a result of the revelation of the sixth trumpet we learn, also, as a rule of interpretation, from the mighty angel, (chap. x.,) that time is not to be taken into consideration; and, comparing the measures of time mentioned in the eleventh chapter with those afterwards met with, we perceive this rule of time no longer to be applied to the events of the sixth trumpet, as well as to those subsequently related. From the same mighty angel we receive the intimation of the twofold sense of the language of revelation, illustrated by the sweet and bitter taste of the little book.

$ 555. We now come to the voice of the seventh or last trumpet, the sounding of which gives occasion to a choral action of praise and thanksgiving of peouliar solemnity: it constitutes, also, the last of the three woes denounced upon the inhabiters of the earth, and seems to be the revelation designed to be most peculiarly instrumental in the destruction of error and in the final manifestation of truth. Still this trumpet is not to be taken as announcing occurrences subsequent to those already detailed: on the contrary, it goes back even to a revelation of the divine counsels prior to the events already unfolded ; its purport may therefore be considered an amplification and more extended view, or more detailed exhibition, of the subjects revealed in the preceding chapters.

The war in heaven, (chap. xii.,) with which the revelation of this trumpet commences, teaches us the difficulty existing in the nature of things in reconciling the principles of divine justice with those of mercy, the difficulty in overcoming the power of the legal adversary (the dragon) by that of the intercessor, (Michael.) The propitiatory principle, (the blood of the Lamb,) however, secures the ascendency to the latter, and the accusing spirit, ejected from the heavenly view of the divine plan of gover

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The mind having been turned aside for a short interval, to contemplate the particulars of the beast and false prophet, the narrative is again resumed in the description of the Lamb upon Mount Zion, (chap. xiv ;) in the annunciations of the preaching of the gospel, of the fall of Babylon, and of the visitation of wrath upon the worshippers of the beast; with a description of the appearance of the Son of man upon a white cloud, of the harvest, and of the vintage : Jesus Christ being revealed upon the white cloud in the same character as he appeared amidst the golden candlesticks. Immediately upon this we have the account (chaps. xv. and xvi.) of the pouring out of the vials of wrath ; operations, it may be presumed, concurrent if not identic with those of the harvest and vintage-different illustrations of the same exercise of divine power in terminating the reign or influence of error by the exhibition of truth : with this difference, that whereas the preceding revelation consisted more especially in the application of the principle of divine justice, as a test of the erroneous doctrines to which it was applied ; the effusion of the vials of wrath represents the application of the true principle of divine worship ($ 356) as a test in the exhibition of the same or similar errors.

$ 556. The result of the pouring out of the sixth vial of wrath, the preparation for the battle of Armageddon, (Rev. xvi. 14,) indicates the immediate connection between this part of the narration and the account subsequently given (chap. xix.) of the victory obtained by the Rider of the white horse over the beast and his forces. The Conqueror going forth at the opening of the first seal, “overcoming, and that he might overcome," s not indeed so termed here, but the fact sets him forth as the overcoming,


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