Imágenes de páginas

and offices and character of the Son of God, we think the purpose of the book, as announced in its title, the revelation or unveiling of Jesus Christ, must be considered fully accomplished; the proposition laid down at the commencement of the work, “ Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him," being also in what we apprehend to be the sense intended) fully sustained.

He comes, to the spiritual understanding, in the symbolical and figurative representations of this Apocalypse. It is here that every eye may see him ; and such as he is represented here, he is seen by every one passing into that state of existence where the understanding must be opened to the knowledge of all mysteries and of all truth. In this Apocalypse Jesus comes, or is manifested, as the great propitiatory sacrifice, (the Lamb,) overcoming the powers of legal accusation ; for which reason, as we apprehend, those powers are said to wail becaute of bim. He comes as the sovereign purpose, (the Word,) saving through the imputation of his own righteousness, (his own right arm,) manisesting his victory over every pretension of human merit; for this reason, also, the tribes or kindreds of the earth (the elements of self-righteousness) mourn because of him. Their glory is departed. To God the Saviour, the Lord our righteousness, alone belongs the whole glory of the work of redemption, as well as of the salvation of every redeemed sinner.

The erroneous views to be combated, as we have remarked, ($ 552,) are those tending to create the belief that the disciple is to overcome the powers of condemnation by some works or merits of his own. To correct this error the manifestation is made, that there is but one overcoming principle or power; to wit, the divine purpose of sovereign grace-the will, fiat, or word of God—this one overcoming power being identic with “the Word made flesh,” and identic also with God the Father three manifestations of

“ Speak the word only," said the believing centurion to Jesus, " and my servant shall be healed.”

So the disciple may say to his SOVEREIGN LORD,“ Speak but the word, and my soul is saved." Let that be the divine purpose, the decision of sovereign grace, and it is enough. The revelation made by Jesus Christ of himself, while in the flesh, exhibits the process by which this gracious purpose is carried into effect; showing how God may be just, and yet justify the objects of his mercy. The revela tion which Jesus makes of himself under the figure of the bride or holy city shows the abundance and freeness of this merciful provision ; but the revelation which he makes of himself in the person of the WORD shows the power by which, and the principle upon which, the whole work is effected to be the irresistible fiat of sovereign grace alone. It is by the development of this truth—by the Word revealed that the self-righteous errors represented by the beast and false prophet, and their forces, are overcome, (Rev. xix. 11-21.) It is by the revelation of the

one God.

same truth—the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, (Rev. xxi. 2, 10,) that the legal adversaries, Satan and the assailants of the beloved city, are destroyed; the fire from God out of heaven devouring them all, (Heb. x. 27.) It is by the same revealed truth (the fire of the Word) that the pretensions of the mixed system are also destroyed, Rev. xvii. 16, and xviii. 8; and it is to the same divine revelation, we apprehend, that allusion is made in the Old Testament, in the descriptions given of the coming or manifestation of JEHOVAH himself, (Ps. 1. 2, 3, xcvii. 3, 4; Dan. vii. 9, 10.)

$ 560. Such is the illustration afforded by this Apocalypse of the truth as it is in Jesus :the word of salvation ; God's purpose of sovereign grace, the mystery hid from ages ; shadowed forth in the Old Testament; exemplified in the life and actions of the blessed Redeemer, as narrated by the evangelists ; didactically set forth in his preaching, and in the writings of his apostles ; and finally unfolded in the pictorial vision with which the beloved disciple was so remarkably favoured.

The Spirit and the bride say, Come. The whole bearing of this Apocalypse is to exhibit Christ as the only and the all-sufficient Saviour; to invite the sinner to lay hold on the hope set before him ; to show him the folly of depending on any merit or righteousness of his own; and to show him that, while his only hope is in the work of salvation freely wrought for him, the design of this work, and of its revelation, is not to exalt man, but to glorify God; to manifest that to God, the Redeemer as well as the Creator, alone redounds all the honour, and praise, and glory, resulting from the salvation of the disciple; consequently, to the same God and Saviour the eternal gratitude and self-devotion of the individual saved is due, even as his reasonable service; as it is said, (Ez. xi. 19,) A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ;—this new heart and new spirit consisting, we believe, in that grateful motive of conduct which must result from a correct knowledge and a just appreciation of the work of salvation by sovereign grace; a motive of conduct, a grateful love, which it is plain must endure for ever in that state where the alternate suggestions of hope and fear can no longer operate upon the mind.



There still remains a difficulty in defining the name or title to be ascertained from the nuniber of the beast, and until this difficulty is removed we shall be sersible that that test is wanting, which, as we have suggested, (§ 316,) may be intended to indicate the correctness of the interpretation given to the history of this mysterious character. Our apprehension, as we expressed it, was, that the principle symbolized by the beast, must be first found from what is said of his character and history, and by these we were to be guided in our use of the number. According to the commonly received idea, we have been accustomed to think that the name sought for was to be ascertained by giving to each letter composing it the value represented by such letter, in the ancient mode of arithmetical calculation. It is only since the conclusion of this analysis, and since committing our remarks upon the last chapter to the press, that a different use of this number has been presented to our minds. Such as it is, we submit it to the consideration of those taking an interest in the subject; leaving them to apply the proposed interpretation of the name to the thoughts previously put forth, which it would be now too late for us to reconsider or to modify.

“ Here is wisdom :" it is said, “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and the number of him (or of it) is six hundred and sixty-six,” (x & 5.)

We do not take this term count in an ordinary sense, (§ 315,) nor do we suppose the term man to be intended to designate literally an individual of the human species, nor the term name to express literally a proper name. There is no more occasion to be literal in the consideration of this passage, than in that of any other portion of the Apocalypse; no more occasion to give a literal construction to the term man, than to that of beast. The allusion of the term count is apparently to a superstitious notion of the people of the East, and, perhaps, of the whole known world, in the time of the apostles, that certain hidden things were to be discovered by a mystic combination of numbers. Here, then, it is said, is true wisdom, as distinguished from these vain pretensions. Here is a number having an important meaning attached to it. Let him that really possesses an understanding of sacred mysteries count the number, or divine from the number, the name or title of the thing designated by it; for it is the name of something represented as a man, or as a rational being.

The number in question (six hundred and sixty-six) is expressed in Greek by three letters of the alphabet: % six hundred, & sixty, s six. Let us suppose these letters to be the initials of certain names. As it was common with the ancients, in their inscriptions upon coins, medals, monuments, &c., to indicate names of distinguished characters by initial letters, and sometimes by an additional letter, where the initial might be considered insufficient, as C. Caius, Cn. Cneus.

The Greek letter x (ch) is the initial of Xpiotós, (Christ.) The letter & is the initial of Evlov, (wood or tree,) figuratively put sometimes in the New Testament for the cross; and in Revelations applied to the tree of life, the spiritual cross. The last

letter, s, is equivalent to st; but whether as an s or as an st, it is the initial of the word Satanas, Satan, or the adversary, (§ 444.) Taking the two first names in the genitive, and the last in the nominative, we have the following appellation, name, or title: XootoŬ Eulov gatavās, the adversary of the cross of Christ, a character corresponding with that of certain enemies of the truth described by Paul, Phil. iii. 19: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame; who mind earthly things:"--pretended disciples, apparently, whose views in matters of faith must be the opposite of those set forth by the apostle in the former part of the chapter from which this description is quoted.

Any doctrine, or principle of doctrine, tending to represent the intervention of a divine propitiation as unnecessary; or militating with a belief and trust in the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus, as the only hope of salvation, must be an adversary of the cross of Christ. Of this character, we consider every principle of self-righteousness; every doctrine tending to exalt self, or to represent man as the author of his own salvation. No doctrine, or principle of doctrine, accordingly, can be admitted into the service of self, or form a constituent part of the system of self-dependence, unless it possess this leading feature of hostility to the atoning sacrifice and justifying righteousness of the Son of God. Such, we may suppose, figuratively speaking, to have been the opinion of the false prophet; for which reason he caused every subject of the beast to receive in his forehead, or in his hand, the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name; that is, the character of selfishness, the name of self, or the impress (the number) of an adversary of the cross of Christ ;-these three marks being in fact so many equivalents—characteristic features of the same anti-Christian principles.

The doc ines of truth, on the other hand, possess especially the characteristic of glorifying God alone, giving to him the glory due unto his name; bearing in their foreheads the seal or mark of the name ($ 517) of the Father of the Lamb.



HAVING considered the ten-horned beast of the Apocalypse identic with the man of sin, described by Paul, it appears expedient to exhibit the train of reasoning, through the instrumentality of which our own views have been formed upon the subject. For this purpose, the following analytic sketch is subjoined :

2 THEs. ii. 3-12.

Let no man deceive you by any means: Mή τις υμάς εξαπατήση κατά μηδένα for (that day shall not come, except there τρόπον· ότι, εάν μή έλθη η αποστασία come a falling away first, and that man πρώτος και αποκαλυφθη ο άνθρωπος της of ein be revealed, the son of perdition; αμαρτίας, ο υιός της απωλείας και αντικείwho opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worship- μενος και υπεραιρόμενος επί πάντα λεγόped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the μενον θεόν ή σέβασμα, ώςτε αυτόν εις τον temple of God, showing himself that he is ναός του θεού [ως θεόν] καθίσαι, αποGod. Remember ye not, that, when I δεικνύντα εαυτόν, ότι έστι θεός. Ου μνηwas yet with you, I told you these things? μονεύετε, ότι έτι ών προς εμάς ταύτα ελε And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. Fo: γον υμίν ; Και νύν το κατέχον οίδατε, εις the mystery of iniquity doth already work: το αποκαλυφθήναι αυτόν εν τω εαυτού καιonly he who now letteth (will let,) until φω. Το γαρ μυστήριον ήδη ενεργείται της he be taken out of the way. And then ανομίας, μόνον ο κατέχων άρτι έως εκ μέσου shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the γένηται. Και τότε αποκαλυφθήσεται ο άνLord shall consume with the spirit of his oμος, ον ο κύριος Ιησούς αναλώσει το πνεύmouth, and shall destroy with the bright- ματι του στόματος αυτού και καταργήσει ness of his coming. (Éven him,) whose coming is after the working of Satan, with τη επιφανεία της παρουσίας αυτού του εσall power, and signs, and lying Wonders, τιν η παρουσία κατ' ενέργειας του σατανά and with all deceivableness or unright” εν πάση δυνάμει και σημείους και τερασι eousness in them that perish; because ψεύδους και εν πάση απάτη της αδικίας they received not the love of the truth, εν τοις απολλυμένοις, ανθ' ών της αγάπης that they might be saved. And for this της αληθείας ούκ εδέξαντο εις το σωθήναι cause God shall send them strong delu- αυτούς. Και διά τούτο πέμψει αυτούς και είon, that they should believe a lies that θεός ενέργειας πλάνης, εις το πιστεύσαι αιthey all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unright- τους τα ψεύδει, ένα κριθώσι πάντες οι μη eousness.

πιστεύσαντες τη αληθεία, αλλ' ευδοκήσαντες

εν τη αδικία. . In the preceding chapter of this epistle, the apostle had given a vivid description of the coming of the Lord, from the terms of which it was very

« AnteriorContinuar »