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it to the exposition of the symbols before us, we find that they are used in addressing the angel of the church in Thyatira, who had permitted to remain in its communion certain vile and abominable persons, who should have been separated, and, if they repented not, cast out of the communion. To a church thus careless of sepa. rating the precious from the vile, to the minister of a church, soft and relenting, where he should have been firm and severe, Christ thus proposeth that knowledge of himself which he would have such ministers and such churches ever to bear in mind : “ These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass." I am inclined, therefore, to believe that this title taken towards a church into which much impurity had crept, denotes holiness, putting itself forth in the way of distinguishing between the vile and the precious, between the evil and the good; and not only distinguishing, but likewise bringing into great tribulation, and even destroying, in case they repent not. For to such extremities he declareth that he will proceed, verses 22 and 23 ; " by which,” saith he, “all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and the heart, and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
And this seems to me to afford the proper key to the two symbols ; “ his eyes like a flame of fire,” and “his feet like fine brass ;" both denoting holiness and purity. The eye like a flame of fire, signifies looks which cannot bear iniquity, but will consume it, as fire doth the chaff, and the stubble, and the wood,- looks before which nothing can stand that hath not been tried in the fire, and there purified of its dross. Thus also appeared he in the vision above referred to, unto the Prophet Daniel, when about to tell him of the long judgments and vexations with which Israel should be tried, until the time of the end. And in like guise appeareth he unto John, now that he is about to try his church with tribulation, and cast her into the furnace to be refined. It is that constant feature of our great Bishop, before which iniquity in his church should be scorched up. It is that aspect of his holiness, which, being present to us, will scatter and put to flight those impurities of the sense which ever arise to vex and trouble
We may not expect to be without these trials of the flesh; and therefore it is necessary that we should ever have before us these eyes like flames of fire, in order to dispel them. Look upon your Bishop as the holy one of God; let him ever be in your mind as the Son of God, whose eyes are like a flame of fire; and so you may expect to stand in all holiness, and to be filled with the fellowship of the same.
He was declared to be the Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness. He was the holy thing from his conception, which should be called the Son of God. Albeit he was of our very substance, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, and liable to all our sinless infirmities, and not to be known from a common man, in every respect; yet was there in him that Almighty Spirit of holiness which shewed itself at the resurrection, by changing the mortal into the immortal, the corruptible into the incorruptible. And in like manner is he revealed in the Spirit to every one of his children in whom there is a spirit of holiness, which, like fire, doth feed upon the corruptions of the flesh, and consume them ; so that the true servant of the Lord delighteth well to contemplate his Bishop as having the eyes of fire; and every one to whom he hath given power to become a son of God hath likewise an eye of fire to search into and consume iniquity within himself and others. That this is the right interpretation of the “ eyes like unto a flame of fire," doth,
a I think, clearly appear from the words with which he doth conclude this Epistle :
- All the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and heart;" as it is written, Psalm vii. 9, “ The righteous God trieth the hearts and reins." And again, Psalm xi. 4: “ His eyes behold, his eye-lids try, the children of men."
After the same manner do I interpret the second symbol, by which our Bishop is set forth ; “ his feet like fine brass.” The word translated fine brass, is one to interpret which aright hath puzzled the learned. It is composed of two words; the one the common word for ass, and the other derived from a root which signifies to flow, or to be liquid, or to melt. The true meaning of the word therefore would be, brass made liquid, or melted. Now we find that the laver, and his foot (Exodus xxxviii. 8), in which the priests washed themselves, was made of the
looking glasses of the women which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Working upon this idea, it is a discovery not many years old, that if you take the finest brass, such as mirrors were wont to be made of, and cast it into the furnace, you produce another kind of brass, which will take on no rust, nor tarnish from exposure to water or weather of any kind. Of this the laver and his foot were made, to the end that, though filled with water, and ever exposed to the action of the air, they might never tarnish. And of this brass melted over again, I believe our Lord's feet are represented to be in the passage before us; and because it is never tarnished, it is, as I think, said that his feet were like unto melted brass, as if they burned in a furnace. Now what is the meaning of the symbol thus explained ? It is, to express his holiness, that when he should come to tread down his enemies, to tread the wicked under his feet, to tread the wine-press of the wrath of God, though he walked amongst defilement, and did tread upon abomination, yet were his feet not tarnished therewith, but remained in their original purity and brightness. This metal, (xalkoleßavov) brass molten, is chosen, because, as now appeareth, it taketh no tarnish from the pollution of the air, nor from the pollution of the earth, nor yet from the pollution of the sea. So also his eyes, though they look upon all iniquity, are not polluted therewith ; and his feet, though they tread down all iniquity, are not polluted therewith. The fire refineth all things, and is not polluted by them. They come in contact with it, and their impurities are expelled. Their dross is carried off, and the pure metal floweth out in a pure stream. So likewise these feet of brass trample upon the lion, and the adder, and the young lion ; upon the mire and the clay, and the mass of rottenness, upon the devil, upon the grave, upon corruption ; but are never defiled by any of them. This is the mystery of the Son of God dwelling in flesh of sin, dwelling there in the days of his flesh, looking into its vileness from the centre of the soul within ; looking upon it with eyes of fire, which did expel and consume the sin within it, labouring in the midst of it, as the Holy Ghost 'saith, as one “ in a fearful pit, and in the miry clay.” But being the Son of God, endued with eyes of fire, and feet of untarnished brass, he looked upon it, and walked throughout all its polluted chambers, and was not polluted by it himself. Yea, he did cast it into death, as into a - refining furnace, and raise it thence again, holy and incorruptible. And as he abode in the days of his flesh, so now he abideth in the renewed whom he doth sanctify and purify, with those all-penetrating eyes of fire, and those incorruptible feet of brass, and so also abideth he in the church, as we shall see from considering his Epistle to the angel of Thyatira.
There is yet another confirmation of the interpretation given above of the eyes of fire, as denoting holy and penetrating insight into the hearts and reins of men, and inward secrets of actions; and I deem it a confirmation of the greater importance, as being derived from the Revelation itself. In the ivth chapter, at the 5th verse, the Holy Ghost is set forth under the symbol of seven lamps of fire, “ And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Now, in the 6th verse, vth chapter, the same seven Spirits of God are set forth as the seven eyes of the Lamb: seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."
These two passages being put together, shew us that the eyes of fire which are in the head of Christ, do denote that spirit of holiness which proceedeth from his humanity, even the Holy Ghost, who, in the greatness of his condescension, hath consented to become eyes to the Lamb of God, by means of which his manhood may be enabled to discern and to scorch up the iniquity of all the things which the Father would have redeemed and presented unto himself. Moreover, when Christ cometh forth out of heaven, in righteousness to judge and to make war (Rev. xix. 12), his eyes are as a flame of fire. This symbol being introduced into such a vision, which concerneth the destruction of Antichrist, and all who adhere to him, and in which these being no other than symbols of powerful majesty and destructive war, we may nothing doubt that the eyes of fire with which our Bishop pleaseth to present himself, are an emblem of that holy severity which visiteth transgression in his church, and will maintain holiness therein. I have one other remark to make upon the feet of brass, confirmatory of the interpretation which hath been given above, that it signifies down-treading of iniquity, without any stain derived unto himself from that most necessary exercise of his holiness. This confirmation is derived from the Prophecies of Micah (iv. 13), where the nations being gathered together with the foul and arrogant purpose of destroying Zion at the time of her pain and labour to bring forth, saying, “ Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion;" it is added, " But they know not the thoughts
; of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel, for they shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor : arise and thrash, o daughter of Zion! for I will make thy horns iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass, and thou shalt beat in pieces many people, and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.” This refers to the custom in the East of treading out the corn with the hoofs of oxen; and doth sig. nify that God would use his people in that day to thrash the nations, and tread out of them with severe strokes, the substance of his own glory, and of the world's after well-being. And to the end his people, the Jewish people, might be well accomplished for such an undertaking, he would make their horns, with which to push them and toss them, and scatter them, of iron which breaketh all things; and he would make their hoofs, with which they should trample them, of brass, that they might not be soon worn out with their inuch labour. To the same effect it is said, by the Prophet Malachi (iv. 2), that“ in the day when the Sun of Righteousness ariseth on the Jewish people with healing in his wings, they shall go forth from iheir capti. vity, and grow up as calves of the stall;" grow to be stately and powerful oxen; and then, saith he, “ Ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be as ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” But his people, in this great work of breaking the nations to pieces, are but, as it were, the battle-axe in the hand of the Lord ; who in that day shall put forth his power as an avenger, as it is written in the same figurative language, Isaiah lxii. 3: “ I have trodden the wine- -press alone, and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled on my garment, and I will stain all my raiment....... And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them