Imágenes de páginas

drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth;" here referring to the great action of the sixth chapter of the Apocalypse, where he comes with that stained raiment, to execute the direful purpose of God against the beast, and the kings of the whole world, who dare to defy God, and to make war with the Lamb. No doubt, therefore, I think, can remain upon the mind of any person that these symbols of the eyes of fire and feet of brass are rightly interpreted.

The next characteristic feature of our great ecclesiastical Head is expressed in these sublime words: “ His voice was as the sound of many waters;" so liquid, and so strong. The preceding features, as hath been said, are taken from the last of Daniel's visions ; where, as in the vision before us, the characteristic of his voice follows immediately that of his feet, but is given by quite another similitude : “ His feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude;" whereas in our vision it is, “ His feet like unto fine brass, and his voice as the sound of many waters.” Why is it that so sudden a transition is made from the vision of Daniel ? Because by this new feature God would claim for his Son identity with another great vision of the Old Testament, and put him in possession of another of his rights. That vision is the vision of the likeness of the glory of the God of Israel, which Ezekiel saw, whereof it is thus written (xliii. 2); “ And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and his voice was like the noise of many waters, and the earth shined with his glory; and it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar.” This is the only place in the Old Testament where the similitude of our text occurreth, and therefore there can remain no doubt, that to this our attention is solicited. Several times indeed in the Psalms and the Prophets, the tumultuous gatherings of the nations, against the Lord and his Christ, are compared to the waves and floods of the mighty deep, and to the rushings of many waters ; and the Lord's voice which stilleth them, and forceth them back to their caverns of silence, and restraineth their impotent rage, is set against them and de


clared to be mightier by far. But this is altogether a different use, not in the way of similitude, but in the way of contrast; not as the emblem of his voice, but as the emblem of the voice of the wicked. And like as there be two kinds of impression, the most opposite to one another, made by the rushing of mighty waters ; the one, the fearful commotion of the tempestuous and troubled sea, the stunning noise of many waterfalls around you, or the roaring violence of the impetuous stream, which are not fit similitudes for the majestic melodious mighty voice of God, but fit enough, yea, the fittest, for I have heard the like, to express the confusion and the turmoil of a thousand agitated, fearful, passionate minds; so is there another impression made upon the mind, and methinks it is the fullest that enters by the ear, the impression of a mighty river flowing in its strength between its silent banks,whose sound filleth the spaces around, and hath you, and possesseth you, wherever you stand, and whithersoever you look; and is in your ear more satisfying than any choral symphony; over your soul is more powerful and overawing, yet tranquillizing, than any melody, save that which it is intended to represent: for there is such a melody,and I have heard it likewise, the melody of ten thousand voices, lifted up in praise to God amidst the dales of my native land. To one who heareth from a small distance, this stream of multitudinous voices sweetly attuned to the praise of God, wafted along upon the well-pleased bosom of the evening gale, and reaching the ear haply at some sudden winding of the valley, it doth entrance the faculties of motion, of speaking, and suspend the vital act of breathing ; so sweet and so powerful it is, so liquid and so strong. O my dear native land, and ye worthy devout dwellers therein, how I rejoice to have been born of your stock, and to have been reared in the midst of your occupations! I would not part with the remembrance and associations of your open-field worship, and your hill-side sacraments, for all that I have since seen and heard of royal concerts and cathedral services, though with these I have likewise great sympathy, and have derived from them much pious enjoyment. Be not ashamed, O Scotland ! of that freedom in worshipping God, which was the salvation of our church in most perilous times..


I judge, therefore, that the similitude chosen to represent Christ, is taken from its being equal to the voice of a harmonious multitude; and this I have, from the use of it in the Apocalypse, twice over, to represent the voice of the church in heaven (Rev. xiv. 2); “ And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters..... And they sang as it were a new song, before the throne and before the four beasts, and before the elders." And again (xix. 6);

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God Omni. potent reigneth.” In both these cases, the voice like many waters proceedeth from the congregation and general assembly of the church of the first-born in heaven ; and in both cases, with the similitude of many waters is conjoined the similitude of thunderings. Not that these two are intended to express the same sound, but that the stream of the melody was at times burst in upon with thundering Alleluias, as in some of Handel's oratorios you have thunder bursts of the full chorus, every now and then in the midst of the stream of melody. Now if any one inquire why the voice of Christ and the voice of his glorified church should be set forth by the same similitude; I think I can give a satisfactory reason for this coincidence which occurreth not only in the Revelations, but also in Ezekiel i. 24, when, speaking of the cherubim, or four living creatures, and their wheels, which are a figure of the church, he saith, “I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech as the noise of an host.” The reason is, that as the voice of a man though guided and instructed by the head, is yet acted and performed by organs of the body, being therefore at once of the head and of the body, so the voice of Christ and the voice of his church, which is his body, are but one, and therefore must have the same similitude. In confirmation of this, the voices in the Apocalypse are made not to proceed from him that sat upon the throne, but from the throne itself (iv. 5): “ Out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings, and voices." Now within the circle of that throne was nothing but those cherubim, or living creatures (ver. 6); and when these living creatures speak, ii. 21),

at the opening of the successive seals, their voice is, as it were, the noise of thunder” (Rev. iv. 1). So likewise in Ezekiel, in that passage where the noise of their wings is compared to the voice of the Almighty; it is said (ver. 25), “it was from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood and had let down their wings. Now upon this firmament there was the likeness of the throne, and the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God, whose likeness is de. clared (Ezek. xliii. 2) to have been like the noise of many waters. Our idea, therefore, of the symbol is, that it is derived from the great multitude of those who utter the voice of Christ ; as it is written (Psalm lxviii. 11), “ The Lord gave the word, great was the company of those that published it.” It teacheth us the very great completeness and closeness of the symbol, that the church is the body of Christ. It teacheth us that he never speaketh, but through his numerous church; as it is written (Hosea

“ And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn and the wine, and they shall hear Jezreel." It signifies, that while other things are outward, the church is inward unto Christ, composing with him one organized frame, and acting with him one unanimous purpose. It signifieth that, as he, by his personal Godhead, hath the preeminence over all, we, by our oneness with his manhood, have the superiority of every other creature ; angel, arch. angel, and every name named in this world and in that wbich is to come. And because Christ doth thus honour his church to speak, to preach his mind to all creatures which have a being, and that church is the voice of a multitude : therefore it is, that the symbol of many waters is used to express the voice of Christ. And in confirmation of this interpretation of the symbol we have to adduce the authority of the Holy Ghost, who saith (Rev. xvii. 15): “ The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” which from their numerousness are compared to the numerous drops which compose the waters of the ocean; or, if you please, the waters of ] Christ the Universal Bishop-His Voice. 253 many confuent streams. Now the church in heaven is described (Rev. vii. 8) as a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and peoples, and tongues; and therefore their voice, wbich, as we hare seen, is like. wise the voice of Christ, answereth to the interpretation of the symbol of many waters.

So much for the substance and significance of the symbol, by which the voice of the Son of Man is expressed. And now let us further examine what light this note of identification between the persons of our vision and the glory of Ezekiel, doth cast upon both pas. sages. By comparing the expressions of Rev. xiv. 2, xix. 6, setting forth the church in heaven, with the expressions of Ezekiel i. 24, it will clearly appear that the four living creatures in Ezekiel are the same with the church in heaven; and that he above the firmament whose throne they upbear is surely no other than the Son of Man, is surely no other than the enthroned one of the next vision. Now, this is a conclusion of the utmost importance, inasmuch as it doth, first of all, determine what was the mean. ing of those cherubim which stood in the holy place over the mercy-seat, bearing upon their heads, and upon their bosoms, and upon their wings, the glory of the God of Israel. His throne, liis resting-place, which well he loveth, even his church out of mankind, with whom were his delights before the world was made ; elect in him before the foundation of the world; coming into manifestation the moment Adam fell, because then the mystery of God was ripe for that revelation. Election could no longer be concealed, and now became the palladium of the hopeful world. And symbolical of the high office of the church to be kings and priests, they stood and watched on Eden's walls to guard the tree of life ; God's wardens, God's watchmen, God's men of might and standard-bearers, foundations of his royal city, pillars of his holy temple ; not only possessors of Eden yet to be, and privileged of the tree of life, but likewise resisters of the evil for the foe's sake, that they might still the enemy and the avenger. Then when the Lord built unto himself a tabernacle, he gave them the holiest place of the tabernacle of the Most High, as his wings, as his body, as his organs of speech, there they stood upon the mercy-scat; and the aik conu


« AnteriorContinuar »