« AnteriorContinuar »
in a Nazarite, is, as it is said I Cor. xi. 14, a shame to man; because man in this particular is an image or symbol of the Redeemer, bearing the same relation towards the woman that Christ bears towards his redeemed; for which reason also the disciple is to come boldly to the throne of grace without hair, uncovered—trusting to his'adoption in Him in whose name he comes. But if a man wear long hair, he places himself as a symbol in the position of a woman, or, figuratively speaking, he makes a woman of himself; an act of effeminacy to which there is in the mind of man an almost universal repugnance.
If the disciple, instead of coming boldly to the throne of grace, trusting in the name and merits of his Saviour, come in his own name, trusting in his own merits, he is as a man glorying in his own long hair-trusting in a righteousness of his own—in a covering emanating from his own strength. So Absalom gloried in his hair, which proved to be the instrument of his destruction.
As these locusts represent legal principles, so their hair or covering represents a legal righteousness, or that righteousness which the law requires. They exhibit this necessary covering as a standard under which they contend—a formidable equipment intimidating their adversaries. If these locusts contended on the side of the earthly system, we should consider their long hair a symbol of self-righteousness; but they contend against the earthly system of self-justification, and the hair of woman is a symbol of the legitimate and proper covering or veil—a legitimate and proper righteousness. Their exhibition of this hair, therefore, is a portion of their martial array, equivalent to their exhibition of the legal position—the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
And their teeth were as the teeth of lions.'-The lion we have assumed to be a figure of the element of justice, (§ 126.) The teeth of the lion may be said to be the power of justice, capable of destroying the criminal—the sinner; as, in the divine denunciation against a rebellious people, it is said, Deut. xxxii. 24, “ They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction. I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.”
As these legal elements of the pit thus showed the righteousness required by the law, so they exhibited the power and right of divine justice to exact the life of the sinner, to destroy where this righteousness is wanting; as it is said, Joel i. 6, “For a nation is come up upon my land, strong and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a young lion.” So the Psalmist, in allusion to the same action of legal elements exclaims, "Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth; break out the great teeth of the young lions ;” and Ps. cxxiv. 6, - Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.” All these passages confirm the supposition that the teeth of lions, such as possessed by these locust-principles, represent elements of divine justice, adverse indeed to the salvation of the sinner, but still more adverse to every pretension of that sinner to self-justification. In this contest the teeth of the lion remain unbroken: they are broken only by the power of sovereign grace—by that exercise of mercy wbich finds a ransom for the victim of justice.
Vs. 9, 10. And they had breast-plates, και είχον θώρακας ως θώρακας σιδηρούς, , as it were breast-plates of iron; and the xoù ń porn tūv rzegúyw avtūv ús fari sound of their wings (was) as the sound of chariots of many horses running 10 αρμάτων ίππων πολλών τρεχόντων εις πόbattle. And they had tails like unto ecor
λεμον. . Και έχουσιν οιράς ομοίας σκορpions, and there were stings in their tails: πίοις, και κέντρα ήν εν ταϊς ουραϊς αυτών, and their power (was) to hurt men five και η εξουσία αυτών αδικήσαι τους ανθρώmonths.
πους μήνας πέντε. . $ 215. “And they had breast-plates.'—Opat, armour for the body, covering the breast and back, (Rob. Lex. 309.) Old English, habergeon, a coat of mail, (Webster,) a complete covering for the trunk of the bodya cuirass.
* As it were breast-plates of iron.'—Iron is a metal proverbially distinguished in Scripture, as well as in common parlance, for its strength; it is however an earthy material. The breast-plate of the locust is not the breast-plate of imputed divine righteousness, (Eph. vi. 14.) It is a legal breast-plate—the righteousness required by the law from all who are under the law. The legal principle in its contest with the elements of self-justification has its strength in the rigid exactions of law; as if the accuser himself appealed to this principle of divine justice to urge the condemnation of all those depending upon their own merits—the habiters of the earth.
"And the sound of their wings,' &c.—The sound of the onset of a multitude of chariots and horses must be an alarming sound, calculated to strike the opposing ranks with panic and fear. Terrific sounds are one of the characteristics of legal denunciation; as, in the giving of the law from Sinai, there were voices and sounds, as well as thunderings and lightnings. Thus we may say the charge of these locust-principles upon the elements of the earthly systems possesses the peculiar characteristic of the terrors of the law.
* And they had tails like unto scorpions.'—The prophet that speaketh lies is said to be the tail, Is. ix. 15, and the devil (the accuser) is declared to be a liar, and the father of lies, John viii, 44. A prophet, as we have noticed, is an interpreter of the divine will or purpose—a prophet or interpreter of revelation, representing the purpose of God as a system of condemnation, acts the part of the accuser; while he is at the same time the father of a lie in respect to this misinterpretation of the economy of
grace, to which he attributes a sting of death belonging only to the legal dispensation. In allusion to this peculiarity, perhaps, it is represented that these locust-principles from the bottomless pit system, not only have the sting of the scorpion, but also that the tail is the seat of the poison, the instrument by which the sting of death (sin) is brought into action.
* And stings were in their tails,'-or, the stings were in their tails.There is no article in the original, but it may be supplied with propriety ; as the sting spoken of is no doubt the scorpion power said to be given to these locusts in the third verse, and their instrument of torment or torture, spoken of in the fifth verse, already noticed, ($ 209.)
' And their power was to hurt (adıxñowi) men five months.”—The hurt being the same as that supposed to be the opposite of justification. The whole equipment of these locust-principles exhibits them as legal elements arrayed with all the power of the law, except that they do not enforce condemnation. They are strong in the law, and exhibit the terrors of the law, but they do not exhibit the requisitions of the law as carried out to the death. The scorpion power may be said to be that of the law carried out to an extreme of refinement, corresponding with doctrinal views rendering the requisitions of the Gospel even more severe and more grievous to be borne than those of the Levitical dispensations; views exhibiting the spirit expressed in the threatening of the ill-advised king of Judea, 1 Kings xii. 11 : “ My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastened you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions ;" —and this too as the construction of the language of him who invited all labouring under this bondage to come unto him, with the assurance that his yoke is easy and his burden light, (Matt. xi. 30.)
• To hurt men five months.'—We can only at present compare this period of time with that of the prevailing or increasing of the waters of the deluge, by which the elements of the material earth were tried—indicating a trial of a character somewhat analogous; the earth representing a system, of which its men or inhabiters are the principles, to which principles the legal elements, styled the scorpions of the earth, are peculiarly hostile, although both are peculiar to the same system, ($ 210.)
V. 11. And they had a king over them, "Εχουσιν εφ αυτών βασιλέα τον άγγελος (which is) the angel of the bottomless pit, της αβύσσου, όνομα αυτο Εβραϊστί 'Αβαρwhose name in the Hebrew tongue (is) δών, και εν τη Ελληνικό όνομα έχει 'ΑπολAbaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath
λύων. . (his) name Apollyon.
$ 216. And they had a king,' &c.—It is said of the destructive species of locusts, Prov. xxx. 27, that “they have no king,” although they have the wisdom to go forth in bands. In allusion to this, it may be stated of these spiritual locusts, as something the more remarkable, that they have a king or leader. The word rendered king signifies a chief of almost any kind. We suppose the king here to be a chief or leading principle, the ministering spirit, a controlling tendency of the bottomless system. The name Apollyon signifying, as generally adınitted, the destroyer, from the verb årólavui, to destroy. The action of these locusts, as that of this first wo itself, is against the unsealed inhabiters of the earth, or the elements of the earthly or self-righteous system. The destruction in view is, consequently, that of these self-righteous elements; as the elements of the law, when brought to bear upon the pretensions of man to a merit of his own, must exhibit the folly of these pretensions, and thus destroy them. Apollyon is the destroyer, not of gospel principles, for these bear the seal in their foreheads, and are protected from his power, but he destroys those elements of justification by works upon which man would depend if there were no economy of grace. This ruling spirit of the bottomless pit is thus in effect the destroyer of those out of Christ, but not of those in Christ: in this respect, the action of A pollyon very nearly corresponds with that of Satan the accuser, and justifies the general supposition of the identity of the two characters. The province of Apollyon, however, may be limited to the destruction of the hopes of sinners derived from any merits of their own, while the power of Satan, the devil, the accuser, is excited to destroy the hopes of the sinner, whatsoever may be their foundation : the work of the Redeemer, as we shall hereafter find, consisting in a contest between the power of propitiation and the power of legal accusation-between the power of sovereign grace, and the unmitigated claims of justice.
V. 12. One wo is past; (and) behold, II ovai ý ulo ann198v. i8oú, égzorrai étv there come two woes more hereafter.
δύο ουαι μετά ταύτα. .
* $ 217. One wo is past.' — That is, the exhibition of the character of one wo is finished. We are not obliged to consider these woes as literally successive events ; nor is the final result of this first' wo fully detailed. We are told only that men, in consequence apparently of the torture to which they were subjected, desired death without being able to obtain it. The name of the leader of this band of tormentors was the destroyer, and we may presume that he acted as a destroyer; and if we suppose the five months to be put for something else than a chronological period, we may say perhaps the same principles still hurt and still destroy not men literally, but doctrinal elements, figuratively spoken of as men.
In what then does this wo consist ? Our thoughts on this subject must be taken merely as suggestions, for we are decided only in believing these locusts to represent something else than Saracen or Mahometan troops.
We have supposed the design of opening the bottomless pit to be, that of developing the true character of its elements. The question still presents itself, how such a development can be a wo to the inhabiters of the earth? what connection is there between the earth and the bottomless pit ?
When the fifth angel sounded, a star was seen to fall from heaven to the earth, to which the key of the bottomless pit was given. The bottomless pit must be therefore something belonging to the earth ; else why should the messenger employed to open it be sent to the earth ? This pit must be a pit in the earth ;—the figure corresponding with the ancient notion of the earth as a large, square, flat surface, of a certain undefined thickness, but of such a character, that a pit or shaft passing entirely through this stratum of earth would finally reach an abyss where there was nothing more of matter to be met with, or nothing capable of furnishing a bottom. But as the shaft of a well requires earth around it to make it a shaft, so this pit could not be a pit without the existence of the earth in which it is supposed to be located.
Analogous with this, we suppose the bottomless pit system to be a part of what we call the earthly system, the first being an important feature in the character of the last: the principles of the earthly system depending for their supposed correctness upon the nature of the pit system. For which reason, to exhibit the real incorrectness of this earthly system, the true character of the elements of the pit system must be developed.
We have seen ($ 206) that the word rendered pit in English, and rò goéag in the Greek, is in the Hebrew as well as in the Septuagint applied to what we call a well, whether it be full or dry—a well or pit of living water, or a dry well. By way of illustration, we may suppose a person about to take
his residence in a tract of country where he must depend upon a single well for his supply of water—the whole character of this tract of country we may say is involved in that of this well. If it be a never-failing spring of wholesome water, the location is a good one, it will afford the means of existence or support ; but if the well prove to be a dry pit having no water, or if the water be unwholesome and destructive to life, the whole tract of country is worthless. Under such circumstances the new settler's first object will be to have this well or pit opened, that he may know what the character of its contents is before he hazards his future happiness by a dependence upon
What we call the earthly system, corresponds with the tract of country we have imagined. In the midst, and as a part of this earthly system, is a provision for eternal life, the distinguishing feature of the system, and that upon which its whole value depends. If the principles of this provision be sound and well-founded, all is well; but if they be incorrect and entirely without foundation, and even of a character hostile to every hope of salvation, then the whole system involving this provision, and depending upon