Page images

ble Church. I term them symbols, and almost form a part of it. It is because they have, literally, no like- not improbable that they denote the ness on earth, being composed of civil authority, which is a vicegerency, parts taken from different earthly God acting in and through it. creatures, though in their composite The seraphim (Isaiah vi.) occupy state they symbolise the character, the same place and office as the chestate, and profession of a servant of rubim in the temple, and may justly God; they display to the eye that be regarded as the same. It does not which is of the heart,-in the spirit, militate against their symbolical and not in the letter; whose praise character that they are living creais not of man but of God. Even

tures, and compose a multitude; for from the beginning, as I have shown, the four beasts (Dan. vii.) are inconGod partly revealed his will by sym- testably both. Their worship is pebols. Our first parents were deprived culiar, and more appropriate to the of everlasting joy through sin, and

militant than to the triumphant were driven into this world of sorrow, Church; for while they praise the terminating in death.

Provision, triune God, and declare the whole however, was immediately made for earth is full of his glory, as a pure the recovery of our loss. This is the

and holy Being, they cover their faces fruitful theme of the Bible, which is

and feet, being ashamed that their first set forth by symbols, and then

course of life is beneath God's regard, accomplished by the life and death of

or obnoxious to His displeasure. Christ. The mercy-seat, which was Now, though God, in strong, poetic the covering or lid of the ark, and the

language, charges His angels with two cherubim, were composed of one folly, because great intelligence and piece of gold.* Why so? The cloud, purity fall infinitely below the Divine or shekinah, was undoubtedly a sym- perfection, yet it is never said that bol of the Divine presence; and as it pure and holy angels approach God, rested on the mercy seat, might not

except with confidence and joy. So tiis denote Christ's human nature,

much is the vision accordant with which dwelt among us in a way of the service of God on earth, and so mercy ? God, in reconciling the

little with that in heaven, that it world to himself, virtually made

composes a scene exhibiting pardon Christ's human nature a mercy-seat,

and grace, affairs which take place just as the lid of the ark was the seat

alone in the militant Church. Isaiah of the cloud. But this mercy-seat personates a convinced sinner under was one piece with the two churubim,

the ministry of the seraphim. Their which were not soldered to it, but the

declaration of the Divine holiness whole was wrought out of the same

convinces liim of sin, whilst his alarm solid lump of gold. It was not a is removed by the application of a union, but a oneness and entirety.

live coal from the altar, which deNow, Rev. v. 9 declares that the che.

noted Christ. rubim were redeemed men ; the mercy

If now we pass on to Ezekiel, chap. seat, therefore, being of the same na

i., we have additional proof that the ture with them, could be nothing else

cherubim are redeemed men; there is but our Saviour's humanity, through

evidently an allusion to the holy of which alone God can be merciful to

holies, the cherubim being four in us. Christ is the head of the body, the

number, two on the mercy-seat and Church; hence believers are described

two larger ones made by Solomon. as members of His body, of His flesh,

Ezekiel, chap. x. 16, calls the living and of His bones. † Cherubimic

creatures cherubim ; a wheel is con. figures covered the curtains and

nected with each; and in 1 Chron. boards of the sanctuary, so that the

xxviii. 10, Ps. xviii. 10, the chariots holy of holies, with the mercy-seat, of the cherubim are expressly mensymbolised God in Christ, united to

tioned. Thus these living creatures, or in the midst of the visible Church.

with their wheels, are identical with The cherubim are nearest to the throne

the cherubim and their chariots. God * Exod. xxv. 19-37; vii. 9.

sits on his throne, or rides in the † Eph. v. 30.

midst of his redeemed people on earth.

He takes the human form in Christ. is supplied. Here the living creaThe rainbow likewise identifies this tures' eyes are before, behind, and vision with the militant Church, for within, and as eyes denote intelliit denotes the covenant of grace which, gence, it is here complete. They in the midst of judgment, remembers take cognisance of all time, and look mercy, and showers blessings upon within or scrutinise the motives of men in the storm, tempest, and flood. their conduct. If these remarks are But in heaven the grateful showers of as applicable to angels as to men, the Divine favour are unaccompanied what follows are not so, but must be with the rolling thunder and the restricted to creatures under disci. lightning's flash. As the bodies of the pline. Each of the living creatures cherubim are for the most part hu- in Ezekiel has the face of a lion, calf, man and the wheels intelligent, for man, and flying eagle, but in John they have eyes, whilst a common the same faces are distributed but not spirit pervades both, they probably repeated among the four, for reasons denote members of the visible Church. which will hereafter appear. And Their wings perform two offices : what do these faces denote? The their motion is language apparently lion is an emblem of dignity and spoken to God, for when it ceased, a courage; the calf, of labour and pavoice was immediately heard in tience; the face of man, of intellianswer or expressive of approbation. gence; and the flying eagle, of an The second use of their wings was to heavenly in opposition to an earthly cover their bodies. This appears ap- mind; qualities which fit the possessor propriate only to man below. Angels for a life of trial, such as obtains on have no covering, as Adam had none earth, but which are derogatory to in Eden; for the meanest, even the the repose and enjoyment of heaven. guardians of little children, always If now the next chapter be adduced, behold the face of God.* When that I may bring together whatever David exclaims, “I shall behold thy is descriptive of these creatures, it face in righteousness,” he implies that will be found that they are neither he will behold in heaven the coun- angels nor departed saints, but living tenance of God without a veil be- men.* They have golden vials, and tween, and being exempt from sin, that we may not mistake their symwill be fully persuaded of his entire bolical meaning, they are interpreted affection : we shall look into His face, to mean the prayers of saints; they partly because our own will be with- likewise sing. Had prayer only been out spot or wrinkle, and partly be- mentioned it might have been taken cause we shall feel and know that in a loose general sense for worship He perfectly loves us through Christ. or thanksgiving, but prayer united This, however, is not our present con

with, and distinguished from praise, dition. We may be scripturally con- must be restricted to supplication or fident of our safety, and have peace entreaty, which all, except Romanists, with God through Jesus Christ; and restrict to the present life. This yet, if we fully know the Gospel and alone is decisive and makes John ourselves, we shall be sensible that beyond contradiction to be standing sin remains in us, causing us fre- in the visible Church at some indefiquently to cry out, “ To us belongs nite period subsequent to the time of confusion of face, but unto thee, O the vision. The word “redeemed " Lord, belongs mercy." The veiling appears at first sight to describe an of their bodies, therefore, intimates inhabitant of heaven; it is, however, the consciousness of sin that is fore- a singular fact that no writer in the most in the worship of the visible New Testament applies it, except to Church.

the present life, and even John himHaving now gathered from the Old self uses it in that sense. (Chap. Testament whatever illustrates the xiv. 4.) Their assured hope also present subject, I return to the Apo- that they shall reign upon the earth calypse where additional information brings one to the same conclusion

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

that they represent inhabitants of the scene) was composed of independent earth or members of the visible communities under one invisible spiChurch. Who, then, it may be asked, ritual Head, the glorified Immanuel; are they? They cannot be less but this temple, like the Jewish of exalted than the ministry, being old, was only one, for the twenty-four nearer to the throne of God and in a elders or high priests worship in one certain sense apparently even placed and the same temple. Here is a visi. within it. But what other power is ble oneness, and yet in another point comparable with, or superior to, the of view there is a plurality, for the sacred ministry? I reply, the civil elders are high priests, being without power. It will be necessary here to the common head which obtained revert to the imagery by which John under Judaism. And this unity and was surrounded ; I have proved that plurality certainly did then exist. he was brought into the visible Church The bishops affected one form of worunder the figure of the temple, which ship and doctrine, and met together represented God dwelling in the midst in council in order to perpetuate it of His people on earth. The service whilst they were independent of each is the formula of the sinner's return other, or if they manifested respect to God, but I would now subjoin not for the Roman bishop, authority was necessarily of an individual merely, scarcely yet conceded to him. Thus but of a community. But where in John was not introduced to the courts the temple do we find Christ's kingly above that he might receive Divine office symbolised ? Paul, speaking of communications and convey them to governors, says they are God's minis- mankind, but the heavenly company ters; and our Saviour implies that by which he was surrounded comthey are officially gods (being His prised in part the revelation of the delegates), to whom the Word of God things that were to be hereafter, he came.* Now what can more suitably stood in the midst of a Church which denote the delegated or official office had already made considerable adof the civil power than the cherubim vances beyond the degeneracy of his who reside next to the throne and own latter days, and which was going even within it? It must never be to trace rapidly a still more downforgotten that the temple service is ward course. I now proceed to the symbolical throughout, nor is the worship which was celebrated. least part of it without meaning, as is “And when those beasts give glory implied in the declaration of Christ and honour and thanks to Him that that no jot or tittle of it shall pass sat on the throne, who liveth for ever away till it is fulfilled. It appears, and ever, the four and twenty elders then, to me that the civil power is fall down before Him that sat on probably described by the cherubim. the throne, and worship him that

I have now demonstrated that the liveth for ever and ever, and cast throne, rainbow, and elders ; the their crowns before the throne, saying, thunder, lightning, and voices; the Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive sea, lamps, and beasts, describe the glory and honour and power : for thou militant, not the triumphant Church. hast created all things, and for Thy I have also shown that it was not the pleasure they are and were created." visible Church in its integrity, but in (Ver. 9-11.) a decline, since the priestly raiment We have probably here, and in the and golden crowns of the elders de- next chapter, a service interrupted noted pretensions to a high priesthood and the removal of the interruption and an authority to impose rules of followed by very great changes, for faith and duty upon the Church which no sooner had John listened to the

tly accords with the measures of heavenly symphony than silence was the clergy before and in the fourth produced by the introduction of a century. Nor does the decline stop sealed book which continued unbroken here. The Church of the Apostles till the book was taken possession of (the things which were, or the first by the Lamb with seven eyes and

seven horns. But in what did this * Rom. xiii. 1.6; John x. 34, 35. service consist? It was the worship


of the unchangeable Jehovah-the we know not; neither can we discover triune God to whom all praise, where all (some, doubtless, will be honour, and thansksgiving are as- with Christ: 1 Thess. iv, 16, 17) cribed as alone justly due. This, how- its inhabitants will be placed ever, is more apppopriate to angels whilst the process of regeneration than to men; salvation by Christ is going on; much less can we tell here omitted, will not be forgotten by whether that divine operation will be the redeemed even in heaven. Had I gradual or instantaneous. We have not already proved that neither the no means of arriving at any certain persons here engaged, nor the place knowledge on these points, therefore and circumstances were compatible it is needless to speculate. Seeing with such a view, I should infer that that such questions are not within we have here the worship of angels : the compass of any finite mind to but this cannot be. Still as it is the fathom, we shall leave them as they worship of God, rather than of God are a mystery to be revealed hereafter, in Christ, and though His holiness and so pass on to the consideration of is acknowledged, yet as His method our next inquiry; viz., secondly, of dispensing mercy is entirely kept What will be the probable state of the out of sight, I consider it a defective, moral and religious world then. We because I hope to show that it is an must first look at the state of society interrupted service.

from a moral point of view, as seen (To be continued.)

now, in order to find out what its

probable future will be. What, then, THE STATE OF THE WORLD AT

is the actual state of things around

us? Do we find morality on the THE MESSIAH'S SECOND ADVENT.

increase or decrease? Is crime be

coming a thing of the past? Is it Without making any preliminary re- not rather making rapid strides on marks, we will at once hasten to the every hand? Is it within the grasp discussion of our theme. First, let of the strong arm of the law fully to us inquire what will be the probable arrest its progress. Does not some state of the world at Messiah's seconil new form of evil ever and anon preadvent. Now, in order to arrive at a sent itself, each exceeding the other clear conception of our subject, we in atrocity? Do not criminals seem judge it will be best to divide it into to vie with each other in committing two parts, viz.,-First, What will be the deeds of the blackest die? Permit state of the physical world ; and then, the daily newspapers to speak for themsecondly, What will be the state of the selves. Leaving the outer world, let moral and religious world. Under us for a moment take a glance at the each of the above heads we propose inner circle of life, viz., the social to offer a few observations. First, state of society. What do we know What do we understand by the term of families in general ? Are things physical world. Physical is opposed in a more promising condition in this to moral. By the phrase, physical respect? Does love and unity preworld, we mean the universe in vail in each house? Do we observe general. As to the earth's surface, the holy bond of conjugal félicity and the objects existing upon it, wə strengthening with age and presume it will be found to be much perience? Is filelity at the present in the same condition as observed at time with husbands and wives conpresent, when Messiah does come; stantly regarded as a sacred obliyet it may be in a state of confusion, gation? Let the Divorce Courts be for it is doubtable whether it will be their own witness. What revelaprepared for His advent. That the tions do they disclose! Is it not a earth will undergo a great change we Bible injunction that the husband doubt not; indeed, St. Peter speaks to should bear rule in his own house, that effect in his second epistle, iii. 10, and guide his children with dis12; that the regeneration will occur cretion. (Gen. iii. 16; Esther i. at a subsequent period of the world's 22.) But is it so now? Let househistory; but when that will happen holds testify. Is not, also, obedience


to parents a command of God, and can be called an education, should at of perpetual obligation ? (Col. iii. 20; once become tractable, teachable, and Ephes. vi. 1, 2.) But is that precept obedient ? How does experience obeyed by the children of to-day? Is bear us out? It is against such a not the order of things reversed ? supposition. For every instructor of Does not the wife govern, and the the young well knows, that the task child rule the house ; thus violating of teaching children now becomes the laws of God? It is recorded of more and more difficult with every a lunatic that he once said to his rising generation. The want of homekeeper, “ When I am dead bury me influence is felt everywhere, and we head-downwards.” “ Why?” asked may add, in many instances, the want his keeper. “Because," said he, of home comforts, too. Precepts are " the world is turned upside down." good, but examples are better. Alas, Madmen sometimes speak the truth. many children have neither. No A friend of mine reminded me of wonder, then, they are what they are; another story, “ Why were madmen the astonishment is that they are not put into lunatic asylums?” “Because,” much worse! Appalling thought! Is said a lunatic, " the world was gone not the child the type of the parent. mad.” To return : the admonition What, then, will be the future of the “wise man" is disregarded. generation? Yet, order is heaven's Parents, in many instances, instead first law. Is it not the duty of every of training their children up in the parent and teacher, first, to instil into way they should go, frequently train the minds of children right principles, them up in the way they would go; and to inculcate upon them right thus reversing the order of things. habits? Until this be done no amount And what, may it be asked, would be of good can be possibly effected. the natural consequence of such con- But, enough. Turn we in the next duct on the part of such parents ? place to examine the religious state What, but rebellion ? Children of society as it is now evinced. At allowed to have their own way grow the outset we ask, is there no cause up self-willed, obstinate, disagreeable, for complaint-no ground for alarm? unsociable members of society. If We think there is very much fear to they are of the lower class, they are apprehend that even here things are not unfrequently suffered to attend, not what they ought to be. What is without restraint, that very worst of its tone? Is it low or high? Healthy all schools, the street school at night; or unhealthy? Let experienced thus they become perfected in every Christians speak. Now, what do they species of vice and ivfamy. Habits say? It is true, say they, that reof immorality and lawlessness are ligion has not changed, but that the thus formed in youth, and will increase form of it has greatly changed. with growth, unless prevented by the Instead of being pure and simple in grace of God, and, therefore, are not its nature and worship, it has become easily to be broken off. The prophet impure and lofty, partaking of a Jeremiah asks, “Can the Ethiopian sensational, rather than a spiritual change his skin, or the leopard his character. Such being the case, its spots ? then may ye also do good who subjects must of necessity also be are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer. xiii. affected by the transformation. For, 23.) Yet, doubtless, some parents are as the face of nature changes by the to be met with who, finding their succession of seasons, so does the children daily becoming unconquer- form of religion change by the many able, with a view to their reformation, practices and ceremonies introduced send them to a day school ; but at the into public worship. The desire for same time, expecting that miracles novelty is everywhere apparent. As should be wrought at the teacher's with dress, so with religious worship. hands. Yes, forsooth, that these home- This is not the least dangerous feature pests, tyrants, and lions should im- in the case: would that it were so. mediately be turned into lambs. But, The most to be dreaded is, a spirit of we ask, is it possible that children worldliness, which has of late years with such an education as that, if it crept up from the root, and now has

« PreviousContinue »