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great earthquake; and the sun be- of imagery are used together, the came black as sackcloth of hair, and heavenly bodies relate to ecclesiastithe moon became as blood ; and the cal affairs, whilst the earthly things stars of heaven fell upon the earth, describe a civil government merely. even as a fig-tree casteth her un- It is evident also that the judgment timely figs, when she is shaken of a of the quick and the dead cannot be mighty wind : and the heaven de- here intended, for by that event the parted as a scroll when it is rolled heavens will pass away with a great together; and every mountain and noise, whilst the earth and all that is island were moved out of their places : therein shall be burnt up; for in and the kings of the earth, and the this instance the latter remains comgreat men, and the rich men, and the paratively little affected, for chief captains, and the mighty men, sooner is the earthquake mentioned, and every bond man, and every free than a restraint is in the next chapter man, hid themselves in the dens and and under the same seal imposed in the rocks of the mountains; and upon the winds of heaven, not at said to the mountains and rocks, Fall present to hurt the verdure of the on us, and hide us from the face of earth. Thns it follows, that, whilst Him that sitteth on the throne, and on the one hand the earthquake canfrom the wrath of the Lamb: for the not be taken literally, on the other, great day of His wrath is come; and the terrestrial changes it denotes are who shall be able to stand ?" (Verses ecclesiastical rather than civil. What, 12-17.)
moreover, notwithstanding the force In prophetic language, the seat of of the preceding remarks, determines civil and ecclesiastical authority is the character of this seal, and proves termed heaven, because the powers that it describes Christianity supthat be are ordained of God, and are planting Paganism, is the dismay of His vicegerents for the furtherance all classes, from the king down to and execution of His providential the slave, at Him who sitteth upon will.* On the same principle, rulers the throne, and at the wrath of the and judges are in holy Scripture Lamb. The revolution is of univercalled gods.f Isaiah describes the sal extent, it is of a religious characdestruction of Babylon in other ter, and it emanates from those words, indeed, but in precisely the powers which I described to be the same imagery as is here employed. Christianity of the fourth century. Revolutions in kingdoms are com- Moreover, what other revolution is * pared with the reeling to and fro and left us of a universal character, exthe dissolution of the earth, and with cept the first, which took place after the confusion and darkening of the the death of John, viz., the wonderful heavens. In Ezekiel, the temporary work of Constantine the Great? We conquest of Egypt by Babylon is have here, therefore, the overthrow described by a similar eclipse of the of Paganism, which he began, and luminaries of heaven. But if this every other emperor, except Julian, makes it probable that we have here down to Theodosius, carried the destruction of a civil or ecclesi- Events which are spread over the astical power, it does not enable us to greater part of the world and a point to any one in particular. We lengthened period of time, are said may likewise infer that an ecclesias- in prophecy to be accomplished in a tical rather than a civil convulsion is moment: they are the shock of an described ; for the heavens entirely earthquake, which is so sudden that pass away, whilst the earthquake the mischief is done when it is first only moves out of their places the felt: it cannot be anticipated, for it earth's mountains and islands; and is not known till it is over. Such in prophetic language, when both sets imagery, whilst it affects us with the * Isa. xiii. 10-13; xxiv. 19-23 ; xxxiv.
greatness and certainty of the Divine 4; Ezek. xxxii. 7-9; Joel ii. 10; Hag, ii.
proceedings, teaches us also that a 6, 7, explained by Heb. xii. 27, 28.
thousand years is with the Lord as + John X. 35.
one day. But if the breaking of the
seals denotes the destruction of Pa- bellion. It will be acknowledged by ganism, that event will not be per- those who are acquainted with Roman fectly completed until the rupture of history that the Northmen were kept the next seal. True; still the power back with very great difficulty from of Paganism is destroyed; it re- the time of Constantine the Great to nounces all hope of rallying its that of the great Theodosius, after forces; its kings and people think whose death their irruptions began only of self-preservation, and are the dismemberment and dissolution only too happy to escape the wrath of the empire. Now, though it is and vengeance of the powers that be. contrary to the usual interpretation, Constantine so completely put down I hope to prove that the sealing itself all opposition of a Pagan character, and what follows, including the rupthat it was never after able, with any ture of the last seal, describe the firm sensible effect, to rally its forces. establishment of corrupted Chris
“And after these things I saw four tianity as the religion of the empire, angels standing on the four corners and that the four winds are the judg. of the earth, holding the four winds ments of the seven trumpets in con. of the earth, that the wind should not
sequence of its establishment. blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor After these things, i.e., subsequent on any tree.” (Chap. vii. 2.)
to the virtual overthrow of Paganism, Proof is here abundantly supplied the prophet saw the winds of heaven that the earthquake neither described held in restraint by four angels. By the final judgment or end of the winds, are undoubtedly meant deworld, nor so much a civil as an structive wars, which in their every ecclesiastical revolution. In a civil form, and in the convulsions that point of view it only removed the seat attend their course, are in prophetic of government from Rome to Byzan- language described as furious desotium, and though the court there lating winds, which sweep away established was Asiatic, the forms everything both on land and sea. of the empire still obtained at Rome. The four angels which restrained There was the beginning of a change, them denote the forces of the empire, but at the furthest it amounted only divided by Constantine into four to a transition: the new era had not great divisions. But in the beginning yet actually begun. The earth, with of Constantine's career, when the all its verdure, was comparatively struggle for dominion lay between unaffected by the earthquake. The him and Paganism, the angels of the empire still continued when it was empire were only two; and when the Christianised,—the western part till it
contest is described, chap. was overthrown and broken up by the xii., it is there said to take place Northmen, and the eastern down to between two companies of angels. the capture of Constantinople by the These changes arise out of the conOttoman Turks.
text, and are necessary that the ima. Thus Christianity supplanted Pa- gery may be consistent with itself. ganism. But did the change meet And I saw another angel ascendwith the Divine approval? No; on ing from the east, having the seal of the contrary, the very next scene in- the living God : and he cried with a troduces all the winds of heaven to loud voice to the four angels, to whom do that hurt which was not effected it was given to hurt the earth and by the earthquake. They were, how- the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, ever, restrained till the servants of neither the sea, nor the trees, till we God were sealed. What then was have sealed the servants of our God this sealing? Its importance cannot in their foreheads. And I heard the be too highly rated, since it suspended number of them which were sealed: the Divine wrath.
But this may and there were sealed an hundred happen either to give the righteous and forty and four thousand of all the time to escape, or to fill up the mea- tribes of the children of Israel. Of sure of the iniquities of the wicked who persist in impenitence and re- * Isa. xxvii. 8; Hos. xii. 1; Jer. iv. 11-15.
the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve
his supreme authority in civil affairs thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben
he took upon himself the management were sealed twelve thousand. Of the and control of the Church. An obtribe of Gad were sealed twelve thou- jection to my interpretation of the sand. Of the tribe of Aser were phrase, “the living God,” may be sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe alleged on the ground that the term of Nephthalim were sealed twelve
"living "is generally added to “God” thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses
in order to distinguish the true from were sealed twelve thousand. Of the
a false god. The original, however, tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve properly rendered, is a seal of a livthousand. Of the tribe of Levi were ing god, which appears to me to resealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe
move the difficulty. My conclusion, of Issachar were sealed twelve thou
therefore, is that by a living god is sand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were
meant the emperor as head over sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe Church and State. of Joseph were sealed twelve thou
I next come to the seal, said to be sand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were derived from the east, which implies sealed twelve thousand.” (Vers. 2-8.) that the seat of government was there,
I have now to resolve some of the for the seals of office are usually kept most puzzling symbols of the Apoca- where the court or government relypse, but I flatter myself the difficul. sides. And it was so with regard to ties will be very much removed by
the Christian emperors, for Constanstill keeping in view that the pro- tine and his successors, without dephecy describes the visible Church
stroying the republican forms at from the Diocletian era by imagery Rome, made Byzantium the imperial taken from the Jewish Church and
seat ; and however Asiatic the court government. It has hitherto been
ceremonies were at Byzantium, Rome chiefly confined to the temple and continued unaltered down to the diits services, but it now refers to the
vision of the western empire into the government and its head.
kingdoms of the Northmen. But what When Paganism fell, as already is meant by the sealing? It implies described, it did not leave the Roman that the sealed were the public and state without a religion-the passing official servants of the supreme power. away of the heavenly bodies, so vi- To seal a book hides its contents, but vidly pourtrayed, left Him, &c., and
to seal a person is just the reverse, it the Lamb alone apparently before makes him known and distinguishes the spectator. (Rev. vi. 16.) But this him from all others, it being an alluis only implied. The Pagan kings of
sion to the marking of slaves on the the earth are dismayed at the revo- forehead, which pointed out to whom lution. Their heaven is departed as they belonged. This is more clearly a scroll. So far, however, we have described chap. xiv., where it is exonly the pulling down of the old re
pressly stated that the hundred and ligion, for it is not said that their
forty-four thousand had their father's competitor is upon the throne. What
name inscribed on their forehead. In more natural then if the new reign is both cases a public profession is here described. And it is so. But
made; one of being the followers of if a kingdom or Church, or the two the Lamb on Mount Zion, the seat of as here combined, are in Scripture government; the other, of the Lamb, termed heaven, in order to carry with seven horns and seven eyes. out the figure, the supreme power must be designated God.* For kings
(To be continued.) and governors are so called in Scripture, because they are the deputies of SCRIPTURE EMENDATIONS. the God of providence, and of the
МАТт. xxiii. 11. God-man, Jesus Christ. The Chris
“But He being tian emperor, therefore, is here termed greater than you will be your ser
vant." a living god, because in addition to
This is an illustration of that word * Canon viii.
“ He made Himself of no reputation.'
(Philip. ii. 7.) It has the further re- of throwing the pall over the fatal commendation of being always true : witness, they parade it. whereas, there is a feeling-all things Matthew informs us, by the Spirit, considered—that we want to vary the that they had an apology; "If we A.V. with " let him be your servant,” had been in the days of our fathers, which, however, the Greek does not we would not have been partakers with admit of. We find, indeed, the very them in the blood of the prophets." thought legitimately appearing in (xxiii. 30.) Then why "build the Matt. xx. 26, 27; there the imperative tombs of the prophets, and garnish čorw is, “let him be.” The whole Greek the sepulchres of the righteous ?" formula there differs from the one
Did such honour betoken sorrow, or under consideration. But in Luke betray obtuseness ? Did the gilt xxii. 26 we find, he that is greatest
hide the base metal, or did not the among you," =ó ueíšwy év üniv; speciousness unveil itself? They whereas, the Greek for the same A.V. were yet to repeat the deeds of their rendering here is o δε μείζων υμών.
fathers. Stephen was their first vicWhat is the lesson for us here?
tim-a sample of their repudiation of That it is better to be of a humble
their fathers' deeds! "Are we better spirit with the lowly, than to divide
than they?" O Gentile; see thyself! the spoil with the proud." (Prov.
He hath “concluded all under sin, xvi. 19.) If He, our Lord and
that the promise by faith of Jesus Master so humbled Himself, it is the
Christ, might be given to them that place of honour for us. “I am among
believe." (Gal. iii. 22.) Then shall you as he that serveth." (Luke xxii.
the prophets and righteous men have 27.) Surely. He is the Prince of
their reward ; for God is not unrigh
teous to forget. servants. Who ever served as He ?
Clifton. Ile served God; He served His creatures. “Therefore God hath highly exalted Him." O wonderful mystery !
THE PRECESSION OF GRACE. He who thus humbled Himself is made “Head over all things to the Church." In proportion to the abase
(Continued from page 624.) ment is the exaltation, God know- SEEING then that our sanctification eth the proud afar off." May we who is the will of God; and that though fear the Lord, learn, in meekness of affliction is a grand and common wisdom, what Nebuchadnezzar learnt means for its accomplishment, but during the seven times that passed yet not willingly adopted by our graover him, that “those who walk in cious Father, it becomes us to inquire pride He is able to abase." (Dan. iv. wisely concerning the matter, viz., 37.)
whether there is any more pleasant Luke xi. 48. "Truly, ye bear wit- and effective way of attaining this ness and assent to the deeds of your end. It is an important point, and fathers — That they indeed killed one on which Holy Writ should speak thiem, but ye build their sepul- plainly; an uncertain sound might chres."
only bewilder. Ye perpetuate the memory of your Let the following text have its full fathers' murderous wickedness, by bearing on this part of our subject :building the sepulchres of their vic- "If we would judge ourselves we tims. " Woe unto you," therefore. should not be judged. But when we Ye are partakers with them thus. are judged, we are chastened of the Shame should bring decay on these Lord, that we should not be conspeaking monuments. Ye glory in demned with the world.” (1 Cor. xi. your shame-"ye bear witness and 31, 32.) Let us observe that the assent" thus to their deeds. Lo, “the chastening here is identified with the blood of all these prophets shall be judging : there is righteousness in it, required of this generation." Why? though not in its full measure, for They did not shed it. No; but they “the Lord is not strict to mark inido not blush for their fathers; instead quities, for then who should stand ?"
Mark too the object stated—“that we smote Sisera." No; he was tried by should not be condemned with the God for service. So Joseph again; world.” We are told, “ there is no " the word of the Lord tried him condemnation to them who are in who was to sustain Israel. So still Christ Jesus,” but the means to effect with those who would serve God. this must be employed.
There is this feature, however, in This Scripture is an unmistakable afflictions that are not because of sin witness that there is no imperative- —there is conscious fellowship with ness for our afflictions, except those God, issuing in peace and joy, which which are in the line of our existence, are in proportion to the greatness of unless we ourselves make this neces- the trial, and the analogy of faith. sity. On this text then we base a few There is a measure of these inestimaprinciples :
ble emanations of God's grace to be 1. Self-judgment is a condition of enjoyed even by one who has sinned exemption from certain afflictions. and, in consequence, under the chas
The word " certain ” is an absolute tening of the almighty. David knew qualification here; for there are aflic- this when he said, “ Make me to hear tions, as some sicknesses, and death, joy and gladness, that the bones which that are inevitable, because “ sin en- Thou hast broken may rejoice.” (Ps. tered into the world and death by sin.” But a great mass of sicknesses are 2. In order to effect this selfthe immediate consequences of sin; judgment, the first thing to be judged thus God told the children of Israel, is self-love. "if thou wilt diligently hearken to Until self-love is made to know its the voice of the Lord thy God, and place there is no true and constant wilt do that which is right in His peace with God. This is not to be sight, and wilt give ear to His com- extinguished, but to be corrected ; mandments, and keep all His statutes, “no man ever yet hated his own I will put none of these diseases upon flesh." If there must be self-love, let thee which I have brought upon the it learn to “ deny the flesh with its Egyptians, for I am the Lord that affections and lusts,” this is true and healeth thee.” (Ex. xv. 26.) So it salutary indulgence. The appetite is is said of wicked Jehoram, “ After all best indulged by restraint, for then it this the Lord smote him in his bowels is never jaded, never cloyed, always with an incurable disease.” (1 Chron. fresh. So all love, especially selfxxi. 18.) So also with Herod, “the love, is best served by being ruled. angel of the Lord smote him, because So judgment from without is best he gave not God the glory.” (Acts averted by judgment from within. xii. 23.) So also in 1 Cor. xi. 30, Is self-lore so strong that a fault “ for this cause (viz., eating and cannot be confessed? Then is selfdrinking unworthily) many are weak judgment strangled at its birth. The and sickly among you, and many whole strength must be exerted on sleep." In the presence of such this potent obstacle to the onward Scriptures, which may be multiplied, course of the heavenly pilgrim. arguments are needless.
3. Another department of selfHere it is needful to interpose the judgment is the correction of the remark, that some afflictions or trials will. are not of this remedial character ; He, who of all men might do His they are simply trials of faith and own will, said, "Not My will, but patience, and may be of a didactic Thine be done." If there is the incharacter, inculcating lessons prepara- terposition of our will, it is an impetory to a course of service : such was diment that must be got rid of. the forty years' sojourn of Moses “in When we have surely ascertained the land of Midian.” We are not to the purpose of God, then let our will suppose that because he slew the be to carry out that purpose. But Egyptian, God was angry with him, this is not will in devising, which is any more than with Jael, who "put so critical in its probable source, but her hand to the nail, and her right in working out the will of another hand to the workman's hammer, and who cannot err. We must have no