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After this distinct and rapturous adoration of the church, the Apostle says:
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of MANY ANGELS round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, saying, with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (v. 11–12.)
Here there are specially worthy of notice the persons who, for the first time, are now brought upon the scene, the ANGELs; their position, surrounding on every side the throne of God, and his redeemed church : their very great numbers; which are expressed (Heb. xii. 22,) as “an innumerable company of angels;” or as Milton expresses it, “numbers without number;” ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: lastly, their song t “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain;” but they do not, they cannot add, with the church, who hast redeemed us.
I can imagine nothing within the scope of language that can come up to the sublimity of the scene which is here so simply, yet so forcibly represented; but it is not yet completed. It is not sufficient that both portions of the redeemed church in glory, and that the countless number of angels, should all conspire in the blessed work of praising the Lamb that was slain—the whole cre ATION, under the four-fold division, in which it is frequently enumerated by the sacred writers, again reverberate the glorious theme.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and are all that are in them, heard I, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (v. 13.)
This manner of expressing the whole creation, is found, for instance, twice in the second commandment;* and in Philippians i. it is used in exactly the same connection as in this place; that is, in the universal worship of Christ as God. As it is a striking passage, and sheds its light upon the one before us, I will transcribe it. “Let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man : and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly eralted him, and given him a name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of THINGS IN H E A v EN, AND THINGS IN EARTH, AND THINGS UNDER THE EARTH. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God. the Father.” (ver. 5–11.)
The whole of the chapter under consideration, affords the finest commentary on these words that it is possible to conceive. Here we see the manifestation of Christ's exaltation; of the infinite superiority
of his great name above every name; and that at His name every knee does bow, “to the glory of God the Father,” saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
What follows, and indeed concludes this splendid exhibition, affords additional proof of the high consideration and devotion of the church in heaven.
“And the four living creatures said Amen ; and the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” (v. 14.)
In conclusion, I would observe, that there is no part of the Word of God, clear as it frequently is on this point, that more decidedly proves the Godhead of the Lord Jesus Christ, than this manifestation of his glory in the worship of all the hosts of heaven. For jealous as the Lord God hath declared himself of his honour in this respect, it is impossible that such adoration could have been permitted to any but to a divine person; “ to Him that is my fellow, saith the Lord.” And the very particular mention of the whole race of created beings, without one exception— “every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,”—precludes the possibility of Him being a created Being to whom this universal worship is paid. Besides which, he is mentioned as invested with the attributes of Deity, having, as the slain Lamb, seven horns, indicative of His almighty and irresistible power, and seven eyes, indicative of His omnipresence. Therefore, let the church on earth join with that in heaven, and likewise say “Amen, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever;” and among that number my soul too would join and say, Amen.
THE FOUR FIRST SEALS;
GRADUAL PROGRESS OF THE FRIGHTFUL APost Acy OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
Opening of the First Seal—A very remarkable Era—Concern of the Church above respecting it—Its symbols and their meaning—
Emperor Constantine and the triumph of Christianity over Paganism—Pagan persecutions—Apostate Julian—Opening of Second Seal—Meaning of the Symbols—Paganism destroyed by Theodosius—His character—The Church's fierce divisions and slaughter—Opening of the Third Seal—Emperor Justinian — His great actions and their lamentable influence on the Church— Its gross Darkness — Preservation of the Bible incorrupt— Opening of the Fourth Seal—The Church in a state of utter corruption—Charlemagne – Important era he formed—Confined to the Latin nations—Great misery of this period.