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hold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb, as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. · And he came and took the book out of the right
hand of him that sat upon the throne. . And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, · and four and twenty elders, fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation : · And hast made us unto our God kings and priests :
and we shall reign on the earth. . And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts 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. . And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and 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.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. In the first of the foregoing visions we may perceive, that the Being who declared himself to be the first and the last, answered the description of him whom the an. cient Prophets saw in their visions on the throne of heaven. We find, that he also declared himself to be the MESSIAH, who died and rose again from the dead; and though his form was so transcendently glorious, this glorious Being bore a striking resemblance to the person of Jesus Christ, and St. John was convinced that he was in reality the same.
We must not suppose that the Apostle saw these things with his corporeal eyes. Visions are caused by the miraculous operations of divine power on the ima. ginations of men, by which extraordinary scenes are displayed in order to represent to their minds in a figurative manner things which really exist, but which human faculties cannot conceive, nor human language describe in any other way. .
The instruction intended to be conveyed by the visions we have been considering, compared with those in the foregoing Section, is that the person, whom the prophets saw in their visions, was the Lord, or Divine WORD; and He, like the Son of Man, our LORD JESUS CHRIST; and that he is now in possession of everlasting and universal dominion at the right hand of God, where he will remain for ever, executing the Divine Will to all creatures, and receiving their adorations.
It is clearly intimated in the vision which has the se. cond place in this Section, that our blessed Redeemer
is to be honoured and worshipped in a double capacity as God and the Messiah. To prove this, it will be necessary to examine what is implied by the symbols of which the vision is composed.
He who sat on the throne was the LORD or DIVINE WORD *, the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. The four beasts, symbols of strength, courage, vigour, firmness, patience, perseverance, intelligence, activity, &c. represent according to prophetic language, the angelic natures. The four and twenty Elders seem to signify the ministers or church of God.—The sealed book, the secret decrees and purposes of God respecting the salvation of mankind. This book is described as impenetrable, so that neither men nor the highest order of angels could unfold it. But Prophecy represented by an Elder gave hopes, that an excellent person of the family of David, described in a revelation made to the patriarch Jacob under the symbol of a Lion, to represent his invincible strength and fortitude, would conquer this difficulty. At length this illustrious personage presents himself before the throne, standing in the midst between it and the surrounding multitudes, not indeed like a Lion (for that symbol referred to another circumstance of his character), but like a LAMB which had been slain for sacrifice, of a very uncommon form, having seven horns and seven eyes, instead of two, as tokens of the wonderful degree of divine knowledge and energy which he possessed. , On his advancing to the throne, the book was delivered to him by the glori. ous person who sat thereon, on which the heavenly host and the elders, or church of God, discovered that he, who on earth was called the Lamb of God, was appointed to
Heb. iii. 1.
make known the secret decrees of infinite wisdom and mercy, and that he was worthy to be a partaker of the - worship paid to Him who sat on the throne; they therefore composed a new song, such as had never been sung in heaven nor on earth, in honour of the MESSIAH, calculated not only for the angelic hosts and glorified spirits, but for every individual of the human race on earth, in all future ages of the world.
Though all this was represented in an imaginary scene, it conveys a lively and just idea of the Gospel Dispensation, and teaches us how to pay our adorations to Christ:
In the first place, we must worship him as the visible representative of GOD THE Father, and as the Executor of the Divine Will to all created beings; by whom Gon made the world and all things in it, by whom God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, and sanctifying the MESSIAH, that he might be worthy to offer himself as a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the world..
We must also honour the Lord as the MESSIAH, because, on account of his perfect obedience to the
Divine Will, CHRIST is esteemed by the Father as · worthy to be called his Son, and to partake of the adoration paid to the Lord (bis WORV) to whom he was essentially united. And He justly demands our utmost gratitude and warmest thanksgivings because he offered himself in our stead, and has washed us from our sins in his blood; by which we are sanctified in the sight of God the Father, who will accept us as a nation of priests, a holy people, for the sake of his merits, if we will be faithful and obedient, and make his Gospel the rule of our actions. Therefore with angels and arch-angels, and all the
company of heaven, let us laud and magnify the name of our blessed Redeemer, who is gone up on high, who has led captivity captive! evermore praising him and saying,
We ascribe to thee, O LORD, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power; for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Thou art worthy, O LAMB OF GOD, to receive divine power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing; for thou hast by thy perfect obedience made thyself acceptable to the Fa. THER, sanctified us by thy blood, and redeemed us from eternal death.
Glory and power be unto Him that sitteth on the throne of the infinite, invisible, incomprehensible God, and unto the LAMB for ever and ever * !
I think it must clearly appear to you, that this kind of adoration of the Son is perfectly consistent with the worship of the Father, and that the Father is honoured in the Son.
We will now see how the Apostles proceeded to act after their Lord's ascension,
THE DISCIPLES ELECT ANOTHER APOSTLE IN THE
ROOM OF JUDAS ISCARIOT.
From Acts, Chap. i. And in those days (after Curist was ascended into
* The former part of the 1st chap. of St. John's Gospel, and the ist chap, of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, will, if read in this place, throw great light on the Prophecies and Revelations con. tained in the two foregoing Sections, and illustrate the doctrine here attempted to be inculcated, VOL. VI,