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"he witnessed a good confession*.” Our Lord calls himself also in the same passage,
" the beginning of “the creation of God." He is styled by Saint Pault, “the first-born of every creature," and "the first “ fruits from the dead." But here he is also intitled “ The Ruler of the kings of the earth.” But such is the prophetic character of the Messiah in Scripture, and such he is eminently shewn to be in the sequel of this prophecy s.
But in this salutation, grace and peace descend, by the prayers of the pious writer, not only from God the Father and the Son, but also from a third Power ; “ from the seven spirits which are before the “ throne." To understand this expression, we must refer to chap. iv. 5. where, in the glorious representation of the Deity, are exhibited “ seven lamps of “ fire burning before him, which are the seven spirits " of God." But in chapter iii. 1. God the Son describes himself as “having the seven spirits of God;" and when || he appears under the emblem of the Lamb, he is described as having
seven eyes, which are the “seven spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth." But what can we account this universal, holy Spirit of God, proceeding from the Father and the Son, to be, but that which, in the plainer language of divine Scripture is called the Holy Ghost? The comment of Vene
* 1 Tim. vi. 13. The range opodoryiar, the noble, honourable, excel. lent confession. The primitive Christians, who suffered martyrdom in the Gallic churches, considered the title of Martyr as appropriate to their Lord, and were unwilling to take it to themselves. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. v. c, 2. + Col, i, 15.
1 1 Cor. xv. 23. § Ch. xviii. 14. xix. 16.
Il Ch. v. 6.
rable Bede on this passage appears forcible and just, “ Unum spiritum dicit septiformem, quæ est perfec“ tio et plenitudo*.
So that this salutation, divested of its prophetical form, and of that imagery which had been derived to it from the scenery of the vision, will be found equivalent to the epistolary and plainer language of Saint Paul, “ The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, “and the love of God, and the fellowship of the “Holy Ghost be with you t.”
But why, in this passage, is the general order of Scripture inverted? Why is the Holy Spirit mentioned before the Son? This may in part be accounted for, from the impression remaining upon the imagination of the writer, after he had seen the vision. For in chap. iv. 5, where the symbol of the seven spirits was seen, it had appeared before the throne, closely connected with the glory of the Father, and previously to the entrance of the Son, under the emblem of the Lamb. Another reason may be, that the character and description of the Son is reserved separately for the last, there to be longer dwelt
because he appears throughout the vision to be the prime agent, and the grand object of the whole prophecy ; he who, alone of the persons in the Godhead, has taken our human nature upon him, and visibly fought our battles against the common enemy. He is de
• " The one Holy Spirit is here described as sevenfold, by which is intimated in prophetic language fulness and perfection." The most ancient commentators, as reported or followed by Andreas Cæsariensis, by Arethas, Primasius, and Victorinus, understood by the seven spirits and seven lamps of fire (ch. iv. 5,) the Holy Spirit, or the seven Charismata thereof, mentioned in Isaiah xi. 2. + 2 Cor. xiii. 13.
scribed to us here, ist, As in his suffering state; when, having taken the lowly form of a servant, by his sufferings he bare witness to the truth. 2dly, As the first fruits from the grave*; when, triumphing over sin and death, he obtained the victory for his faithful followers. 3dly, As King of kingst ; when, fulfilling all the prophecies, which predict the Messiah, he shall reduce all nations under his easy yoke, utterly subduing all worldly tyranny and usurped dominion. The two first of these offices and characters he hath already fulfilled; the first during his earthly life, the second at his resurrection; the last remains to be completed ; and is peculiarly the subject of the prophecies in this book [.
Ver. 6. The Dorology, or Glorification, which in other of the sacred epistles is no unusual sequel to the Salutation, comes next in order ; but is more especially addressed to the Son, as the grand agent in the vision. The love of Christ towards mankind, and the ablution of their sins by his precious blood, are topics celebrated universally in the New Testament; but no
• I Cor. xv. 20. + i Tiin. vi. 15.
For the change of case, which the Greek reader will remark in this passage, - áno 'lvor o pagls," let him consult Grotius on Mark vi. 40. whu points out such construction, not only in the scriptural, but also in the clussical writers; but this grammatical inaccuracy is more appropriate to the Hebrew-Greeks. And the occurrence of guch in the Apocalypse, is so far from inilitating, as bath been re. presented, against the authenticity of the work, that it tends to establish its authority, by placing it upon the same footing in this respect with other books of the sacred canon. For, ungrammatical Greek, or at least Greek of impure idiom, will be found in most of them, though perhaps not so abundant as in the Apocalypse.
where more copiously than in the writings of Saint John. That he hath' prepared for his faithful servants a kingdom, and appointed them priests unto God, though more immediately connected with the subject of this prophecy, are not novel ideas, but purely scriptural. A kingdom is proposed for the servants of Christ*, they are to reign with himt. And in Exod. xix. 5, God promises to Israel that by obedience, they shall become "a kingdom of priests, a ' peculiar treasure unto God above all nations, a holy
nation I." In Isaiah, ch. lxi. 6, this promise is extended to the Christian times and to the converted Gentiles, whom Saint Peter also calls an holy priesthood, a royal priesthood ; in which latter expression, as in the words of Moses, the two ideas of kings and of priests are brought together. In the Septuagint the words of Moses are rendered by Βασιλειον Ιηρατευμα, the very expression of Saint Peter, which is also to be found in some MSS. of the Apocalypse; but the true text seems to be given by Dr. Griesbach from the Alexandrine and other ancient MSS. confirmed by the readings in the Fathers whom he has quoted ||.
Ver. 7. In this verse the prophet, enraptured with his subject, passes from the glorification of Christ, which he had delivered in the form of a prayer, to the description of the awful event, when (as foretold in Scripture) he shall come in the clouds of heaven, in
* Mat. xxv. 34. Luke xii. 32.
ll To which we may add, that the manuscript used by Tertullian in the second century, seems to have presented the same reading. Tertullian. de Monogam. cap. 12. M 2
the glory of the Father, to preside at the general judgment*.
They who have pierced him," are not only the Jews, who demanded his crucifixion of Pilate, but likewise all those who wound him by their transgressions, who “ crucify to themselves the Son of God “afresh, and put him to open shamef.”
Ver. 8. In the same spirit of exultation he continues to set forth the supreme dignity of the Son of God, ascribing to him, as our Lord had done to himself in the vision f, those sublime attributes of the Father by which he fills all eternity, and exercises all powerg. This application of the attributes of the Father to the Son, pervades all the sacred writings of the New Testament, and is represented to be by communication, or inheritance. “ As the Father has life in himself,
so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. “I and my Father are one. I am in the Father and " the Father in me. All things that the Father hath " are mine. Whatsoever things the Father doeth, " these also doeth the Son likewise. The Father judgsi cth no man, but hath committed all judgment to " the Son." These are our Lord's words, as recorded by Saint John, according to whom he was " in the
See Dan. vii. 13. Mat. xxiv. 30. Mar. xiii. 26. xiv. 62. but more particularly Zech. xii. 10. where these images occur.
+ Heb. vi. 6.-.lo confirmation of the received opinion, that St. John the Evangelist was the author of the Apocalypse, we may observe, that očexsylagay is the very word used by that Apostle in his Gospel, (xix. 37,) and is a word used by no other writer of the New Testament.
: Ch. 1. ii. 13.