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The idea, “ And we shall reign on the earth,” is commanding; and should ever awaken in Christians new and holy zeal. Their sea of glass too, their luminous fountain for washing from all sin, should set their souls in holy fire of love and gratitude. We are in ourselves defiled; and our deep innate depravity too often fills with vanity, folly, and guilt. This every true Christian daily laments; and he feels his need of cleansing grace! and blessed be God, our sea of glass is ever at hand! We may there daily and hourly wash and be clean. 66 Washi thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved.” o 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin !"
This sea for cleansing is not only pellucid; but is ample and free for all. God's kings and priests wash here without defiling the fountain ; which is ever clear as crystal, like the waters of the river of life in the new Jerusalem.
Oye kings and priests of the Lord; dwell on the broad and ample brims of this sea of glass; (see chap. xv. 2 ;] and keep yourselves pure. It is striking to find, that the church, there, at the opening of the Millennium, is noted as standing on this sea of glass. Its brims are so ample, and firm, that all may, as the kings and priests of God, take their station upon it, continually, to enjoy its waters of salvation.
They now seem to have David's request truly fulfilled in themselves; “ One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire at his temple.” Let us labour, let us pray, that we may enjoy this blessedness! Then shall we indeed answer to the description of Paul, “ And hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” And then may we obey the following gracious direction; " Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. 'The Lord, who made Heaven and earth, bless thee out of Zion!”
LECTURE V I.
The way was now prepared to commence the unfolding of events then future.
Ver. 1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
Jesus Christ broke the seal on the last edge of the outer leaf of the book; and, unrolling the leaf, he presented to view its contents ; upon which, it seemed to thunder. Thunder is a noted emblem of war; and wars tremendous were about to commence.
One of the emblems of the gospel ministry officially and audibly said, “ Come and see !" We here learn, that when new and interesting events take place, the minister of Christ is to call the attention of his people to them. Come, and behold what God has done, or is doing. “Ye can discern the face of the sky; how is it that ye cannot discern the signs of the times ?” “ None of the wicked will understand; but the wise will understand.” Of the wicked, Inspiration says, " Thy judgments are far above out of his sight. But it is not to be so with the people of God! they are to behold the fulfilment of the sacred scriptures.
Paul at Thessalonica reasoned three Sabbath days upon the prophecies, to show that the events then taking place before their eyes, relative to Jesus Christ and his evangelical kingdom, were but the fulfilling of ancient prophecies of these events.
Ver. 2. And I saw, and behold a white horse ; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer.
We have here a figurative view of great judgments and mercies, which should distinguish the morning of the Christian dispensation. A white horse is an emblem of victory and triumph. We have in this figure a striking view of the power of God in destroying his enemies, and promoting his cause, which should distinguish that early period.
This rider on the white horse was, no doubt, an emblem of our Lord Jesus Christ, marching forth as the Captain of our salvation. “ The Lord is a man of war." “ The Lord shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great." His crown is an emblem of his official glorification; and his bow, of the weapons of his indignation. He will give victory and salvation to his followers. His going forth, conquering and to conquer, assures us of the glorious triumphs of his gospel, in the ruin of its contending foes, and the salvation of its friends ; in the multitudes of its early converts, and their stability in the order of the gospel. Jesus Christ had predicted these very triumphs to take place at this time, when he said to his disciples, “Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here who shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” This event, as it took place upon that generation, was the destruction of the Jewish nation, forty years after Christ; and the attendant for more extensive propagation of the gospel. These things did indeed take place upon that generation as a mystical coming of Christ. And this twofold event may be viewed as a lively fulfilment of the figure in our text under the first seal.
The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus,* the Roman,
* Should it be objected, that the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Jews, was probably past when the text was written; it may be anwered that this, if it were a fact, would form no objection to the exposition given. It is a notable fact, in this book, that when a series of events is to be exhibited, the commencement of which is already past when the figure of the series is given ; the account goes back to the commencement of the series, though it were then past.
It will be shown that such liberty is repeatedly taken in this book of prophecies. The reason is obvious : it is to give the whole series of events, the commencement of which is already past. No objection can lie against this, which is of any avail.
was an event which would not be overlooked in the commencement of the seals, where things of great interest to the church were to be given, from early in the Christian
Christ had predicted his coming in the destruction of the Jews, and in his remarkable propagation of his gospel, in Matt. xxiv, Mark xiii, and Luke xxi. And it is most natural to expect, that the series of events in the seals would open with these.
The figure in our text to denote the going forth of Christ as the Captain of our salvation, for the united designs of judgment, and of mercy, are most appropriate, and are well known in the sacred oracles. As Psalm xlv. 3-6: “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, 0 most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty: and in thy majesty ride prosperously because of iruth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies, whereby the people fall under thee.” Hab. iii. 3: “ God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. Before him went the pestilence; and burning coals went forth at his feet. Thou didst ride upon thy horses, and thy chariots of salvation. Thy bow was made quite naked. The mountains saw thee, and were troubled; the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high !"
In Rev. xix. 11-14, we find Jesus Christ riding forth upon his white horse of victory and salvation against Antichrist, at the battle of that great day of God Almighty, as will be shown on the passage. That passage and event furnish us with an argument in favour of the exposition given of our text. In the text, Christ rides for the destruction of the infidel persecuting Jews (the type of Antichrist), and for the subsequent propagation of his gospel. And, in the similar figure in Rev. xix., he rides forth against Antichrist himself, to sweep the field of his enemies, and prepare
way for his own millennial kingdom. The two great events,--of ruin to the enemies of God, and of salvation to his friends-are usually found in close union through the prophetic scriptures. Our blessed Lord was thus anointed (Isa. lxi. 1, 2;) “ to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; and the day of vengeance of our God." The figure in our text accordingly com
bines things upon this scale; ruin to the hostile Jews, and enlargement to the Christian church.
Christ rides forth “conquering and to conquer !" The King of Zion has conquered his foes, is conquering, and will conquer them. And vain and mad are the hopes of his enemies for success against him. As well might stubble fully dry dream of vanquishing a glowing furnace, by flinging itself upon it. God will “ go through, and will burn them together!" "What do ye imagine against the Lord ?” “Our God is a consuming fire.” The Jews found him to be thus in the destruction of Jerusalem and of their commonwealth. They were destroyed as being antichristian ; and their destruction was a lively type of the final destruction of the great Antichrist in the last days before the Millennium. Hence the similarity between the event in our text, as type, and that in Rev. xix. as antitype, as will be seen.
All ye saints of the Lord, rejoice, even in these perilous times of the last days! Your Captain of salvation is with you, conquering and to conquer! He cheers the souls of his followers with the kind address, “ Fear not! It is I; be not afraid." " I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
Ver. 3. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4. And there went out another horse that was red: and
power was given him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
The seal of the second leaf being broken, and the contents presented, another emblem of the gospel ministry says, “ Come and see !" Each minister of Christ should be able to answer the question, “ Watchman, what of the night ?" And exhibiting the signs of the times, he should in some fit manner say, “ Come and see !" “ Come, behold the works of the Lord.”
This red horse and his rider--commissioned to take peace from the earth, and holding a great sword-furnish