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ever, it it necessary first to see it, which is not always practicable.
«The ordinary heat of the climate is extremely dangerous to the blood and lungs, and even to the skin, which blisters and peels from the flesh, affecting the eyes so much, that travellers are obliged to wear a transparent covering over them, to keep off the heat.'
If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done
in the dry? Luke xxiii. 31.
This is, very obviously, a proverbial expression; and agreeably to this idea, we find that the Jews frequently compared a good man to a green tree, and a bad man to a dead one; so that the meaning of the proverb is, "If an innocent person thus suffer, what will become of the wicked? or of those who are as fit for destruction as dry wood is for the fire?' Very similar to which are many passages in Scripture, divested of that proverbial term which Christ here uses. For example, Prov. xi. 31, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth; much more the wicked and the sinner.' Jer. xxv. 29; Ezek. ix. 6, &c.; and, to mention no more, in 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18, we read, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? To the above may be added Theophylact's comment: “If the Romans have done such things
towards me; a green tree, fruitful, and always flourishing, ever living through my divinity, and nourishing all by the fruits of my doctrine, what will they do to you, the people, a dry tree, void of all vital righteousness, and bringing forth no fruit? For, if ye possessed any vital energy of good, ye might, perhaps, be thought worthy of being spared; but now, as dry wood, ye will be cast into the fire and burned.' See Psal. i. 3. Jude, ver. 13. This mode of expression is not unusual with the Pagan writers. Apuleius speaks of one Emilianus thus: Tu vero, et id genus hominum qualis tu es, tanti revera estis quantum habetis; ut arbor infæcunda et infelix, &c. tanti est in precio, quanti lignum ejus in trunco. Pricæus observes, that this proverbial saying of Christ, is of the same form with that of Catullus: Quid facient crines, cum ferro talia cedunt? So also Seneca: Si illi, qui virtutem sequuntur, avari, libidinosi, ambitiosique sunt, quid vos estis, quibus ipsum nomen virtutis odio est? Had the Greek been devdgov, which is the proper word for a tree, the reading would have been intricate; but as we find Eurov, wood, the difficulty immediately vanishes.
Can we read this solemn passage, and not admire that love of Christ which induced him to submit to such treatment from men for our sakes, and not inquire, what sort of trees we are! whether trees of righteousness of the Lord's own planting in his vineyard, bringing forth fruit to his glory? or whether any of us may be mere dead wood, living in sin, and fit only to become fuel for the fire of Divine wrath?
Ezekiel ii. 10.
EZEKIEL's roll was written before and behind,' or on the face and the back.' This was not usual in the ancient volumes, or rolls of parchment, which were commonly written on one side, though sometimes, from the abundance of matter, on both. These latter were called by the Greeks οπισθογραφα βιβλια, * books written on the back, or outer side; and from them, by the Romans, Libri Opisthographi;t or as Juvenal, Scripti in Tergo, "books written on the back.' Rev. v. i, John “saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals;' which a learned writer of the present day thinks was the book of Daniel, who alone of all the prophets, was commanded to 'shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end;' and whose prophecies have a remarkable similarity to the contents of the book which John 'saw. Let us rejoice in the abundance of matter which the sacred roll of revelation contains, that we may understand the Scriptures, which are able to make us 'wise to salvation.'
ON JOHN'S EATING THE LITTLE BOOK. Rev. x. 10.
The Holy Spirit not only compares spiritual things with spiritual, but also spiritual things with natural, in order to remind us of the concerns of our souls, when we are attending to the things of the body.
Lucian, Vit. Auet. 9.
† Pliny, Ep, lü, 5,
# Sat. i.
John is said to eat the little book, in order to express that ardor of mind with which he received the Revelations; and to prevent a confusion of imagery, the contents are said to make his belly (not his soul) bitter. Dropping the figure, the expressions inform us of the joy with which John received the Revelations, and the grief of heart which the knowledge of its contents occasioned. The revelation would be as sweet as a letter from a dear and distant friend. Many years had elapsed, and many bitter trials had occurred, since John had leaned upon Jesus's breast; and now, in banishment and in tribulation for the truth's sake, he receive a letter from him whom his soul loveth. This communication would afford additional sweetness to John as it proved that he was still “that disciple whom Jesus loved;" being honored with the delivery of those secrets to the world, after all the other apostles were dead. O man, greatly beloved! While men in general are desirous of prying into futurity, good men are not a little anxious to be made acquainted with the mysteries of Providence, and the final issue of God's kingdom. And this desire would here meet with the utmost indulgence. This also would render the Revelations to John sweeter than honey or the honey-comb.
But when this pleasure had subsided; when the whole was understood, and completely digested, the knowledge of the contents of this book was sufficient to fill the mind of the apostle with the most pungent grief.
John saw that the godly among his own countrymen were sealing, by the angel who had the seal of the living God, in order to make way for the ruin of his VOL. III.
native country, the destruction of a great part of his brethren the Jews, and the dispersion, the long dispersion of all the rest. He also saw the great, the dreadful, and long apostasy from the Christian faith; the rise, the reign, and the abominations of the Man of Sin. These events were all clearly revealed to this beloved disciple. Wonder not then, that this revelation should fill his soul with such distress. The dreadful persecu. tions which would attend the church of Christ, from that time till the mystery of God should be finished, were all present in the view of John. He saw the flow. ing of that blood which has since been shed by Rome pagan, or Rome papal, in order to satiate and intoxicate the antichristian Whore. To render his distress complete, he was also presented with all those direful calamities which have since befallen the world, or shall ever befal it to the end of time; even the pouring out of the last plagues. All these evils he saw men would bring upon themselves, by neglecting, by opposing, or by corrupting the gospel. To think that Satan should so far succeed as to make even the Gospel of salvation the occasion of such evils!...... This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
PRAYER OF REV MR. ROMAINE.
Orhou Spirit of wisdom and of revelation, be with me whenever I read thy holy word! testify to me in it, and by it, of Christ Jesus, who he is, and what he is to n.e; and glorify the Father's love in him! Open thou mine