Imágenes de páginas

scape his righte

di them over, some :, fome to be tortured w ! : fome to be poisoned

and some to murde

.. ape nis righteous judgment; for he gave

nover, fome to be flain in the wars; e to be tortured with horrible diseases;

to be poisoned; some to be murdered; ome to murder themselves. Thus did ne avenger shew himself from heaven,

Cory reports, and pay home to the full hele persecutors of his church, making en examples of his wrath, and spectacles his vengeance to all nations.

And when he had opened the third leal, I heard the third beast say, Come

and see. Then I beheld, and lo a black "horie, and he that fat on him, had balances in his hand,' &c.

. By the black horse, famine and death is Tignified; for the black colour is a mournful sad colour, and what maketh men more pensive and sad than famine, and extreme hunger? for it is a thing intolerable; and therefore the Holy Ghost saith, they be "better that are killed with the sword,

than they that die of famine,' Lam. iv. 9. · He that fitteth on this horse, hath a balance

in his hand, which signifieth great penury

and scarcity of all things, but especially of - victuals, insomuch, that men must be put

on allowance, and their bread and drink must be delivered out by: weight and mea. sure, as is often the case with cities that are long besieged. This is the punishment o bread by declare the



which God threateneth in Leviticus xxvi. 6. and Ezekiel iv, 5. • That he would break • the staff of bread, and that teil women • should take in one oven, and deliver * bread by measure

Now to declare the grievousness of this famine, a voice comcth from the throne and from the angels, that a measure of "wheat should be for a penny, and three

measures of barley for a peniny:' the meafure here spoken of is a chenix, which some writers say, was as much as would serve a man for bread-corn for one day: And the Roman penny under Domitian, was always seven pence of our money. And ac that time the labouring man did work for a penny a-day, which would do little more than buy him bread-corn. How then mould his wife and children dc? whereas it is said, - wine and oil hurt thou not,' I take that it should rather be translated, “In wine ,' and oil thou shalt not do unjustly:' as the word will bear it. And the sense is, that in the state of corn and victual, they shall deal conscientiously and mercifully, not felling at the highest, luut rather at the lowelt rate now in the times of extreme scarcity.

Now all this is to be understood of that most grievous famine which we read to have been about the year of our Lord 316,

o fay and I love tha

L. And fundry times afterward. And all this

for the contempt of the gospel preached by Christ and his apostles upon the whitehorse, and the murdering of God's faints, by him upon the red-horse, and his instruments. So grievous and fearful a thing is the contempt of the gospel, and the persecuting of the saints. And God did most justly cause the world to smart for it, and make them with forrow enough to feel the punishment of the gospel rejected.,

And when he had opened the fourth * seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast * fay, Come and fee,' Rev. vi. 7.. .And I looked, and behold á pale horse, - and his name that fat on him was death,

and hell followed after him,' &c. ver. 8. į. This pale horfe signifieth the pestilence

and other contagious diseases, which God most justly brought upon the world for the contempt of the gospel, and the murdering of Christ and his apostles. And as I noted before out of the scriptures, that when God cometh either in mercy or judgment, he is said to come on horse-back, to noté his expedition and swiftness, both in the one and the other; fo, as before, Christ is upon the white horse, the devil upon the red-horse, famine upon the black horse: fo here' death and hell are said to be upon the pale horse;' for pestilence and death mak.

[ocr errors]

- eth men look pale; but being dead, he

faith hell followed. For afluredly, hell doth always follow the death of the body, ex. cepting thofe only whom Christ hath delivered from hell and dainnation by the power of his death. ;.,

. . · Thus then it is; the red horse with blood, the black horse with famine, the pale horse with pestilence, tave power given over the fourth part of the men to murder, kill, and flay; as all history do fhew, that for the rejecting of Christ and his gospel, these plagues were carried as it were on horseback, over a great part of the world. Now : as touching this famine and pestilence which fell out upon the opening of the third and fourth seals, they are to be referred unto those times especially, wherein 'the Huns, Goths and Vandals, and other barbarous nations which were the wasters of the world, did waste and destroy the Roman empire both far and near. Whereupon grew this famine, scarcity, and peltia. ·lence, and forange diseases here fpoken of, which happened about three hundred years after Christ. ..

And when he had opened the fifih feal, I faw under the altar, the fouls of them

that were killed for the word of God, land for the testimony which they main. stained, Rev. vi. g.

back, over te carried and his golpo

which te fourth seals, winecially, whether

. Here is discovered the state of the mar

tyrs after this life, and the condition of the spirits of all just and perfect men. For whereas it might be demanded, what bea came of all those heaps and multitudes of men which were slain for the testimony of Jesus in the ten persecutions, it is here anfwered, that they were under the altar..6 John in a vision feeth them under the • altar. That is, under the merciful protection of Christ in heaven, who for them and for us all, was made both altar, priest; and sacrifice. This altar Christ, is afterwards called the golden altar, which is • before the throne of God," Rev. viii. 3. So then it is clear, that the souls of the martyrs were with Christ in glory. For he faith to his disciples, where I am, there • fall you be also, John xiv. 3. And in another place he faith, If I were lifted up

from the earth, I should draw all men un-,' to me,' John xii. 32, that is all believers. . Then it followeth, that the souls of these

just and righteous men were in paradise, and in Abraham's bosóm, which is the very port and haven of salvation. For although the perfecuting emperors, and other tyrants of the earth, had power to kill their bodies, yet they had no power over their souls, as our Lord Jesus affirmeth.

« AnteriorContinuar »