Imagens da página


gifts were conferred on the Church. inheritance. The present portion The feast of tabernacles, instituted, of the Church is therefore called according to the general belief of the kingdom and patience of Jesus the Jews, to celebrate the day of Christ.creation or in honor of God as King According to the tradition of the and Creator, (that is of the manifesa Church, John had virtually suffered tation of the First person of the martyrdom, by being cast into a Trinity by Christ in his regal cha- cauldron of boiling oil, out of which racter) as yet wants its antitype ; he was miraculously delivered unbut to this completion of all the de. hurt; or had been otherwise presersigns of God which were shadowed ved in life, according to the saying forth in the legal dispensation, many of our Lord concerning him ; and he of those who are well instructed in was now suffering banishment in the the word of God hope to come, (how. desert island that is called Patmos, ever these hopes may be slighted for the word of God and for the by others,) assured that not one jot testimony of Jesus Christ," or tittle of either the law or the Having already borne faithful tesprophets, commencing with the in- timony in his gospel to the glory stitutions of Moses and ending with and divinity possessed by Jesus Christ the Revelation of St. John, shall in heaven before the world was formpass away until all be fulfilled.

ed, he was privileged to bear testiThis declaration, “ I am Alpha mony in the Apocalypse to the reand Omega,” is also from its nature velation of that glory upon earth ; a commencing as well as a terminat- and having been found faithful in ing text; and, occurring twice sub- that which he had already received, sequently, connects this opening ad- more was committed unto him. He dress to the seven churches of the whose love for his master's cause Eastern empire with the conclusion was so great, that, when he was both of the Trumpet history relating through age incapable of any other to the Eastern empire, Rev. xxi. 6, service, he used (it is said) to cause and of the little open book contain himself to be carried to the place of ing the history of the Church, public worship, and there exhort Rev. XXII. 13.

his people in this short sentence Verse 9. St. John next begins “ little children love one another," his narrative of the circumstances was now indeed apparently cut off under which he saw the vision ; de. from all means of usefulness. But signating himself as the brother and God, who accepts the desires of the companion in tribulation" of those . heart,—whose ways are not whom he was about to address. our ways, nor his thoughts as our Having himself been made acquaint- thoughts—was pleased, even in this ed with suffering, he was the bet- place of his solitary banishment, to ter prepared to “comfort others with make him the instrument of conferthe same comfort wherewith he him- ring upon the Church one of the self was comforted of God.” The most valuable gifts they have ever kingdom of Jesus Christ, of which received ;-a book which (though in he speaks, being connected with pa- early times rejected and since much tience was one not then manifested; despised, like him whose power and " for what a man possesseth, why glory it reveals,) must rise in estidoth he yet hope for : but if he mation till it shall be acknowledged possess it not, then doth he with

as altogether lovely. Thus the Chrispatience wait for it,” as a future tian may often be made the means


[ocr errors]

of unexpected usefulness ; as we voice, he turns round and beholds have seen in later times, that it Christ in a priestly garment walkwas one in prison, prohibited from ing amidst the seven golden candlethe exercise of his public ministry, sticks situated in the holy place who pourtrayed for the use of many of the temple, which represents the generations the walk or pilgrimage true spiritual church on earth ; intiof the individual christian through mating thereby his continued and “ the wilderness of this world.” watchful care over it. The golden

Verses 10, 11. On the Lord's girdle probably answers to the emday,being that on which he had broidered girdle which the High risen from the dead, and was most Priest wore. His head and his wont, even before his ascension, to · hairs white like wool, as white as manifest himself to his Church on ' snow,” agrees with the description earth,—and which has often been given in Daniel of the ancient of experienced by them as a day of days,His eyes as a flame of fire,peculiar privileges,-St. John, being piercing through all concealment, under the powerful and sensible in- and discerning the thoughts and in. fluence of the Holy Spirit, (like Eze- tents of the heart; and

his feet" kiel when he saw the visions of the shining with the splendor of molLord,) heard suddenly behind him the ten brass “as if they burned in a awful voice of Christ, here compared furnace,” and the awfulness of his to that of a trumpet (as it is else- voice being as the sound of the where compared to “ the sound of mighty waters of the deep, form many waters,'') saying, “ I am Alpha altogether a description of the and Omega ; the first and the last : most sublime nature. And as he

What thou seest, write in a book, walks amidst the seven candlesticks, and send it the seven Churches or churches, so he holds in his hand, * which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, or keeps under his special protection, and unto Smyrna, and unto Perga- the seven stars,representing the mos, and unto Thyatira, and unto ministers of these churches. While,

Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and as THE WORD OF GOD, there goeth ' unto Loadicea.

forth from his mouth“ a sharp twoThe vision to which the attention edged sword ;” and his countenance of the prophet was now called, and as when he revealed himself to St. with which the revelation properly Paul journeying towards Damascus, commences, is calculated to impress as the sun shining in his us with a deep conviction of the strength.The various particulars glory of Christ : for (as in that re- of this prefatory vision we will not corded by the prophet Isaiah, when now notice, as they are again introhe saw his glory and testified of duced in the epistles to the seven him,) it is evident that it is the Lord Churches, to each of which Christ of Hosts—the Almighty and eternal addresses himself under some one or Jehovah, one with the Father—who more peculiar characteristic derived speaks, and here graciously directs from it. the apostle to write in a book and Verses 17, 18. The apostle, though to send to the seven Churches in he had been wont to repose on the Asia, over which he more immedi. bosom of his Lord and master durately presided, an account of the ing his humiliation, was so overcome vision.

with the glory of the vision, that Verses 12–16. The attention of straightway there remained no more the apostle being arrested by this strength in him, and " he fell at his


feet as dead.” But our Lord, mani. the interpretations which have apfesting the same love and tenderness peared, there has been no chronas he did after his resurrection to- ological one : no commentator, as wards those whom he still termed far as I am acquainted, having behis brethren, laid his right hand fore myself, in the year 1815, nor upon him, saying, Fear not, I am indeed since, paid any attention to the first and the last,—possessing this verse, as describing in regular infinite and eternal power; and all chronological order the several parts that power engaged in behalf of my of which the Apocalypse consists. Church. I am " he that liveth and Though they have then failed, as is was dead,who have manifested my universally acknowledged, in giving love to my Church in that I have a satisfactory interpretation of the died for them; and my power, in book, I affirm that, humanly speakthat I again live, having overcome ing, it is solely because they have death," and am alive for evermore,not sought it according to the clear to make intercession for them, and and simple directions of the text. to obtain in them a like victory; Verse 20. In the concluding verse and have the keys of hell and of of this chapter, our Lord explains death;”—all power being given unto more directly what was designated me in heaven and in earth, that I by the things which the Apostle may be the author of salvation to had seen : namely, the preceding all them who believe.

manifestation of himself as walkVerse 19. In the directions given ing amidst the seven golden canto the apostle, as to what he was to dlesticks, and holding the seven write, we have the first regular di- stars in his right hand. And he division of the book into three parts rects his attention particularly to viz. First-The things which he had "the mystery"or hidden signification seen, or the vision of Christ as des- implied under these visible symbols ; cribed in the preceding verses 9 to namely, the watchful care which 18. Secondly, The things which he exercises over his churches, and are" or the epistles to the seven his power to support and save their churches which are in Asia, exhort- ministers, who were naturally more ing them to faithfulness and patience exposed than others to the fury of under their sufferings during the pe- their pagan adversaries; because riod of Pagan persecution contained such revelation was peculiarly adapin chaps, 11, 111. And, thirdly, The ted to their present circumstances, things which shall be hereafter," as tending to encourage and supcommencing with chap. IV. (where port them under their trials. Thus they are called “ things which must does every passage which we have be hereafter”) and of which the re- yet considered speak the love and mainder of the volume consists. condescension of Christ in a man

And here I cannot but notice the ner calculated to enforce the exhorerror of the Church in failing to ac- tation of the Apostle, Rejoice in knowledge the general chronological the Lord alway and again I say, character of the book, so clearly Rejoice.” And if the sense of such pointed out in this first designation surpassing glory and of our own of it, as consisting of the past intro. exceeding sinfulness and unworthi. ductory vision, the present afflicted ness should dispose us to adopt the state of the persecuted churches, and language of Peter- “ Depart from the future vindication of their cause me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord;" by Christ. For however numerous let us reflect, that the glories of Christ are manifested by contrast. selves words spoken to an inspired It is the exceeding height of his Apostle by Christ manifested in his glory, condescending to the depth glory, let us consider, that they of our humiliation ; his infinite ho- were also addressed to his Church liness contrasted with our depravity; at an earlier period, when he said, his love, with our ingratitude ; his “ Fear not little flock, for it is your willingness to draw near to us, with Father's good pleasure to give you our unwillingness to come to him; the kingdom ;” and were again spowhich alone can display, in any ad- ken by an angelic messenger to a equate measure, the infinite attri.

of women-

" Fear not, butes and perfections of God. Let I know whom ye seek.” Let our us then draw near unto him in full conscience only bear us witness, assurance of faith, and hear him ad- that in all things, but more especidressing us also, saying, “ Fear not.” ally in examining this blessed vo. Or if we hesitate to apply to our- lume, we seek the Lord Jesus.

Jas, H. FRERE.



No. I.

St. Paul intimates to the Corinth- did reprove the evil, of erring through ians, that he had made it part of his excess of discipline.c business “ not to be ignorant of the This warning of the Spirit, by the devices of Satan ;'a and warns them apostle is of increasing importance to be watchful, in a case wherein in the present day ; for at the time they were liable to be deceived by of the end the devil not only comes him, lest Satan should get an ad. down from heaven having great vantage over them.” Their danger wrath, because he “knoweth that was not of an ordinary character ; he hath but a short time ;'f but he for the wily adversary does not usu- falls from heaven especially as Lually tempt the righteous by those cifer or the light-bearer, the son of means which he employs to entice the morning ;s which seems to intiworldly and ungodly persons ; well mate that he likewise comes with knowing that they are no longer more than usual subtlety, and “ with calculated to succeed with the form. all deceivableness of unrighteousHis object is, to entangle and ness.”h

ness.”h For now is Satan himself ensnare them with the specious ap- eminently “ transformed into an anpearance of what is good ; as in the gel of light;”i and “his ministers instance alluded to, the Corinthians also are transformed as the ministers were, on the one hand, in danger of of righteousness :''k for the deceivfalling into the devices of Satan, by ableness of unrighteousness appa

bearing them which were evil”b rently consists in putting on the through a false notion of charity; semblance of righteousness itself, and in danger, on the other hand, and clothing itself with a glare of of being urged by him, when they spurious light so dazzling, as to de. a 2 Cor. 11. 11. b Rev. 11. 2. c Compare 1 Cor, v. 3—6, 13. f Rev. xii, 12.

& Isaiah xiv. 12. h 2 Thess. 11. 10. 2 Cor. xi. 14, k Ibid. v, 15.


ceive if it were possible the very opposite character ; as where manelect ;-and really deceiving and kind are found existing in a bar. blinding the minds of numbers, who, barous, untutored, and unevangelized after all, have only “a name to live.” condition : but even in those cases Ah ! little does the world suspect, where they seem to be guided only that much of what they call charity, by brute sense, it is “ still the wis. and liberality, and mercy, is really dom of the flesh” by which they are the deceivableness of unrighteousness; moved; which wisdom is in most that the boasted love of liberty, of instances more or less varied in its equality, of knowledge, and the zeal aspect and effects by superadded for reform, so often on the tongues notions derived from some existing of men, is, in the great majority of superstition. From the early period instances, nothing more than the at which our notions are imbibed, strong delusion of those, who“ while many are unconscious of the princithey promise liberty, are themselves ples which move them; for they the servants of corruption.”l have, in most instances, impercep

Persuaded then of the importance tibly impressed the mind; to say of great jealousy and watchfulness nothing of the fact, that the great against the artifices and subtlety of majority of mankind live without Satan, I purpose in the course of any observation of what passes daily two or three papers to point out in their minds, and are still less acwhat appear to

me to be some customed to make inquiry into reof the devices which he is so speci- mote causes of action. When indeed ally practising in these last times ; some new opinion is first presented and in regard to the consequences to their notice, they cannot help of which, the minds of many do not but observe it; because it probably appear sufficiently impressed. comes into collision with some other

The first I shall notice is connec- notion previously entertained. And ted with the liberty of the Press; it is at such times that the actual —which is entirely a question of power of opinions is made manifest; modern times, having arisen out of since those new opinions will either the invention of printing, to which for the moment stir up their minds it is necessarily subsequent in date. to resist them, under the impression

Perhaps nothing exercises a more that they are barren or pernicious ; constant and powerful influence up- or, if they fall in with their views, on the moral condition of society, they will, in some respect or other, than expressed opinions. Viewed ab- exercise an influence upon the constractedly, opinions may appear to duct, by giving an increased or a be harmless and unimportant; but diminished impetus to their energies, when we come to look at the prac- as the case may be. tical working of human nature, and But the most remarkable cirto trace back actions to their origi. cumstance connected with the innal source, we shall find that they fluence of opinion, is the way in are intimately connected with cer. which the frequent and allowed extain first principles and notions from pression of sentiments affect the which they generally flow. It is mind, even when those sentiments true, that numerous evil actions ap- are at first revolting to the mind. pear to arise more from the absence Sometimes men reject an opinion of certain principles, than from the merely because it is the sentiment distinct presence of opinions of an of some solitary individual, or of a

1 2 Pet. I1, 19.

« AnteriorContinuar »