Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

livid - green

was

7 Kai öta vuuge 17 And when he opened 1 7 And when he had

την σφραγίδα την the fourth seal, I opened the fourth seal, τετάρτην, ήκεσα heard the fourth li I heard the voice of το τετάρλα ζώα ving-creature saying,

the fourth beast say, λέγοντος· "Έρχε.

8

come;" And [I be 8 Come, and see. And & [Kzition] xj ide, held] and lo! a pale I looked, and behold, ίππα χλωρος, και

horse ! a pale horse ; and his ο καθήμενος επάνω and be that sate upon name that sat on him αυτά, όνομα αυτό him! his name

was Death, and hell Θάναλος και ο άδης

Death ; and Ilell fol followed with bim: ήχολέθει με αυτά . lowed with him. And and power was given και εδόθη αυτώ έξω

power was given unto unto them, over the σία επί το τέταρίων

him over the fourth fourth part of the Tūs vñs, ámoxlsives

part of the earth, to earth to kill with εν ρομφαία, και εν

slay by sword, and by sword, and with λιμά, και ένα θανάτου, famine, and by pes hunger, and with και υπό των θηρίων

tilence, and under the death, and with the ons vins.

beasts of the earth. beasts of the earth.

Ver. 8. A pale licid-green horse.] Xiagos, in the common translation rendered by the adjective pale, is used in the Greek Scriptures to express the colour of grassy-green ; which, though beautiful in the clothing of the trees and fields, is very unseemly, disgusting, and even horrible, when it appears upon flesh ; it is there the livid colour of corruption. I have therefore translated it with this additional epithet. By Homer, the epithet eiwgos is applied to fear*, as exXhangoy Sros, Odyss. M. 243.

pressive

pressive of that green paleness which overspreads the human countenance, upon the seizure of that passion. And the epithet pale may be sufficient to express this colour, as affecting the face of man, but seems inadequate to convey the force of Xhwgos, when used to describe the hue of this ghastly horse.

There is a sublime climax, or scale of terrific images, exhibited in the colours of the horses in the four first seals, denoting the progressive character of the Chrisian times. It begins with pure white; then changes to the fiery and vengeful; then to black, or mournful: and when we imagine that nothing more dreadful in colour can appear, then comes another gradation much more terrific, even this “deadly pale* And the imagery is Scriptural, as well as sublime. Striking resemblance to it may be observed in the following very poetical passage : " Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, “their polishing was of Sapphire. — Their visage is blacker than a coal, darker than blackness; they

are not known in the streets; their skin cleaveth to their bones, it is withered t.” Such a gradation was there also, from heavenly-pure to foul and horrible, in the Christian church.

Ib. Death.] This grisly king of terrors, so mounted, is very different from the benign conqueror, who came forth on the opening of the first seal, seated on the white horse ; yet he is not described; the name only is given, and the picture of him is left to be supplied by the imagination of the reader, where (such is the natural horror of dissolution) he stands delineated in terrific colours. Death is frequently personified in Scripture, as an invader, a con

• Shakespeare's Hamlet.

+ Lament. iv. 7, 8.

queror,

queror, a king*. Such he now appears in formidable power.

Ib. Hell.] Death in his victorious career is followed by Hell; for a description of which, in conjunction with death, see note, chap. i. 18. When death and hell are spoken of as acting together, the utmost destruction and desolation are implied t. Consequently this is a period of great slaughter and devastation : but these are not necessarily confined to the lives of men, but, in the metaphorical language of Scripture, may destroy also whatever can prolong and make life happy. And it is the most dire work of death and of hell to destroy in the heart of man those seeds of religion, which are there planted to grow up unto eternal life. In this sense, the Church of Sardis is said to be dead I. Persons, in whom the spiritual life in Christ is extinct, are said to be in the shadow of death; and they who promote this extinction in themselves and others, are called “chil"dren of hell .” And the recovery of such persons to true religion, is described as a resurrection from the dead ||. Conformably to these images, death and hell, under this seal, are described as making ravage, not only on the natural lives of men, but also on their spiritual lives, and on that pure and vital Religion, which supports them. The Christian Religion, which had begun its progress in white array, and under the guidance of apostolical teachers, is now not only so changed in colour and appearance, as to be scarcely

* Jer. ix. 21. Rom. v. 12, 14.
+ See Prov, v. 5, Cant. viii. 6. Is, v. 13, 14. Heb. ij. 5.
1 Cb. iii. 1. where see the note.

Matt, iv, 16. Luke i. 79. Matt. xxiii. 15.
| Ezek. xxxvii. &c.

discernible

discernible as the same; but is under the guidance of deadly and infernal directors, who destroy in her all that remains of primitive purity.

Ver. 8. Over the fourth part of the earth.] This is the only passage of the Prophecy, in which a fourth part of the earth, or a fourth part of any other thing, is mentioned : the third pari frequently occurs.

It may perhaps be found, that the countries which underwent the rage of this seal, bore this proportion to the rest of the inhabited, or, at least, Christian world. The dark ignorance, corruption, and destruction of Christian liberty, under the third seal, extended generally through Christendom: but the slaughter and devastation (which is to be explained under the ensuing note) reached only to certain parts.

Ib. To slay by sword, and by famine, and by pestilence, and under the beasts of the earth.] These will be found the same with the four “sore judg“ments” of God, denounced against a sinful land by the prophet Ezekiel *Let the reader compare this passage of the Apocalypse with the Greek of the Septuagint, and he will acknowledge the resemblance. He will be aware also, that the word Sævælos, death, should be translated pestilence, in which sense it is used by the prophet; as it is also, in above thirty other places, by the Septuagint translators, to express the word 77 pestis t. Pestilence, being in an extraordinary degree deadly, obtained the general name of death. These therefore being “the four sore “ judgments of God," (containing generally all the iustruments of grievous suffering,) and being expressed by the number four, which implies universality or

Chap. xiv. 21.

+ See Trommii Concord.

completion,

completion I, we may collect, that all kinds of devastation and destruction were to break forth and ravage under this seal :-

Vestibulum ante ipsum primisque in faucibus orci,
Luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curæ;
Pallentesque habitant Morbi, tristisque Senectus,
Et Metus, et malesuada fames, et turpis Egestas,
Terribiles visu formæ ! Letumque Laborque ;
--... mortiferumque adverso in limine Bellum,
Ferreique Eumenidum thalami, et Discordia demum
Vipereum crinem vittis innexa cruentis.t

ANEÏD. vi. 273.

These dire evils, thus personified by the poet's. imagination, arise from the fabled hell of heathen antiquity. And in this picture, we may see a strong resemblance to those evils let loose upon the Christian world, under the second, third, and fourth seals of this Prophecy. Under the second and third, they begin to appear, and some of them are in action : but in the fourth, their united force is exerted, to ravage all before them. For, to speak without me. taphor, when (under the second seal) uncharitable controversies and ambitious dissentions had banished that peace, which true Religion is calculated to promote; and dark ignorance, and superstition, and domineering priestcraft, (under the third seal,) had fixed a burthensome yoke on the necks of the disciples, and

See note, ch, iv. 6.
+ Just in the gate, and in the jaws of Hell

Revengeful Cares and sullen Sorrows dwell;
And pale Diseases, and repining Age,
Want, Fear, and Famine's unresisted rage,
Forms terrible to view ! -- and Death, and Strife,
And deadly War, that foe to human life:
The Furies' iron beds, Discord that shakes
Her hissing tresses, and unfolds her snakes.

« PreviousContinue »