« PreviousContinue »
parallel passage in Isaiah, Bishop Lowth has written this judicious observation: These seem to be general images to express beauty, magnificence, purity, strength, and solidity, agreeably to the ideas of eastern nations; and to have never been intended to be strictly scrutinized, or minutely and particularly explained, as if they had each of them some moral and precise meaning." Nothing more seems intended than to afford some general, but lofty and sublime notion of the splendour of this superb and heavenly mansion, which the apostle Paul, following the words of the prophet Isaiah, (1 Cor. ii. 9; Isa. lxiv. 4.) represents to be beyond conception. And to describe the building, as composed of the very richest and most costly materials, yet such as few persons have seen, or can imagine,
Here the clear crystal, like the winter's ice,
And again, line 724:
Φυει δε κρυσταλλον, ιδ' ηἔρόεσσαν ἴασπιν.
And in these lines of the same author, are described several of the precious stones, which are figuratively employed to build the New Jerusalem:
Αλλοι δ' ιχνευουσιν ἐπι προβολησιν ἀναυρων
Some trace among the torrents' rifted beds
1 66 Eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those that love him."
is figuratively to say the same thing. Yet, that the reader may not confine his notions to earthly splendour only, at the twelve gates are twelve angels, and on each of the gates is inscribed a name of a tribe of Israel; and the foundation is raised (as in Eph. ii. 20; and 1 Pet. ii. 5,) "on the apostles and prophets; Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.' Every thing unclean and faulty is excluded from this city; whence we may deduce an additional proof that this prophecy is not to have its final completion in this world, where the good and the bad, the wheat and the tares, are to grow together until the end," (Matt. xiii. 40.) Some commentators have been led to a different interpretation, by observing that the new city descends from heaven, and is therefore, say they, upon earth: but this objection will be completely removed, by remarking that the earth, to which the heavenly Jerusalem descends, is not the earth we now inhabit. A new heaven and a new earth are produced ;-" Behold," says the Creator, "I make all things new," (ch. xx. 11; xxi. 1, 4, 5.) This vision therefore appears to exhibit the future mansions of the blessed. It succeeds the general judgment of the dead; and to no other mansion can in any wise be applied the glorious representation which describes the favoured inhabitants admitted to see "the face of God," and reigning for ever and ever, (ch. xxii. 4, 5.) Such is the city alluded to by the apostle to the Hebrews, who, speaking of this world, says, "here we have no continuing city, but seek one to come," (Heb. xi. 10, 16; xii. 22.) Agreeably to which, in this prophecy it is declared that there is "here no temple."
1 This figurative language thus applied, may be seen by consulting Lam. iv. 1-7; and 1 Cor. iii. 12-15.
2 See note, ch. vii. 4.
3 Compare 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
In this world, as now constituted, religion cannol subsist without her temples, without some externa mode of bringing men to God. But when "just men, made perfect, see face to face" the glories of their God, faith and hope, on which the worship is founded, being absorbed in reality, the nearer presence of the Deity will supersede the use of a temple. The superior light and knowledge, emanating from his glorious presence, will remove darkness and error, and the necessity of that stated worship, which is the ordinary means of preventing man from being estranged from his Maker. Here we know in part, and prophesy in part;" that is, imperfectly: "but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away."
Chap. xxii. Ver. 1. And he shewed me a river of water of Life, &c.] In a thirsty soil and hot climate, like that of Palestine, where most of the prophecies were delivered, water is a necessary means of fructification; and the practice of irrigation is much used in agriculture. But as water is to the soil, supplying health and vigour to its languid plants, so is the influence of God's Holy Spirit to the human soul, when sinking in its spiritual progress. Thus refreshed, the soul brings forth "fruits unto holiness, and the end everlasting life," (Rom. vi. 22.) Water is therefore used, in Scripture, as the symbols of such supplies of divine grace, (Isaiah viii. 6; xxx. 25; xxxii. 20; xxxv. 6, 7; xli. 17; xlix. 9; xliii. 20; lv. 1; liv. 13; lvii. 11; Jer. ii. 13; xvii. 13; Ezek. xlvii. 2; Joel iii. 18; Zech. xiii. 1; xiv.
1 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10.--Many passages of the ancient prophets, some of which may have been typically or partially fulfilled, seem to belong to these times, and still to await their final completion. Isaiah iv. 3-6; xxv. 6-9; lx; lxi. 10; lxvi. 20-24; Ezek. xl; xliii. 7; xlvii. 1—5—12; xlviii. 20, 35.
8; John iv. 13, 14; vii. 38, 39.) The waters of the river of Life proceed from the throne of God, and of the Lamb;' from the fountain of all mercy; and the salutary streams support the tree of Life, which is to be seen in this Paradise regained, a never-failing source of immortality. The fruit, continually renewing, supports the body to eternal life; whilst the leaves (that no part may be unserviceable) are a balm or healing application for the wounds of sin, to those of the nations who had lived in ignorance of the divine laws, but now partake the benefits of redemption.
The remaining expressions describing this blissful state, will be found explained under note, ch. i. 16; ii. 10; iii. 22.
Ver. 2.] Some MSS., says Dr. Jortin, " instead of “ εντευθεν και εντευθεν, read έντευθεν και εκειθεν' sed nil opus. And he quotes ενθεν και ενθεν, as used by Aristotle, Herodotus, Sophocles, and in Const. Apost.; and observes, "Nothing is more common than Evoa kaι eva: and hinc et hinc, in the Latin poets." And he remarks, that the very same expression is used by St. John, in his Gospel, ch.
1 See note, ch. iii. 1.
2 Discourses on the Christian Religion, p. 210. 2d edit.
CHAP. xxii. ver. 6, to the end.
6 And he said unto me; These sayings are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me; See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10 And he saith unto me; Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for, the time is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13 1 am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without, are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.