« PreviousContinue »
of Habakkuk describes a similar vision of his personal glory on his second advent. Can the human mind perceive all this magnificent assemblage and imagery, and deny a personal manifestation?
Verse 16. Let all his faithful ministers rejoice! In that right In that right hand from which none can pluck them, he in his sovereign sufficiency, holds the elders or bishops appointed to his Gentile Churches. Himself explains these stars as symbols of those angels, messengers or ministers in verse 20.
But what is the Lord's weapon of war ? that sharp two-edged sword with which (probably by man's instrumentality) he smites the nationss and provides "the supper of the great God," which terminates the apostacies as was foretold Deut. xxxii, 35-43. "If
I whet my glittering sword and 'mine hand take hold on judge'ment, I will render vengeance to mine enemies. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh, &c. Rejoice O ye nations! his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and render vengeance to his adversaries: he will be merciful to his land and to his people."* His countenance was as the Sun shineth in his strength," in the unshorn, unclouded beams of meridian power; like the sun of the material system which he created, effulgent in its noontide blaze. Though this Sun of righteous
ness ariseth with healing in his wings to those that fear his name,' yet its radiance drinks up even their spirits while in he body of sin and death; so that under the vision of his glory uncreate, even his aged and beloved saints, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, John, fainted. Thus fallen mortality, fallen mortality, even in its renewed state, sinks in conscious unworthiness, utterly unable to sustain the presence of the holy One. Oh! did he not lay the right hand of new-creating power upon his elect, who could stand when he appeareth? All flesh must fail before him, except he graciously descends from the throne of justice, and as the propitiation for sin and the advocate for sinners exerts the power of his might to save them by an act of sovereign grace, saying, "Fear not!"
As during his first advent SO again, with Jesus the will, the word, the act are one. Why did the voice of redeeming love say,
Fear not ?"-Because of the immediate assurance that he is the First and the Last; claiming, for believers' support, his being, without beginning or ending. Again he asserts inherent life, eternal self existence; as when in the days of his mortal state, he referred to his original deity and said, “I am THE LIFE;" so now v. 18, "I am HE THAT LIVETH, the "I AM,"t "Jehovah who changeth not, therefore ye are not consumed." But, that we may not mistake his person,
this son of Rechab, whose practice observes the law of his father, and whose existence proves the fulfilment of the promise, that so doing Rechab should never want a man to stand before the Lord;-thus he described the glorious majesty in which Messiah shall appear, then turned his courser which, fleet as the wind, bore him through his native desert beyond the sound of salvation.
* On this passage Rabbi Menasse says, "See here, the day of Messiah's coming and of the resurrection are conjoined." Most ancient Rabbies say that the passages in Dan. vii, of which this in Revelation declares the fulfilment, relate to King Messiah. s Chap. xix, 15. t John viii, 58.
r Heb. iii.
he adds," and was dead." I am the same "who lay down my life that I might take it again;" for you I laid it down, for you I took it again; therefore, fear not! for, Behold! I am alive for evermore." Fear not, John! fear not, poor sinner of any degree! He is "mighty to save," since he died for your offences, rose again for your justification,” and “ever liveth to make intercession for you;" "because I live you shall live also." He who in an absolute sense said I am the Truth," seals these assurances with his Amen!" adding, and I have the keys of hell and of death.-All power in heaven and earth being given me, I exercise it as Head over all things to the Church.-The separate spirits of my people are in my keeping, their dust is within my care, locked up in the still chambers of the grave, as in my treasure house. God typically laid the key of the house of David upon the shoulder of Eliakim, who was over the king's household in Jerusalem, "that he should open and none shut, and shut and none should open." This was a sign of committing the government into his hand." Thus Jesus, in delivering his message for the angel of the Church in Phila delphia, says; These things saith
he that is holy, he that is true, he
Jesus Christ reveals himself as the Royal Priest after the order of Melchizedec, i.e. by an unchangeable priesthood. The sovereign pontiffs claim an unchangeable priesthood by succession from Peter, with royalty, even the double dignity of Christ, with its double authority in church and state throughout Christendom, as his vicegerents. In priestly garments and wearing the triple crown, the man of sin, the son of perdition, opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped ; so that as God, he sitteth in the that openeth and no man shutteth, temple of God, shewing himself ' and shutteth and no man openeth." that he is God;" —even on a throne These passages bring me to the on the high altar above the very second view of the subject of this wafer which he declares to be conBook, arising from the Lord's re- verted by his presumptuous conpeatedly claiming pre-eminence in secration into the very body, bones power and glory before he describes and divinity of Jesus Christ;-there the conflict and its event. This he receives worship by prostration suggests, that he proclaims his right as my Lord God the Pope!" of supremacy as a Priest upon his Is Christ the King of kings? throne" in opposition to some Such is the supremacy claimed by usurper whom he will judge and popes. By him kings must reign or destroy. I deem this to be the quit their thrones, placing their esprincipal action of the Book. Un- tates, dignities, subjects,-nay, their
that hath the key of David, he
less it be kept in mind, expositions are made to regard secular objects, instead of the Lord's controversy for Zion,"-literal and spiritual Zion,-and the avenging his own insulted majesty.
How significant every iota of the following Revelation becomes, if we remember that it chiefly relates to judgements upon the two great apostacies which blasphemously arrogate to their representatives that universal, temporal and spiritual dominion which belong to God only.
Reviewing verses 12-18 upon this suggestion, we shall perceive how pointedly the prerogatives of the true Head of the Church are asserted, in opposition to the pretensions of the archheretic of Rome who assumes that headship.
consciences, words and deeds,-at his disposal. Infallible, as though his eyes discerned men's thoughts, from his decree lies no appeal: his kingdom is of this world and his servants must fight for it. His in quisitorial spies bring forth hidden things and have a strong prison, whose tortures and mode of death resemble those to which he dooms their spirits.
Is Christ the Shepherd and Bishop of souls? Does he appear as the God-Man, having all power throughout time and eternity, to judge in righteousness, to save or to destroy?
This the Pope arrogates; he is universal bishop with his shepherd's crook.
Does Christ hold the stars in his hand? the Pope holds all his ministers under his control; and as the mock sun of his ecclesiastical firmament, gives forth the only light they may receive or dispense, to enlighten his earth in things natural, moral, intellectual or spiritual; all must proceed from his traditions, rites or ceremonies; his councils and decrees, changing times and laws; his sacraments and holy days; his missal and masses for the dead, his indulgences for the living, his system of will-worship and self-righteousness.
Did the only Mediator heal all manner of diseases, cast out devils, and then die, rise again, show signs, and ascend into heaven, ever living to intercede for transgressors ?-Many mediators were canonized by the popes, by them gifted with the power of working miracles and with the crown of life, and by them raised to thrones in heaven to govern all on earth according to their will. Idols of wood, stone, gold, silver, adorn their chambers of imagery instead of the angelic host; a cross instead of Christ.
Is the voice of our just Judge like a trumpet?—The papal bulls successively re-echo the judgements of
pretended infallibility, excommunicating, anathematizing, shutting up in purgatory, removing into paradise, or irreversibly dooming to hell those whom he judges according to his will. By forging Peter's keys he assumes on his shoulder the government of the Son of David in both worlds; presuming to open the gates of hell which no man shuts, be he Pope or Mahomet, by any bulls or decretals whatsoever; and to shut what no works of supererogation, but only the merits of Christ can open,-the kingdom of heaven to believers.
As to the inferior apostacy of Mahomet, we still find dominion usurped by the sword over matter and mind in opposition to the Christ of God. Though he wore neither the mitre nor the crown, he aspired as the Prophet of God” to be sole revealer of his will, sole promulger of his laws, by opposing the Koran to the Bible; and to be supreme governor of the universe,―on earth by conquest, and in heaven by Allah's gift. Unerringly and irrevocably he awards death temporal and eternal to all who swerve from his law; hence no light but from his Koran may penetrate the darkness. of their moral night. He dispenses the pleasures of his paradise, and shuts out each rebel to endless sorrow. I think he also insisted upon a miraculous birth, and passed into the heavens as his home by a miraculous flight; whence his spiritual reign and supernal influences commence, and time is dated to his subjects. They invoke him instead of Christ, whose humanity he degraded, and whose deity he denied ; and by him only they expect access to Allah.
But as this apostacy chiefly afflicts the multitude of Abraham's posterity, I suspect its character and doom may be more marked in the
Old Testament; whilst the Book of Revelation chiefly regards the predominant opposition to Christ of the ten horns and little horn of the Gentiles.
In the manifestation of Christ's mediatorial power and glory in the first four chapters, and in the subsequent descriptions of mystic Babylon, we therefore discover the character of the contest which forms the action of this book; and may well suppose that the description of all subordinate events must be ranged under those two heads. On one side we see the Lord Christ and his Hebrew and Gentile witnesses
REVIEW OF BOOKS, &c.
(5) A Dissertation on the Seals and Trumpets of the Apocalypse, and the prophetical period of 1260 years. By WILLIAM CUNINGHAME, Esq.
8vo. pp. lxx and 360. Cadell and Davies, London. 1817.
It was our intention to have reviewed, if not in combination, at least in immediate succession, some of the principal treatises on the Apocalypse. But to do tolerable justice to any one treatise, will ocor three cupy, throughout two Numbers, the short space which we can afford in the Investigator; and therefore we intend to postpone other voluminous authors on the Apocalypse, and limit ourselves more especially to Mr. Cuninghame, until we have been enabled to bring works on other subjects before our Readers. This we can do with the more satisfaction for two reasons: first, because we are now enabled to present a series of Original
rejected, oppressed and slain, till he raises them, conquers and reigns. On the other we find the apostate and his confederates prevailing and persecuting, whilst, for the trial of the patience of the saints, all who bear his mark receive power from Satan, the prince and god of this world; till they who are on the Lord's side, being made manifest, Antichrist with his adherents are finally overthrown, and Satan restrained by Christ's millennial sceptre, till the last act of judgement proclaims his victory over Satan, Death, and Hell. Death, and Hell. (Chap. xx.)
Notes" on the Apocalypse, whereby the subject under another form will still be kept alive; and secondly, because, in our own deliberate judgement, the work of Mr. Cuninghame is on the whole the most entitled to regard.
Mr. Cuninghame displays great acuteness in discovering those chronological indices, which serve both to determine the structure of the Apocalypse, and to fix the various events set forth to the Church therein.
His views are generally illustrated by striking and appropriate historical facts, and supported by clear and learned argumentation. And he exhibits, with but few exceptions, (and perhaps in those others will think differently,) a consistent principle of homogeneity in the interpretation of symbols. For example: if a horse is assumed to be the symbol of conquest or triumph, he justly contends, not only
that all the horses depicted must be interpreted as of prevalence or conquest; but that if one relate to spiritual conquests, or to military, or to political, so must the whole in the same series. Thus, even though we may hesitate to concur in the interpretation of the symbol, yet must it be manifest, that it is far more difficult to find a series of homogeneous events, all suitably comporting with each other, than it is for an expositor to cull incidents at random from circumstances of a political, ecclesiastical, or military character. An interpretation conducted upon the former principle at least commends itself by its greater consistency and probability.
We have intimated at p. 143 of our fifth Number, that we are not prepared to say of any writer on the Apocalypse that his treatise is unobjectionable throughout; which remark will apply to the work before us. Were we to follow the too frequent method of Reviewers, and gloss over or conceal the defects of authors to whom they are under obligation, or with whom they enjoy personal friendship, we should suppress all that our own mind cannot concur with, and dwell exclusively upon the numerous instances in which we coincide: for we have gratefully to acknowledge ourselves indebted to Mr. Cuninghame for his christian kindness and liberality towards our undertaking. But if such a course is at all times improper when religious topics are the subject of discussion, it would be doubly so in a work professing impartially to investigate topics, which among christians are for the most part controverted, and often considered obscure it is a course indeed which, by destroying the independence of our opinions, would ultimately take from them that only value which they possess; and thus
"1st. I assign to the same symbols the same meaning; or where there is any variation of signification, I endeavour to fix the meaning on the principles of analogy. 2nd. I apply no prophecy of the Apocalypse to more than one series of events: i. e. I deny that the principle of a first and secondary sense, however it may be admitted in interpreting the unchronological prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, &c. can be allowed in explaining the Apocanature, or homogeneous, to similar objects. lypse.-3rd. I apply symbols of the same -4th. I do not attempt to explain every minute part of a symbol, but content myself with endeavouring to seize its great outlines. This rule is well known, and carefully observed by all judicious expositors of the Scriptural parables; and I consider the symbols of the Apocalypse in the light of prophetical parables.—5th.