Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

whom this name pertains or this character belongs, but that of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is exalted far above them all.

From these words of inspiration it is manifest that no wresting of Scripture, no straining of a text, no aid from fancy, nor violence to reason, are needful here to expound the import of the figure, which, first of all, one of the bright intelligences of heaven called on the apostle to come and see.- - I saw, and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer.

He went forth conquering. When his gospel was first preached, he was believed on in the world. He came to make an end of sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness. His vesture was dipped in blood, whose name was the Word of God. He took part of flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy him that had power over death, that is, the deyil. Satan was beheld to fall before him like lightning from heaven. The kingdom of God was preached unto the world, power to become the sons of God was promised to them that believed, and received him. He who reigns by righteousness sought for himself a kingdom from among the sinful children of men, and in a world enslaved by sin, he went forth to conquer. Never on earth was there a triumph of light over darkness, of righteousness over iniquity; nor did the power of Satan ever sustain such a shock, as at the time when the men of understanding who knew their God, instructed many, when the apostles of the Lord Jesus, and all the first preachers of the gospel, went forth to convert a world lying in wickedness, established Christian churches in every land, and, not with carnal weapons of their warfare, but strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, themselves fought as they taught others to fight the good fight

of faith, and, as the servants of Jesus, conquering sin, which till then had held the world in unredeemed slavery and unchallenged dominion. Christ, by a preached gospel, went forth conquering. Thousands at a time were delivered from the

power

of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son." That kingdom shall abide for ever. And when first it was preached, a new era began not only in the history of man, but in the universe of God. The efficacy of his death, the power of his resurrection, the effusion of his Spirit, the preaching of his word, were not to be the work only of a day, but to affect the interests of innumerable multitudes throughout eternity. The world itself was finally to be won, by the warfare which then had but its beginning. The little seed was sown, which was to become a tree to cover the whole earth, and on the branches of which all the birds of heaven shall lodge. Christ went forth not only conquering but to conquer, or more literally and emphatically that he may conquer*—till all enemies be put under his feet, and that at last it may be manifest that there is nothing that God hath not put under him. Against his church, founded on a rock by the preaching of the gospel, all the gates of hell-whatever they may send forth, or whatever form they may assume by any other religion or any perversion of the faith, or even in more than satanic hardihood by the want of all-never shall prevail. Christ shall be the conqueror over all that stand up against him; vain shall be the strife of every other faith with his; and when the victory shall at last and for ever be his own, righteousness, white even in the eye of heaven, shall reign on earth.

The period of the contest, ás marked and even defined by other prophecies, was to be long, so long

* Iva vixion.

that, except in the eye of faith alone, the issue has appeared doubtful, and deluded enemies have sometimes thought that the victory was already theirs. They who, in this region of darkness, have scoffed at the religion of Jesus, are themselves held in derision where there is no darkness at all. The work that is of God is not to be undone by man: nor is the word which is His to hold eternal conflict with theirs. But the revelation of Jesus Christ tells of every false faith, and reveals their nature, their object, and their end. And when of them nothing shall remain but confirmations of his word, they who have the blessing truly to know that Christ has come forth conquering, will not need the sight of a symbol nor the word of an angel, to tell them that He went forth to conquer.-Christ is previously denominated, in the Revelation, the Lion of the tribe of Judah ; and the living creature who, on the opening of the first seal, said unto John, come and see, had a face as the face of a lion.

CHAPTER X.

SECOND SEAL.

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another : and there was given unto him a great sword. Ver. 4. The same symbol must have the same significancy. If one horse represent the Christian Religion, another horse must, in like manner, if there be perfect harmony in the vision, represent another religion. And each religion must have its author or its head, as each horse had its rider. An express similarity in these respects is required, where the symbol is designated as another. Interpreting things spiritual with spiritual, and looking to the prophets as well as the law as a schoolmaster, we know already that when trapsgressions came to the full, a king of fierce countenance, whose power was mighty, but not by his own power, who destroyed wonderfully, and prospered and practised and destroyed the mighty and the holy people, magnified himself to the prince of the host, and stood up against the Prince of princes, or against him who is the King of kings. The question here is not one of time, (that is otherwise defined) but of a new or another religion. The close accordance expressed the identity between the king of fierce countenance who stood up against the Prince of princes, and the rider on the war-horse, the author of another religion. Of his fierce countenance, and of his destroying wonderfully, the colour of blood is the badge. His mighty power is betokened by the great sword, and as it was not by his own power that he became mighty, the sword was given him. He understood dark sentences, and magnified himself even to the prince of the host; and his was another religion than the Christian. The description in either case is literal; and the symbol is the most expressive language. Another religion, of a different and opposite nature from the Christian, was thus to arise, and the founder of another faith to appear, who instead of proclaiming peace from heaven, would take it from the earth, whose religion would be propagated by slaughter, and to whom a great sword was given.--Could Mahomet and Mahometanism be more strikingly portrayed ? and may not the false prophet of Mecca be detected, even without the aid of a prophet of Israel? Mahometanism

[merged small][ocr errors]

is another religion, having no affinity with the
Christian, and it accounts all Christians unbelievers.
It is not pure but bloody-not white but red. Its
founder was not a deliverer but a destroyer. He
was a warrior, and by war his faith prevailed. The
proof of his mission was the multitude of the slain.
The characteristic of his faith, the charm of his
power, and the secret of his success—were a
great sword.” Mahometanism had no other sup-
port, and, when that fails, it has no stay. Christ
went forth conquering and to conquer-but the
destroyers of the earth are doomed to destruction.
And as an emblem of the final triumph of the truth
and of the overthrow of every false faith, however
successful for a time, and however bloody it may be,
we need but to appeal to the authority of Gibbon,
and to quote from the Koran, in illustration of the
perfect truth of the figurative description of another
religion, which succeeded the Christian in its origin,
and which has maintained so prominent a part in
the things that were to be thereafter.

“The imperfection of human rights was supplied and armed with the plenitude of divine power: the prophet of Medina -assumed, in his new revelations, a fiercer and more sanguinary tone; the means of persuasion had been tried, the season of forbearance was elapsed, and he was now commanded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy the moriuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the sanctity of days or months, to pursue the unbelieving nations of the earth."* “The fair option of friendship, or submission, or battle, was proposed to the enemies of Mahomet. If they professed the creed of Islam, they were admitted to all the temporal and spiritual benefits of his primitive disciples, and marched under the same banner to extend the religion wltich they had embraced. In the first months of his reign, he practised the lessons of the holy warfare. The martial apostle FOUGHT IN PERSON in nine battles or sieges; and fifty enterprises of war were achieved in ten years by himself or his lieutenants. From all sides the roving Arabs were allured to the standard of religion and plunder; the enjoyment of wealth and beauty was a feeble type of the joys of paradise prepared for the valiant martyrs of the faith. "THE

1

[ocr errors]

* Gibbon's Hist. c. 50, vol. ix. p. 294,

« PreviousContinue »