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following account; which serves to shew us, that those reprobates who resist the bow of God, and oppose the sword of the Spirit, are numbered to the sword of war, and fall under the slain; which appears from the troop horse and his war colour that goes forth after the stately white one. “ And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come, and see.
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.”
The next horse represents famine, a natural consequence of war. Before an army, a fruitful land is represented as the garden of Eden, but behind it, a desolate wilderness, Joel ii. 3. An
army is like the Egyptian locust, it leaves nothing green, which is represented by the black colour of this horse, and by the balances of his rider.
" And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come, and see. And I beheld, and lo, a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, a measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley
for a penny.
The next vision shews the dreadful effects of war and famine, and the certain destruction that sinners bring on their souls, as well as war and famine on their bodies, by their rebellion against Christ Jesus. This horse is destruction, with death
on his back, and hell at his heels : “ And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth beast say, Come, and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him.” Thus the beasts and elders seeing the coronation of Christ, and having obtained salvation by him; and seeing the wars, famine, destruction, and damnation that attended their rebellious persecutors and opposers,
, sing this glorious anthem, and make this wonderful melody with their harps.
These harps are used again, at a complete victory obtained over the pope, and the whore of Babylon, called Jezebel, by faith in the blood of the Lamb; both over their malice, and over their errors, on which account they are called virgins, said to be not defiled with women; that is, they had not been corrupted, nor defiled, by committing fornication with Jezebel, nor taken with her painted face, 2 Kings ix. 30; Rev, ii. 20; nor with the whore of Babylon, “ with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication."
These harps are used by those that stand on the sea of glass, which is the gospel dispensation, in allusion to the glass-sea made by Moses for the priests to wash in; which, on the account of the pureness, clearness, and heart-warming comforts of the gospel dispensation, is compared to a sea of glass mingled with fire; the gospel being compared to a glass, through which the believer looks till he is changed into the image of Christ from glory to glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18.
The saints of God are represented as standing here: Christ as the sum and substance of the
gospel, is our sea, laver, or fountain open for sin and uncleanness, by whom we are cleansed and renewed; and standing on this sea of glass, represents the saints as having got the victory over the pope, or antichrist; over his image, or ecclesiastical
power; over his mark in the forehead or hand, which
many receive to save their lives. This double mark in the hand and forehead, represents first, the oath of allegiance to him, to defend him in his villany; or in the forehead, is openly to espouse his cursed cause; but those that stand on this sea had overcome both the beast and the whore; they had not been conquered by the one, nor defiled by committing fornication with the other, and therefore they stand on the sea of glass, with the harps of God in their hands, Rev. xv. 2.
In short, the Saviour, as the only mediator between God and man, had taken the book of the law, and preached it, fulfilled it, magnified it, and redeemed his people from the curse of it: as a prophet he had taken the book of life and published it, and both were gone forth: The law was gone forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, It was on the coronation of Christ, his ascension to his throne, and the reception of this book of the Revelation, or the copy of his kingdom, that the beasts, elders, and angels, sing their anthems, and sound these harps; which leads me to my sixth general head, which is a description of
Their golden vials, and why so called.
First, Let it be observed, that under the old law there was a golden table and many more sacred things, which are mentioned in this Amirable book of the Revelation : “ For there was a tabernacle made, the first wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew-bread; which is called the sanctuary,” Heb. ix. 2. This court prefigured Christ in his state of humiliation, and the church in its militant state; where the candlestick represented the church, Rev. i. 20. The. golden table, typified the fleshly tables of the believers hearts, where the law is written by the Spirit of the living God, 2 Cor. iii. 3; and in which Christ dwells by faith, Eph. iii. 17. The shewbread represented Christ the bread of life, that a man may eat thereof and never die, John vi. 50. This shew-bread is called the bread of faces, which likewise prefigures the saints of God, who being many are one bread, 1 Cor. x. 17; and, by feeding on Christ by faith, they shall appear at last in the true tabernacle, or heaven itself, and in the presence of God, or before his face; “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
On this golden table, on which was set the golden candlestick, representing the church of God with its six branches, or the seven churches of Asia, were set also some golden vials, or bottles, filled with incense, as are mentioned by Josephus in his history of the Jews, and in the second chapter of Esdras, which golden vials full of incense prefigured the hearts of believers, who are blessed
with the spirit of grace and supplication. And this was the number of them, a thousand golden cups, and a thousand of silver; censers of silver, twenty nine; vials of gold, thirty, 1 Esdras ii. 13. Mention is made again of this mysterious article: And the table of shew-bread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the vail; all which he [Antiochus] pulled off, Macc. i. 22. This was to fulfil an ancient prophesy concerning Antiochus, who was to magnify himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was to be taken away, and the place of God's sanctuary to be cast down, Dan. viii. 11. Thus it appears that the golden vials in my text are mentioned in allusion to the vials that were placed in the sanctuary of the Lord, which were made of gold, and filled with incense. These golden vials of sweet incense, being placed on the golden table in the sanctuary, served to typify the spiritual prayers that should go up from the fleshly tables of believing hearts in gospel times, when the divine fire of love from Christ the altar, should make prayer a rich perfume; when the church should become the true tabernacle that God himself pitched, and in which the Spirit of grace and supplication would reside, as in his own sanctum.
Sometimes in scripture a believing heart, blessed with the unction of the Holy Ghost, is called the vessel of a lamp with oil; “ But the wise took oil in their vessels;" which divine unction feeding the believer's profession makes him a burning and a shining light in the world; yea it causes his light