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- ac venti, velut agmine facto,
Æneid. i. 86-90.
Previous to the dreadful siege of Jerusalem by Titus, a prophet (perhaps an enthusiast) is described by Josephus, as going about and crying, Durn a'ro των τεσσαρων ανεμων: * which was perfectly understood to mean a wide and dreadful destruction t.
Ver. 2. Sunrising.] This quarter, which we cau* the East, was the cardinal point of first importance with the eastern nations of antiquity ; because from that point was seen to arise the sun, that visible source of light and vital heat. In the camp of the Israelites, the eastern side was always the front, the honourable post. Here Moses and Aaron were stationed I. And “The Sun of Rigtheousness” (so our Lord is called) is said to emit his first beams of glory, his “ day-star,
day-star,” from that quarter Ş. Hence, the Jews appear to have reckoned their cardinal points by supposing a person to face the East, as the first and principal quarter of the heavens. To a man so stationed, the South is on his right hand, the North on his left, and the West behind him. In consequence of this distribution, the Syrians, who were to the East of Israel, are said to be “ before " Israel;” the Philistines, who dwelt to the West,
* A voice from the four winds,
+ Bell. Jud. lib. vi. c. 5. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 8.-The space comprehended under “the four winds,” is paraphrased by our Lord in these words, " from the uttermost part of the earth to the " uttermost part of Heaven;" Mark xiii. 27. Numb. ii. 3. iii. 38. $ Ezek. xliii. 2. Matt. ii. 2. xxiv. 27
« behind" them. Hobah is described as on the “left “hand of Damascus,” because it lay to the North of
that city. The Europeans, on the contrary, have y made the North their first and fronting point, and,
as such, have placed it at the top of their maps. And from this cause, in political geography, the eastern bank of a river f is termed its right bank, the western its left. This division is as ancient as the times of Homer:
E7 επι δεξι' ιωσι, προς ηώ τ' ηέλιον τε
ILIAD xii. 2391.
The angel who now appears upon the earth to the angels stationed at its four corners, comes from the Divine presence, with a Divine commission, of which the seal he bears is a mark and earnest,
Ib. A seal of the Living God.] Seals were in use, with ancient națions to secure possessions ģ; each person having his peculiar mark which ascertained the property to be his own.-Signare, quid est nisi proprium aliquid ponere? Ideò rei ponis signum, ne res, cum aliis confusa, à te non possit agnoscill. Hence the seal of God is his mark by which He
• Gen. xiv. 15.—And from this usage, it has been observed, that the same word in Hebrew, which is applied to signify the South, signifies also the right hand. t. Instance the Rhine. 1 Ye vagrants of the sky, your wings extend,
Or where the Suns arise, or where descend,
Pope, line 279.
1 Augustin. in Johann. vi.- What is sealing, but marking a thing. as your own! You place a mark on the thing, lest, being mixed with other things, it may not be known by you.
" knoweth them that are his *.” Under the Law of
'iniquity,” are said to be thus divinely sealed 1.
Ver. 3. Until we shall have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.] The sweeping destruction, by the winds of heaven, which is to level every thing in this world in one conimon devastation, is withholden by Divine command, until the servants of God shall be so marked by his Holy Spirit, as to be separated and saved apart from those whom he now consigns to punishment. The sealed mark is said to be impressed upon the forehead; because on this con
* 2'lim. ji. 19.
+ Rom. iv. 11. | Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iit. c. 23.--See many more instances of : this, produced by Grabe, in bis notes to the Spicilegium, sect. i.
1 John vi, 27.
§ 2 Cor. i. 29. Eph. i. 13. iv. 30,
spicuous part of the person, distinguishing ornaments were worn by the eastern nations Slaves also were marked upon their foreheads, as the property of their masters f. But the passage will receive more particular illustration, by a comparison with the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, which, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, represents the ministers of Divine ven. geance prepared to strike; when another angel is commanded to mark on the forehead the servants of God, who are to be saved from the calamity. This prophecy of Ezekiel was fulfilled at the taking of the city by the Chaldeans, when“ a remnant was saved,” and many of the righteous Jews, as Daniel and his companions, were promoted to honour. And again it was fulfilled at the final overthrow of Jerusalem by the Romans; when the Christians, forewarned by their Saviourt, retired to Pella, and were saved Ş. But a' more universal accomplishment still awaits this prophecy, when, together with those of Is. xiii. xxvi. Zeph. ii. 3. Mic. vii. Hab. i. Mal. iv. Matt. xxiv. 2 Thess, i. 7. 10. 2 Pet. iii, 10, and this of the sixth seal, it shall receive its final completion, in the last days of vengeance, previous to the destruction of this globe. Of the manner in which the sealed of God shall be delivered in that day, we can speak no fare ther than the assurances of other passages of Scripture seem to warrant, Saint Paul assures us, that, in the great day of the Lord, the pious Christians then
* Gen. xxiv, 24. marg. note ; which seems to be the true read. ing. Exod. xxviii. 38. Ezek. xvi. 12. Deut. vi. 8. 2 Esd. ij. 38.
+ Grotius, in loc, Mede's Works, p. 511. Jorțin on Eccl. Hist. iii. 219. iv. 371. * Matt. xxiv.
Euseb. Eccl. Hist, lib. iii. c. 5.
alive, shall be caught up to the Lord * by a glorious deliverance; which seems to accord with that described in the prophecy now before us.
Ver. 4. Une-hundred-and-furty-four thousand were sealed out of all the tribes of the sons of Israel.] On
I remark, first, that; · according to the Gospel, “Salvation is to the Jew first, then also to “ the Gentile f.” And we are instructed, that “God “ hath not cast away his people;” that, “ though “blindness in part has happened unto Israel,” yet, " after the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, all Is“rael shall be saved [.” Now, as the prophecy which engages our present attention, is of the last times, the times immediately preceding the great day of the Lord; so the Jews will by that time, if ever, be restored to the Church ç. This body of the sealed may therefore be, literally, of the tribes of Israel. Or, secondly, the Israel here may be, under the New Testament, the purer Gentile Church, called also in Scripture, the Israel of God || ;” of which the ancient Israel is the original root T; on which root the. Gentile Church being engrafted **, receives for a time the name, the privileges, and the honours of that rejected people, being now the “ chosen peo"ple,” the “ holy nation,” “ the temple of the Liv“ ing. God ft.” Such is the language of Scripture in general, applying the name and privileges of Israel to the Christian Church; such it will be seen also in
• Thess, iv. 7. + Rom, i. 16. ii. 9, 10. Matt. xv. 24. I Rom. xi. 25, 26.
Rom. xi, 15-36. # Gal. vi. 16. Phil. iii. 5. Col. ii. 11.
Rom. xii. 17. 22. Rom. xi. 18, 19. # Tit. ü, 14. Heb, viii, 10. i Pet, i. 6-11.