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in the other, as we have seen, that this difference in the reading is immaterial. The power of Hades is a consequence of that of death, and the power of death would be inconsequential if it were not for that of Hades.
Whatever may be the difference of editions, in other respects, they are all agreed in the reading, rò tétaprov rñs vñs—the fourth of the earth—the word part being supplied by our own translators. No suggestion seems to have been made, nor is there any foundation for supposing, that the words, the fourth part, should be the four parts ; as human wisdom would very probably have dictated, if it had not been for the special injunction at the close of the book, so evidently designed to protect the text, (Rev. xxii. 18, 19.)
Death, in a literal sense, has power over the whole of the earth, and the four means here enumerated, for exercising that power, appear to be so many classifications under which all kinds of death may be arranged. Death by violence of man, death by violence of other animals, death from want of any kind, death by accident or disease-death and hell being even described as having power to kill with death itself, which alone comprises every cause of mortality. It is evident, therefore, that the natural or literal sense is not here contemplated, except so far as some analogy or comparison may be drawn from it.
First-To kill by the sword, we may suppose to be an allusion to the action of the sword of the Spirit,“ piercing to the dividing asunder”-showing the difference between the natural and spiritual understanding; and showing the liability to condemnation, by an exhibition of the motives of conduct.
Second-Hunger, representing the destitution of righteousness, or merit, when manifested, must equally exhibit the sinner's position of condemnation.
Third-Death, from sickness, or what we call natural causes, in the same way may afford a figure of the condemnation of the sinner, necessarily arising from the depravity of man's heart, and the waywardness of all his affections.
And fourth—The action of the beasts of the earth, (Orpía,) we may suppose to represent the operation of the unclean and destructive principles of self-justification-principles, by which even those depending upon the sustenance of the earthly system must meet their condemnation.
The term earth, we have already had occasion to allude to as a figurative expression for some exhibition of doctrines, or principles, or a position resulting from such an exhibition—the opposite of the heavenly scheme ;the earth displaying the works of man, as the heavens display those of God. The earth, too, with the things which are therein, being that which is transitory; while the heavens, in a natural sense, exhibit something of a more permanent character. That death, or that death and Hades should reign over the fourth part of the earth only, is evidently something of a mystic
character. There must be something peculiar in the sense, in which this fourth is to be taken ; as we shall see hereafter there must be also in what is elsewhere said of the third or third part.
$ 159. As we have already noticed, the term part is not in the original. Any other appropriate word might be supplied; and none in a literal sense can be less appropriate here, than that which our translators have adopted. Suppose, instead of this, we substitute the word kingdom. To them, or to him, was given power over the fourth kingdom of the earth, to slay, &c. The kingdoms of the earth, in a spiritual sense, must be opposites of the kingdom of heaven, being earthly systems or economies-spiritual powers, somewhat analogous to literal powers. Suppose the fourth kingdom of the earth, spoken of by Daniel, (ch. vii. 23,) to represent one of these systems, stronger, and more powerful, in human estimation, than any other. Man seeth not as God seeth. In the times of the apostles, (Acts viii. 10,) a mere sorcerer gave himself out as some great one, and “ to him the people gave heed, saying, This is the great power of God.” So it is in systems ; and such we may suppose to be the kingdom, or system, we have in view, in human estimation.
In the vision of the prophet, Zech. vi. 3, the fourth chariot was drawn by grizzled horses, spotted, and of various colours, like the garment of the beloved child of the patriarch, (Gen. xxxvii. 3 ;) a figure, perhaps, of the garment of various merits, with which every man in imagination arrays his own peculiar goodness—the idol of his spiritual affections. Spotted, or patched garments, and spotted animals, we may suppose to have some rela-. tion to principles of salvation, in which the merits of man are interwoven, as we may say, with those of his Saviour.
The chariots seen by the prophet were war-chariots, and their horses war-horses : both of them representing human means of dependence, in the great contest with the principle of legal condemnation ; a war-chariot, with its horses, being equivalent, in a spiritual sense, to a kingdom of the earth. We may suppose, then, this fourth kingdom of Daniel to represent an earthly system of salvation—a real amalgamation of earthly principles with heavenly ; a system of salvation in which the merits or righteousness of man are supposed to co-operate with the righteousness and atonement of Christ, in establishing a claim to divine favour. We may suppose such a system so far to admit views of the soundest character as to be, like Daniel's fourth kingdom, diverse from all others; at the same time so plausible as to appear, in the sight of man, like the sorcerer of Samaria, the great power of God; while the speckled, spotted character of its leading elements, causes it to resemble the fourth chariot of the prophet's vision, with its array of grizzled chargers.
Over such a kingdom we may presume the elements of Death and Hades, to have peculiar sway. They are commissioned to destroy it; or, as the Assyrian was sent against a hypocritical nation, Is. X. 5, 6,“ To take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." The system of self-righteousness, in which the merits of Christ are hypocritically allowed to have a part in the work of salvation, is composed of principles necessarily falling under the action of the elements of liability to legal condemnation, or of that condemnation itself. As in the case of a rebellious nation, the invader finds in the subjects of the prince themselves, the means of overturning his kingdom; so, in this fourth earthly system of mixed principles, or of principles of the mixed character described, Death and Hades find an easy prey. They destroy all, through the instrumentality of one or the other of the four classes enumerated : the sword, famine, death, or the wild beasts of the earth.
V. 9. And when he had opened the Και ότε ήνοιξε την πέμπτην σφραγίδα, , fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls είδον υποκάτω του θυσιαστηρίου τας ψυχάς of them that were elain for the word of των εσφαγμένων δια τον λόγον του θεού, God, and for the testimony which they xai Sià ti uoprugiav ny eixov. held.
$ 160. “And when he opened the fifth seal.'—We are here struck with a peculiarity attending the opening of the first four seals, which we no longer meet with. The four living creatures around the throne, have each of them done a part in exhibiting or in calling attention to the several representations of those seals. Each of these four representations, too, consisted of a horse of a peculiar colour, with its respective rider. The subjects unfolded by these four seals, are of such a character that we may easily suppose them to synchronize. The white, the red, the black, and the green horse, all going forth at the same time ; that is, the spiritual action of the four, such as we have described it, may be supposed to be contemporaneous. The rider on the white horse, with his bow and crown, going forth to conquer ; while the rider of the red goes to take peace from the earth : the rider of the black, to exhibit the standard of divine justice; and the rider of the green, to exercise his power over the fourth kingdom of the earth. The four elements of justice, propitiation, wisdom, and consolation, have each performed its respective office. The first, in pointing out the Saviour; the three last, in showing the peculiar dangers rendering his salvation necessary, and calling his power to overcome them into operation. We are to notice that the rider of the red horse takes peace from the earth only ; it is the earthly system only that suffers, and the principles of which destroy or sacrifice each other. So death and hell are said to have power only over the fourth of the earth, not over the fourth of any thing else than the earth ; or if this fourth be a kingdom, it is only an earthly kingdom-something peculiar to the
earthly system that suffers from liability to condemnation, or from the ele ments of condemnation itself.
$ 161. 'I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain.'There is no altar previously spoken of, although the apostle says
he under the altar; nor is there any previous mention of individuals slain, unless we go back to the fourth verse, where the same Greek term is rendered kill. This term, from ogátw, being usually applied to the slaughtering of victims for sacrifice ; differing from the verb &noxteivw in the eighth verse, also rendered kill. But in the fourth verse it appears to be the elements of the earth that kill, or slaughter each other; and therefore their souls could hardly call for vengeance upon those that dwell upon the earth. Whatever altar this may be, we must suppose, from the employment of this term opáča, slaughter, the souls seen under the altar to be the souls of victims offered
upon the altar.
“We have an altar,” says the apostle, “whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle,” (Heb. xiii. 10.) This altar we suppose to be Christ, in a certain relation ; and it is so considered by others, (see Cruden, art. Altar.) An altar is that upon which sacrifices are offered. The altar sanctifies or sets apart the gift, (Matt. xxiii. 19.) The Greek word translated altar, is composed of the words Ivoia, sacrifice, and ornpitw, to fix firmly, to set in a firm position. Christ, as the Lamb of God, it is true, is the sacrifice; but as the logos, or purpose of God, he may be also the altar—the word, or purpose of God-sanctifying or setting apart the sacrifice made upon it; the righteousness, the merits, the atonement of Christ, being constituted by the divine purpose the propitiatory sacrifice for sinners. In this vicarious process, the material flesh and blood of Jesus Christ constituted the body slain in sacrifice. His flesh and blood, in a spiritual sense, that is, his righteousness and his atonement, may be considered the soul or principle of life of this body ; the literal manifestation, and the spiritual meaning, bearing a relation to each other, analogous to that between soul and body. So we may say with all truths connected with this subject, the literal truths pertaining to this sacrifice are those which appear upon, or outside of the altar; the spiritual truths are the souls beneath, or within the altar.
The Greek preposition rendered for, (8á,) by, or through, (in Rob. Lex. 144, b. 2,)“ referring to the efficient cause of any thing," the souls of them that were offered in sacrifice by, or through, the word of God, would thus signify those thus offered in consequence of the divine purpose, and through or by the testimony which they had. That is, the testimony, borne by these representations of the truth of salvation, had this effect of placing their literal sense as victims upon the altar, while their spiritual sense, separated from the literal, was as it were hidden beneath the altar. The opening of this fifth seal thus reveals the important truth, that there are two meanings, and that the spiritual meaning was to be for a period kept back, or suppressed. All which is exhibited under the figure of persons supposed to have been slain in the cause of Christ, or offered as victims, according to his purpose: a figure, which our translators seem to have taken it for granted referred to the persecution of certain martyrs in the early period of Christianity. But, as has been before observed, if this passage, or any one passage is to be rendered in this literal sense, the whole vision must be equally literal.
V. 10. And they cried with a loud Και έκραξαν φωνή μεγάλη λέγοντες· έως voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy nóts, o deonórns ó öylos xaì đànI.vós, où and true, dost thou not judge and avenge κρίνεις και εκδικείς το αίμα ημών από των our blood on them that dwell on the earth ?
κατοικούντων επί της γης και
$ 162. This is very different language from that of the martyr Stephen, when stoned to death : “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” It differs still more from that of Jesus Christ when crucified : “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It differs too from his precept: “Bless them which persecute you ; bless and curse not.” Here they cry for vengeance, not merely on those who have persecuted them, but “ upon all who dwell upon the earth ;" as if the oppressed subjects of Nero, throughout the Roman empire, as well as the tyrant himself, were to suffer the vengeance due to his cruelty and guilt;a further evidence that the literal sense is not to be taken into consideration, except as a figure furnishing some spiritual analogy. It may be said, indeed, that this cry for vengeance is not the prayer of the martyrs themselves, but of their souls, virtually crying for retribution, as the blood of Abel cried from the ground for vengeance ; although such is not supposed to have been the voice of Abel himself. But even the blood of Abel called for vengeance upon the murderer only, not upon all that dwelt upon the earth. Besides, the retributive rule of life for life, and limb for limb, is the rule of law; while we are assured that the Gospel dispensation speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. Indeed, the blood of Christ cries for mercy, for it was shed that mercy might be exercised—not towards the innocent, for they need it not, but towards the guilty. We cannot suppose that the blood and sufferings even of the martyrs, during the whole period of their persecution, is to counteract the plea offered in the atonement of him who ever liveth to make intercession for us.
We suppose the earth to represent in the Apocalypse, a system, or something equivalent, the opposite of the heavenly economy of redemption, ($ 167,) and the dwellers upon the earth to be principles, the opposite of those of the heavenly system ; these last, the heavenly principles, being spoken of under the figure of martyrs, or witnesses for the truth. The action of the earthly principles upon the true, has been that of separating the spirit