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ual sense from the literal; this spiritual sense being represented by the blood, the life of the animal, as well as by the soul, in contradistinction to the body. To avenge this spiritual sense upon the elements which have operated in separating it from the literal sense, that is, in excluding it altogether, is, we may suppose, equivalent to vindicating the truth testified to by these martyr principles; which vindication is to be effected by placing the spiritual sense in its true light: a manifestation necessarily resulting in the destruction or metaphorical death of the elements of the earthly system. A kind of evidence, we may easily perceive, perfectly in accordance with the regard for truth inseparable from the divine character, without being inconsistent with the equally inseparable attribute of sovereign mercy. The cry of the souls, “ How long,” &c., bespeaks a general impatience for the manifestation of the truth ; as if it were said, “ How long, O Lord, ere the proper sense and meaning of the truths we have testified will be vindicated, or made to operate in the destruction of false doctrines, or of the elements of false doctrine, connected with the system of self-righteousness ?”

V. 11. And white robes were given Και εδόθη αυτοϊς εκάστω στολή λευκή, , unto every one of them ; and it was said και ερρέθη αυτοίς, ένα αναπαύσωνται έτι unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants xgóvov pixpóv, čus airgafwoi xai oi oiralso and their brethren, that should be δουλοι αυτών και οι αδελφοί αυτών, οι μέλkilled as they were, should be fulfilled. λοντες αποκτένεσθαι ως και αυτοί. .

$ 163. “And there was given to each of them white robes.'-As it is said of him that evercometh, Rev. iii. 4, 5, “He shall be clothed with white raiment ;" and of the few names in Sardis, “ They shall walk with me in white;" an allusion to the covering of divine righteousness, ($ 86.) The uniform or livery of these souls thus affording evidence of their community with the system of truth, although the manifestation of the true, or spiritual sense of the principles symbolized by them is for a season withheld ; as we might say of the faith of a disciple, the sum of which consists in an implicit reliance on the merits of his Redeemer. However imperfect his views may otherwise be, they wear in this particular the livery of evangelical truth. His faith belongs to the system of salvation by sovereign grace, although he does not himself at present perceive it.

· That they should rest for a little season.'-- That they should wait or pause, not rest, as for relief. They were to wait until the term allowed for the prevalence of error should expire ; after which, it is implied, the vengeance prayed for would be taken-corresponding with the prediction of Paul, 2 Thess. ï. 8, “ And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming.” The period of this waiting being identical with that spoken of in the same epistle of Paul, during which the mystery of iniquity is to work, as it were, in secret, a certain power letting or preventing its revelation ;—the final manifestation of error being at last brought about by the extreme to which its doctrines are carried out ; an extreme alluded to, 2 Tim. ii. 1, as the last days, when perilous times shall come; a time when, as it is also said, 2 Tim. iv. 3, sound doctrine will not be endured; and a time when, as we might also say, in the language of the Old Testament, “ The iniquity of the Amorites is full, (Gen. xv. 16.) A time, too, when from the abounding of this iniquity, the love of many shall wax cold. A coldness or lukewarmness generated, as we have seen, in the case of the Laodicean church, ($ 91,) by that dereliction, or aberration from the truth of salvation by grace alone, in which the iniquity of self-righteousness especially consists. As he who is forgiven little, or thinks himself so, loveth little ; so every error tending to undermine the cause of gratitude to Christ the Saviour, must proportionally tend to destroy the love of the disciple towards his Redeemer.

• Until their fellow-servants and brethren, that were to be killed as they were, should be perfected.'—That is, should have completed, or have filled up, the measure of work assigned them. These souls, or their spiritual sense, then, being also, like their predecessors, under the altar; while their literal sense is that only which appears upon the altar, ($ 161.) These fellow servants, or slaves, (ourdov.01,) and brethren, we suppose to be other elements or principles, serving or belonging to the system of doctrinal truth, and co-operating with the souls in promoting the promulgation of that truth.

Some parts of Scripture, for example, have ever been, and still are admitted to have a hidden doctrinal meaning; as if commentators, unable to make any thing else of them, were willing to consign them to what they considered the shade of spirituality, as exceptions to a general rule. The time may come when even these will be literalized, or denied any special signification ; when the whole written word of divine revelation will be perverted by an earthly, and self-righteous construction; and then we may say, perhaps, the time of the end cometh.

V. 12. And I beheld when he had Και είδον ότε ήνοιξε την σφραγίδα την opened the sixth seal, and Io, there was a έκτης, και σεισμός μέγας εγένετο, και ο great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon

ήλιος εγένετο μέλας ως σάκκος τρίχινος, και became as blood.

η σελήνη όλη εγένετο ως αίμα. .

$ 164. “There was a great shaking.'-There is nothing in the Greek word translated earthquake, limiting the sense to the action of the earth. The verb gelo, from which the term is derived, signifies simply I shake. The term geluós, is applied, Matt. viii. 24, to a tempest, or commotion of the sea ; Matt. xxvii. 51 and 54, to a quaking of the earth ; and Matt. xxi. 10, to a commotion in the minds of the people. In every instance in which the term is employed, we must look to the context to explain its precise meaning. Here it is applied to all the visible elements of earth and heaven; the shaking, or commotion described, being something which produces an effect


the sun, moon, and stars, as well as upon the mountains and islands.

• The sun became black as sackcloth of hair.'—Such was its appearance. Sexxos, a garment in the shape of a sack, of a coarse black cloth, made of hair, (Rob. Lex. 673.) The sun appeared as if clothed in such a garment, although the sun itself undergoes no change ; but, as in an eclipse, its rays being intercepted by an opaque body, it appears dark or blackdarkness or blackness consisting in the absence of the rays of light. So the Sun of righteousness, although ever the same, may appear to the eye of the disciple, in consequence of the intervention of some film of error, as if divested of its light, or power to impart light : the view of salvation, by imputed righteousness, is entirely lost sight of; the spiritual sun appears, in effect, as if clothed in a sack of black cloth.

$ 165. "And the whole moon became as blood.'-This planet, as it is well known, shines by a light not her own. She appears resplendent only in the borrowed rays of the sun ; without these she would appear, as she is in fact, a dark opaque body. In this respect she is an appropriate figure of what we usually call the church, or that which represents the whole body of the disciples, all of whom are in fact without any light or righteousness of their own; all of whom must appear, in the sight of Him who seeth not as man seeth, clothed in moral perfection only in proportion as that perfection is imputed to them, or transferred as it were to their account.

When the atmosphere is clear, and the moon is near the zenith, she appears of a white light; an appearance striking us as remarkable for its beauty, and with which we associate peculiar ideas of serenity and purity. When just rising or setting, especially when the atmosphere is somewhat hazy, the same planet, although near her full, appears red ; at times almost as red as blood. The moon herself undergoes no change; she is still the same opaque body, reflecting the same borrowed light; and to an eye more elevated than ours, or to the inhabitant of some other planet, she may continue to appear clothed in the white garment so often the subject of our admiration. The difference is in the medium of vision; the earthly mist, through which we are obliged to behold her, gives her this red appearance, and especially when her rays strike the eye horizontally, those rays having then a much longer career to perform through this fallacious medium.

In like manner that spiritual body, which we term the church, when contemplated with an eye of faith, unaffected by the mists of literal construction, uninfluenced by the perverting principles of self-righteous doctrines, appears clothed in the perfect righteousness of her Redeemera garment purely white,—as a bride adorned for her husband ;-but when

brought down to the horizon of an earthly apprehension—when contemplated through the mists of literal interpretation, or through an atmosphere of accumulated errors—the very righteousness in which we rejoice seems to our apprehension as the red vengeance of an offended God. The church appears the victim of divine justice, or as if she had herself borne the penalty of her own transgressions; as if she, and not her Saviour, had trodden the wine press of wrath alone ; as if she, and not her Saviour, bore the marks of the propitiatory sacrifice by which her salvation had been secured-marks of her own propitiatory suffering too, and not those of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, (Gal. vi. 17.)

V. 13. And the stars of heaven fell unto Και οι αστέρες του ουρανού έπεσαν εις the earth, even as a fg-tree caeteth her την γην, ως συκή βάλλει τους ολύνθους αυuntimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

της υπό ανέμου μεγάλου σειομένη. .

$ 163. The stars, in the account given of the creation, Gen. i. 16, are spoken of as the lesser lights, as compared with the sun and moon. The sun we suppose to be a figure of the Sun of righteousness, or of that principle of divine truth which represents Christ the Saviour as the Lord our righteousness; and the moon a figure, not perhaps of the community, literally, of believers, but of that element of evangelical doctrine which represents this community as clothed with the perfection or light of imputed righteousness. In like manner, we suppose the stars to represent lesser, or subordinate principles, exhibiting certain degrees of this light, all of which contribute to enable the disciple to discern his true position of eternal life in Christ, and through the merits of Christ. The effect described as resulting from the opening of the sixth seal, we suppose to be that of producing an intellectual darkness in spiritual matters—a state or view of spiritual things or doctrines, in which the Saviour no longer appears as the sun, or the Lord our righteousness; in which the scheme of doctrine no longer exhibits the Christian community as clothed with the pure light of imputed righteousness, and in which every minor or subordinate principle of evangelical doctrine is for the time shaken down and overcome. The sun, moon, and stars, are still elements of the heavenly system, but darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people; and these heavenly truths are no longer perceptible—the stars fall, as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs. The exhibition of these heavenly truths is not allowed to reach its maturity; they have yet yielded no fruit. As the influence of selfrighteousness crept into the literal church almost immediately after the promulgation of the gospel, the doctrines of Christian faith having been in a certain degree smothered before the truth was fully promulged; so the views of the gospel, figured by these heavenly bodies, (the stars,) are represented as cast to the earth—becoming earthy and literal before they had reached maturity of development.

A crisis, of a character corresponding with this, appears to be alluded to, Ezek. xxxii. 7, 8, in the lamentation over Egypt : “ And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord.”

The prophet and apostle allude, apparently, to a similar state or period of prevailing error, when gospel truths no longer appear in their true light. This is said to be the consequence of a shaking or commotion ; not necessarily an earthquake, as already remarked, ($ 164 ;) neither would an earthquake be a figure for a shaking of the stars of heaven. Nor do we suppose this shaking to be a heavenly commotion, or one operating immediately upon false systems only. Judging from its effects, as already described, and from the subsequent context, the tendency of this commotion

appears rather calculated to keep back and to obscure all evangelical views of the way of salvation, throwing the self-righteous upon their own re

As it might be said of those despising the way of salvation offered them in the gospel, that the view or exhibition of that way is now taken from them; their case resembling that of Esau, as described by Paul, (Heb. xii 17.)


V. 14. And the heaven departed as a Και ο ουρανός απεχωρίσθη ως βιβλίον scroll when it is rolled together; and είλισσόμενον, και πάν όρος και νήσος εκ every mountain and island were moved

των τόπων αυτών εκινήθησαν. out of their places.

. $ 167 “The heaven departed,'—drew back, recessit, as a scroll rolled up, involutus. The term rendered departed, is supposed by some to express a separation in the midst, Rob. Lex. 71 ; but it does not seem necessary to suppose this here; the heaven being a display of the divine economy of redemption, this display in the season of darkness just described is withdrawn. The scroll of divine revelation, in its spiritual sense, is for a time rolled up. The rejected blessing is no longer to be obtained, though sought carefully with tears, (Heb. xii. 17;) the gospel exhibition is closed—there remains only “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation;" the views of divine mercy are all withdrawn, while at the same time, as we shall find, the fallacy of all earthly or self-righteous foundations of hope are about being exposed and manifested.

* And every mountain and island were moved out of their places.'-At the close of this vision, Rev. xvi. 20, it is said, every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. Here they are represented only as moved out of their places ; the change is not that of a final destruction of false systems, but perhaps something preparatory to it.

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