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strength, together with a corresponding love of every fellow-creature, must be the rule of conduct hereafter, as it is the unchangeable commandment here.
As the criterion of moral good and evil must always be the same, the motive for adherence to this rule, apart from the difference of circumstances, is all that is susceptible of change. In this state of existence, man is, in a greater or less degree, governed by mercenary feelings, arising from fear of punishment, or from hope of reward. Hereafter the redeemed disciple can be influenced by no motive but that of gratitude (love) for evils escaped, salvation experienced, and benefits enjoyed.
Such, or similar to this, is supposed to be the change introduced, wrought or to be wrought, in the heart or mind of the disciple, as an operation of faith or of doctrinal views even in this life. The rule of moral action remains the same, but the obligation to observe this rule, in the apprehension of the believer, is entirely different. The disciple, having cast himself with unreserving hope and confidence altogether upon the atoning sacrifice and justifying righteousness of his Redeemer, feels himself bound by the strongest ties of gratitude to perform scrupulously every duty of morality; to fulfil every obligation towards God and man ; to avoid even the appearance of evil, that he may obey, please, and glorify his Divine Benefactor ; thus judging that he that died for all, died that those that live might no more live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them and rose again.
To unfold this mystery, to enable the follower of Christ thus to discern his true and proper position, and the duties consequently devolving upon him, and thus to be built up in his most holy faith, while the glory is manifested to belong to God alone, is supposed to be the main design of this unveiling or revelation of Jesus Christ.
NOTICE TO THE READER.
The first three verses of the first chapter of the book of Revelation, may be taken for the title-page; setting forth the subject matter, the source whence this matter is derived, those for whose edification it is ostensibly intended, and the individual by whom the matter is committed to writing, together with a species of motto, calculated to impress the minds of all into whose hands the volume may come with the importance of its contents.
The greeting is in the ancient epistolary style, and occupies the space from the fourth to the sixth verse inclusive; the communication being in the style of an epistle to certain seven churches of Asia. The seventh verse appears to contain a proposition relative to the coming of Christ, which, as will be seen, ($ 552,)we apply to the subject of the whole book. The remainder of the chapter details the manner in which the apostle has received his commission to perform the extraordinary task devolving upon him; a detail equivalent to the declaration of Paul, Gal. i. 11, 12: "For I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ," δι' αποκαλύψεως Ιησού Χριστού.
The second and third chapters are occupied with seven distinct addresses to as many angels of churches; addresses coming not from John, but from him whose manifestation in vision had just been described. It is thus not till the commencement of the fourth chapter that the great subject of the book is entered upon.
A large portion of the first chapter may be regarded as John's preface; we give therefore to our remarks on this chapter, the running title of Apocalyptic Introduction; and to the remarks on the second and third chapters, containing the addressee, the running title of Introductory Epistles; having arranged and paged the matter of these three chapters in the usual form of an introduction, purposely to distinguish it.
The division into chapters and verses, however, it is to be borne in mind, forme no part of the original composition, having been adopted some thirteen or fifteen hundred years subsequent to the times of the Apostles. “The text of the sacred books,” it is said, “ was originally written without any breaks or divisions into verses, or even into words ; so that a whole book, as written in the ancient manner, was in fact but one continued word; of which mode of writing, many specimens are still extant in ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts,” (Intro. Bagster’s C. B.) In seeking the sense of a passage, therefore, we must be governed by that of the preceding and succeeding matter, without let or hindrance from this arbitrary arrangement of human invention; of which it has been very justly said as above, “ Although the very great advantages which have arisen from it, in facilitating references to particular passages, has caused its almost universal adoption; it must be confessed that these divisions and subdivisions are not always in the happiest manner, many passages being sev. ered that ought to be united, and vice versa.”
The analytic manner in which these thoughts are given to the public, has arisen from the necessity of the case. st was proposed to exhibit the Apocalypse as a doctrinal work, to be understood in a certain spiritual sense, and in doing this, to employ
uniform rule of analogical interpretation; the value of this rule depending upon its capability of application to the entire piece of composition. In order to ascertain and to set forth these peculiarities, it became requisite therefore to examine the character of every passage, verse by verse, and clause by clause, that no important portion should escape attention, or appear to be intentionally passed over.
The general course of interpretation pursued here, has been first to ascertain the proper natural or literal sense of the term or figure employed, as understood in the time of the apostle; and afterwards to search for the analogous spiritual meaning. In pursuing this investigation, the writer has availed himself only of such helps as were within his immediate possession : for the aid received from these he has been careful to give due credit where the occasion seemed to call for it; and he cannot express too strongly bis sense of the important services performed in the cause of truth, by the laborious researches and patient labours of the lexicographers, compilers of concordances, and collators of editions and manuscripts, to whom the Christian world are so much indebted.
P. S. In making quotations from the English Scriptures, we have put the words italicized in our common version into parenthesis ( ), and those which we have ourselves substituted, or proposed to change, into brackets ; italicizing only such words as we wish to render particularly emphatic.
81. This title is not admitted in some editions of the Greek, nor is it noticed in the English Concordance of Cruden, or the Greek of Schmidt. It is generally believed to have been added by a later hand, (Rob. Lex. 301,) and may have originated from the endorsement on the outside of a scroll, afterwards inadvertently copied as the commencement of the manuscript. The Greek term ©£ó£oyos, the theologian, injudiciously rendered divine, is applicable to any writer treating of the Deity, qui de Deo, deisve disserit aut loquitur, (Suiceri Lex.,) but it is not in keeping with the style or character of John, the Evangelist, to give himself the title of saint, or of divine, or even of the theologian. As little can we suppose him to have styled the work his Revelation ; either as a revelation of himself, or as something revealed by him. Even those by whom this title was first introduced, could have intended nothing more by it than to distinguish the volume or scroll as something committed to writing by this apostle, vouched for by him, and therefore called his.
Vs. 1, 2. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Αποκάλυπψις Ιησού Χριστού, ήν έδωκεν which God gave unto him, to show unto αυτώ ο Θεός δείξαι τους δούλους αυτού ά δεϊ his servants things which must shortly γένεσθαι εν τάχει, και εσήμανεν αποστείλας it by his angel unto his servant John, δια του αγγέλου αυτού τώ δούλω αυτού who bare record of the word of God, and 'Ιωάννη, ός εμαρτύρησε τον λόγον του Θεού of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all και την μαρτυρίαν Ιησου Χριστού, όσα things that he saw.
είδε, Or όσα τε είδε. 82. The Revelation of Jesus Christ.'--Here we have the proper title of the book-a title which may also be rendered, THE UNVEILING OF THE ANOINTED SAVIOUR. The name Christ signifying the anointed, and Jesus,
the Saviour. The word translated revelation also implying the removing of a cover or veil, from xalbarw, to hide or cover. As Matthew x. 26, and Luke xii. 2, “ There is nothing hid, or veiled, or covered, which shall not be revealed”-unveiled, or uncovered—alluding, apparently, to the mysteries of the Gospel subsequently to be unfolded—mysteries veiled under the old dispensation, but unveiled in Christ. As it was said of the children of Israel, 2 Cor. iii. 14, “ Their minds were blinded, for until this day the same veil remaineth, untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament, which is taken away in Christ.” This apocalypse of Jesus Christ is therefore a revelation or unveiling, which he makes of himself—an exhibition of his own real character and offices—a revelation, or discovery, such as he made to the two disciples going to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 27, when he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself—a revelation of things once hid from the wise and prudent, but now revealed, even unto babes; and a revelation of himself, and of God manifested in him, of which he says, “ No man knoweth the Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him," Matt. xi. 27.
The character of the revelation about to be contemplated, then, is that of a development of doctrinal truth, a development set forth in figurative language, and illustrated by a variety of imagery, to be understood only in a spiritual sense. The period of this understanding we suppose to be that alluded to, Luke xvii. 30, as “the day when the Son of Man is revealed,” (inoxæhúntetai,) or unveiled—an opposite development is alluded to, 2 Thess. ii. 8, as the uncovering of the mystery of iniquity," and then shall that wicked be revealed, or unveiled.” The revelation of the Son of Man, spoken of in Luke, being an opposite of that of the man of sin predicted by Paul ;-events to be understood in the same sense, and probably to take place contemporaneously.*
$ 3. “Which God gave him.'—It was committed to Jesus Christ to exemplify in himself, in his sufferings, death, and resurrection, as well as in the doctrines taught by him, the truths of salvation, the mysteries of all that economy of grace, by which, it is said, mercy and truth are met together, and justice and peace have been reconciled to each other, (Ps. lxxxv. 10,) as he himself says, (John xxvii. 4,) “ I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” This work being a revelation of the Redeemer in his person, as God manifest in the flesh, in his offices, as the propitiation for sin, and as the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
* The Greek term apocalypse, in all its various forms in the New Testament, is almost uniformly applied to an intellectual revelation. According to the Septuagint it expresses the sense of the same Hebrew word, which we render in Leviticus by uncover, and in the prophets by reveal.