Imágenes de páginas

arrangement, (diavier) by which the righteousness of God is (in Christ) made to the disciple a shelter from the wrath to come. To see this plan of redemption fully developed, is, accordingly, to see the tabernacle of God with men.

And he will dwell with them,' &c.; or, as the Greek onoga strictly signifies, He shall tabernacle or pitch his tent with them.—The figure is essentially Arabian ; as is a tribe of wanderiny Arabs, without a leader and without a protector, were exposed to some imminent danger, and on this account, just at the moment when they were about being scattered by Aying before their enemies, a powerful neighbouring chief were to adopt their cause as his own, to identify himself with them, and as a pledge of his good faith and determination to protect them, to pitch his tent among them; he becoming their leader, and they his subjects. So, in a spiritual sense, when the taber nacle of God—the economy of grace—is revealed, he will be seen to have come forth for the protection of his people, making their cause his own, pitching his tent amongst them, and identifying himself with them—He as their God and they as his people.

This identity, as we conceive, is the prominent idea to be associated with the description; corresponding with the petition of the Son of God himself, (John xvii. 21, 23,) “ That they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”

" I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Not that the use of the figure here militates with that referred to Rev. vii. 15, but that different features of the same arrangement are indicated by the changes of expression. The tent pitched over the objects of protection directs our attention to the shelter of divine righteousness; while the tent pitched among or with the same objects, points to the feature of identity by adoption, (Gal. iv. 4, 5, and Eph. iv. 5, 6.). So the advantages of the disciple's position by adoption are illustrated by two different figures, Ps. xv. 1: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy hill ?” The position on the hill is equivalent, as a protection, to the shelter of the tabernacle. So we find likewise, by Ps. xxvii. 5, the position upon a rock, and the secrecy of the inmost recess of a tabernacle, to be illustrations of the same state of security : “ In the time of trouble, (when the requisitions of divine justice call for the punishment of the sinner,) he (God) shall hide me in his pavilion : in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me, he shall set me up upon a rock.”

This tabernacle is now said to be “ with men ;” that is, with the men of the new earth, or with men in the new state of things : not the inhabiters of the first earth, (Rev. viii. 13,) nor the men not having the seal of God in their foreheads, (Rev. ix. 4,) nor those that blasphemed God on account of the hail, (Rev. xvi. 21,) but apparently a class similar to those spoken

of, Rev. vii. 14-17, who had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, of whom it was also said, “ He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them," &c., (S$ 180–184;) this purification in the blood of the Lamb being equivalent to the change of position from the old to the new state of things. We suppose the epoch of the two representations to be the same: the announcement in the first four verses of this chapter being a declaration of the fulfilment of what is predicted in the three last verses of the seventh chapter.

As the development of the sixth seal extends to the coming of the great day of wrath, corresponding as we suppose with the scene of judgment under the seventh vial in the last chapter; so we may consider the action of the choruses in heaven, described in the seventh chapter, to correspond with the gratulatory announcement of the great voice out of heaven in this chapter ;-the multitude which no man could number, standing before the throne, Rev. vij. 9, being identic with the men of the new heaven and new earth ; or the first standing before the throne may apply to principles, and the last (men of the new earth) to those benefited by these principles. It may not be intended, however, that these terms, multitude and men, should be so strictly construed; the narrations, taken in the abstract, illustrating a state of things, or certain views of a state of things. The former things exhibited only views of judicial wrath, the new things exhibit those of mercy.

As we have before observed, in the description of the judicial retribution given at the close of the last chapter, the fate of only one class of objects is there set forth— those not written in the book of life. The present chapter unfolds the condition of an opposite class ; the individuals of this class, however, are not represented as objects of meritorious reward. In order to bring about eir different treatment, the circumstances of the case are entirely changed : a new heaven and a new earth are indispensable ; former things must pass away, and all things must become new. As those escaping the lake of fire are not said to escape by virtue of their works, but as it is implied by the simple fact of their being found in the book of life; so those enjoying the privileges of the new Jerusalem, owe this enjoyment, not to their works, but to the extraordinary change of position with which they are favoured.

All things, it is said, are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, (Heb. iv. 13 ;) in whose sight even the heavens are not clean, (Job xiv. 15;) and who is declared also to be of purer eyes than to behold evil, or to look upon iniquity, Heb. i. 13 ; consequently, the only mode in which any person or thing can become an object of divine favour, must be by substitution of the economy of grace for that of judgment.

$469. “And they shall be,' &c.; or, the people themselves shall be

[ocr errors]

his, and he the God with them shall be—the God of them, or their God ;corresponding with the distinction we have drawn beiween the actual service and worship of God, in which (taking the motive of conduct into view) He is considered the efficient cause of salvation, and consequently in effect God; and a pretended worship of him, in which self or some other object is contemplated as the source of eternal life, making that object in effect to appear to be the true God.*

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, &c.—The promises of this verse correspond very nearly with those given concerning the multitude clothed in white, of which we have already treated, (5$ 180184 ;) the wiping away of all tears, comprehending in fact the assurance that there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying. The principal difference in the passage appears to be, in the reason assigned for this favourable change in the circumstances of those affected by it.

For [because) the former things have passed away.'—The harlot, and the beast, and the false prophet, and the accuser, and death, and hell, and the first heaven, and the first earth, and the sea, have passed away ; therefore, there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, nor any more pain ; consequently, no tears—they are wiped away by the removal of their exciting cause. Death we considered a state obnoxious to condemnation. If this state does not exist, the condemnation does not follow ; where there is no death, there is no hell; the expression here, therefore, is equivalent to the declaration that there shall be no more death and hell. The accuser is gone ; the sea, the element of wrath, is gone; and the whole position of man is changed; he is now contemplated in Christ, and there is “no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," or that are “ found in him."

Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto life ; but those in Christ, enjoying the new aspect of things, are here supposed to have passed the stage of repentance—the vestibule of faith ; for even Christ, in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, (Heb. v. 7 ;) but being now glorified, and on the right hand of God, former things with him also have passed away. So the apostle urges the disciples to leave the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, and to go on, as we apprehend the expression, to more finished views of faith—views enabling the believer to perceive himself to be with Christ justified in the Spirit, and raised from a position of death to a position of life.

* The words 'is' and ' and be'italicised in the first clause of this verse of our common version, are gratuitously supplied; the reading would be better without them. Behold, the tabernacle of God with men ;-with is, the thing spoken of appears to have just taken place; without it, the inference is that the tabernacle was before with men, but now they are called to look upon it, or to behold it-now, the veil is drawn aside, the mystery hid from the beginning is revealed.

Having been brought by repentance to a conviction of bis sins, and to an entire casting of himself upon Christ for salvation, the disciple has reaped the fruit of godly sorrow; he has attained the end designed by that discipline. He now rejoices in Christ, having no merit of his own, (Phil. iii. 3.) So Paul's tears were wiped away ; when labouring under a sense of his unworthiness from some besetting sin, he was assured that the grace of God was sufficient for his salvation ; the strength or power of Jehovah's imputed righteousness being manifested by the weakness of those in whose behalf it is interposed. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin ; if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins, (1 John i. 7, ii. 2.) Here is the wiping away of all tears, the cause of sorrow and crying is removed. To him whose advance in faith is sufficient to perceive this, former things have passed away, and a new heaven and a new earth appear.

A conviction of sin must necessarily be accompanied by sorrow; but if it lead to a reliance upon the free, unmerited salvation of God, wrought out in Christ, it becomes a cause of rejoicing and of praise. How else could we unite with the apostle in the ascription of praise and adoration offered in the commencement of this book, Rev. i. 5, “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Nor is it to be supposed that we shall forget this cause of praise in a future state. Though God blot out our transgressions from the book of his remembrance, or no more remember them against us, the redeemed sinner cannot forget his former tribulation, without forgetting also the obligations of gratitude under which he has been placed.

“I will bless the Lord at all times," says David, “ his praise shall be continually in my mouth ;" and this for the reason given : “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” “ I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplication. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon the Lord as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold

I found trouble and sorrow, then called I upon the name of the Lord. O Lord, I beseech thee deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord and righteous, yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee, for thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling,(Ps. cxvi. 1–8.) Who can say that David did not enjoy, in spirit, an antepast at least of the new heaven and of the new earth.

upon me.

· Neither shall there be any more pain.'—No more toil, painful labour, (nóros.) The new position is a state of rest—the opposite of the position of the subjects of the beast, on the pouring out of the fifth vial, (Rev. xvi. 10,) when they gnawed their tongues for pain, ($ 363.) “For we know (says Paul, Rom. viii. 22–25) that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption—the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope ; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for ? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” In the views afforded by the new heavens and the new earth—the holy city and tabernacle of God—we have an exhibition of that which Paul waited for ; a position of resta position termed by David the rest of his soula position of faith in which there is no anguish of labour, in going about to establish a righteousness of one's own. To these views of Christian rest the apostle Peter appears to allude as the end of faith, in speaking of the inheritance “reserved in heaven," " ready to be revealed in the last time,” (1 Peter i. 3-10.) A similar allusion may be found in the prediction Is. xxxv. 10: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

V. 5. And he that sat upon the throne Και είπεν ο καθήμενος επί τω θρόνω: said, Behold, I make all things new. And idov, xarvi túrta roca. xai hszer. yoóhe said unto me, Write; for these words

ψον· ότι ούτοι οι λόγοι πιστοί και αληθιare true and faithful.

voi sior,

$470. “And he that sat upon the throne,' &c.—This clause reminds us that the present exhibition is part of the same as that described in the latter part of the preceding chapter ; the throne spoken of here is the

great white throne,” and the occupant of the throne now speaking is He from whose face the heaven and earth Aled away. It is not yet said expressly who this exalted Being is, although from all the circumstances of the representation, we have inferred and still infer that it is Jesus Christ himself, in his glorified state; and we have now an additional reason for this inference, afforded by the declaration here made.

Behold, I make all things new.'—The substitution of the new heavens and the new earth for the old had been previously described, and the declaration has already been uttered that the former things are passed away. The further development is now made as to the author of this change. The emphasis in reading the text is to be laid upon the pronoun I. It is Jesus who makes all things new. Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, virtually

« AnteriorContinuar »