Imágenes de páginas

or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ;" as if it were said, that in all things his name may be glorified, and not yours. Thus the leading prominent feature in every principle or doctrine peculiar to the economy of

grace must be that of a manifest tendency to exalt the name and magnify the glory of God and the Lamb.*

V.5. And there shall be no night there; Και νύξ ουκ έσται έτι, και ουχ εξοισι and they shall need no candle, neither χρείαν φωτός λύχνου και φωτός ηλίου, ότι them light: and they shall reign Forever κύριος ο θεός φωτίσει επ' αυτούς και βαand ever.

σιλεύσουσιν εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων. .

$ 518. “And there shall be no night there.'—This was said of the city in the preceding chapter, (v. 25,) but the design was then to show that the gates were never closed; now the purpose is to exhibit the perpetual duration of light—that there is no interval of darkness, and none to be apprehended.

“Who is among you,” says the prophet, (Is. I. 10,) “ that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God”—and this is said in reserence to the justification spoken of in the eighth verse of the same chapter.

We have already defined our views of light, in a spiritual sense, as a figure of divine righteousness, the moral perfection of the Deity resplendent as the light, and by imputation clothing the objects of his favour with that light, as with a garment. The economy of redemption (the true vision of peace) fully manifested, affords a constant, perpetual exhibition of this gracious provision ; for which reason it is said there is no night there—no season of darkness, ($ 506.) The city is an opposite of the kingdom of darkness, ($ 363 ;) and affording, as it does, an exhibition of the position of the disciple in Christ, it is an opposite of those imperfect views of faith, which correspond only with a position out of Christ. In this stage of revelation, it may be said, “ The darkness is past, and the true light now

* In the ordinary affairs of life, it is no uncommon thing to make use of the name of a third person to obtain a desired object. Under a monarchical government, he who seeks the liberation of a pardoned criminal, takes with him a document bearing the royal signature. With this he goes to the prison in the king's name, and it is manifest that by the power of this name the release is effected.

In matters of commerce, he who has no money in the bank, obtains the order of a third person who has money or credit with the institution ; thus furnished, the holder of the order receives the amount desired, but it is evidently to the name of the third person that the credit of the operation is due. So the disciple, needing a righteousness to justify him at the great tribunal of divine judgment, and having none of his own, presents himself in the nume of him who is declared to be Jehovah our righteousness, (God and the Lamb;) the plea made in this name is admitted, and he is fully justified—the praise and glory of that justification belonging to him whose name is thus employed.

shineth ;” an epoch responsive to the prophetic invocation, (Is. Ix. 1, 2,) Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee”—the imputed glory of divine perfection being equivalent to a covering of light.

' And they need no candle.'—Or, they have no need of the light of a lamp ; that is, of an artificial light; such apparently as we find alluded to, Is. 1. 2: “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow” state of sorrow arising from erroneous views further described, Is. lix. 8–10: “The way of peace they know not, they have made them crooked paths; therefore they say, We wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness; we grope for the wall like the blind, we stumble at noonday as in the night.” Where the knowledge of salvation by imputed righteousness is wanting, there are perpetual efforts (crooked ways) to create some righteousness or some merits of one's own, in the glory of which the deluded errorist thinks himself to be walking, as in the sparks of his own kindling. Where, on the contrary, the truth is manifested and understood, there is no temptation to these efforts : Jehovah once seen as our righteousness, no other light can be required, or even desired—they need no candle.

· Neither light of the sun, for the LORD GOD giveth them light.'* *-So it was said in the preceding chapter, (v. 23,) “ The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it,” &c. ; and we have there remarked, that the glory of God, as it is manifest in the Lamb, is the light, or lamp of the city, ($ 504.) The purpose then, was to show the glory of divine perfection to be the only and all-sufficient glory, exhibited by, or in, the economy of redemption. Now, we apprehend, the purpose is to show that as the LORD GOD (Jehovah, 8 437) is manifested to be the light of the city, there is no occasion for any of the intermediate representations of that that light before employed. Christ (the Sun of righteousness) has now given up the kingdom to the sovereign God, (God and the Lamb ;) this figure, therefore, of the sun is no longer called for ; so, as the city is now manifested to exhibit the glory of Jehovah himself, the figure of an opaque body reflecting the rays of the Sun of righteousness ($9 202, 267) is also dispensed with. The Lord God shineth upon them, as it is expressed in the

* Or, “shall shine upon them, according to the Greek of some editions, and, we apprehend, correctly; because the allusion is to their position in light, not to a light in them. It is not an intellectual light, but light in a spiritual sense, which is here the subject of contemplation.

original, or as the prophet expresses it, “ The LORD (Jehovah) is thine everlasting light,” (Is. Ix. 19, 20.)

As it is said, (1 John iv. 15, 16,) “ Whosoever confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.* God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The same God, of whom it is said (1 Tim. vi. 16) that “ He is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords"; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.” Consequently, to dwell in God is to dwell in light, (spiritual light or righteousness ;) as it was predicted in reference to views of faith of this character, “Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength,” (Is. xlv. 24.)

$ 519. “And they shall reign for ever and ever.'--In addressing himself to the seven churches, (Rev. i. 6,) the apostle speaks of them, as well as of himself, as having been made kings and priests unto God, according to our common version ; or, according to the Wiclif version, and many Greek editions, ($ 15,) as those to whom a kingdom had been made by their being constituted priests to God. In the new song of the four beasts and twenty-four elders, (Rev. v. 8–10,) they speak of themselves as made kings and priests, ($ 140,) and as such destined to reign upon the earth ; or, as it is here also expressed by Wiclif, “ madist us a kingdom prestis to oure God, and we schuln regne on erthe.So it is said of those that have part in the first resurrection, that they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. In the passage under consideration, neither of the terms king or priest is mentioned, but we may reasonably presume that the reigning is of the same character as that spoken of on the three preceding occasions.

As we have noticed before, the term Baoultús, usually rendered king, was sometimes applied amongst the Greeks to “one who presided over sacred things, Dem. 940, 13,” and Bacíhooa, (queen) is “spoken of the wife of the rex sacrorum at Athens, Dem. 1370,” (Rob. Lex. 104, 105;) while the verb, Boolleów, commonly rendered reign, signifies, metaphorically, to be in force, to be predominant, to prevail, as is said of death, sin, and grace, Rom. v. 14, 17, 21, vi. 12. This reigning we may presume, therefore, to be a priestly reigning, a predominance in sacred things, a predominance or ruling of certain principles of faith in matters of religious doctrine.

It is evident that this term reign, or king, is not to be understood here in the ordinary sense, as of the possession of supreme authority by human

* This dwelling in God we take to be a figure of the position in which the disciple is accounted to be placed in divine judgment; the confession above mentioned being a mark or token, and not the means of occupying the position described : as the apostle (John) commences the chapter with a designation of marks by which the Spirit of God is to be known.

beings; for, if we suppose every disciple saved to become, in a future state, literally a king or chief, we must either suppose the whole multitude of disciples to be kings over those who are not saved, or else they must all of them be kings without subjects. We are shut up to the conclusion, therefore, that the term reign is to be understood here in a metaphorical or spiritual sense, that the reigning pertains to sacred things, (matters of faith ;) and that, in order to ascertain its true character, we must take into view the peculiar functions of the priesthood; the degree of power being illustrated by the figure of royal authority; the kind of power by the character of the priestly office.

The word priest or priests does not occur in any of the Epistles, except in that to the Hebrews. In this Epistle, as well as in the Gospels and in Acts, these terms are exclusively applied to the Jewish priests, strictly such under the Levitical law; except in Hebrews, where Christ and Melchisedek are spoken of as priests; and in Acts xiv. 13, where the priests of Jupiter are mentioned.* Christ himself nowhere designates his apostles or any of his followers as priests, nor do the apostles themselves anywhere assume this title or appellation. The office and title of priest, throughout the New Testament, appear to be contemplated as altogether vested in the house of Aaron, under the legal dispensation ; and, on the fulfilment of that dispensation, as having been altogether merged in the person of Christ.

The term priesthood occurs, in the New Testament, only in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the subject treated of is the Levitical priesthood, (merging, as we have viewed it, in the person of Christ,) and in the first Epistle of Peter, (ii. 5 and 9,) where the apostle speaks of the whole multitude of those to whom his Epistle is addressed, (the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, &c.,) as a holy and royal priesthood, recommending even to this priesthood their reception of the sincere milk of the word as new-born babes. As he says, “ if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious,” implying very apparently that, so far from being able to teach, there was some doubt whether they were yet possessed of the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ; whence we draw the inference that, in the contemplation of the inspired writer, the province of a priest was altogether distinct from that of a teacher. In addition to this, the apostle, in the same connection, gives us the reason why these “ new-born babes” are denominated a priesthood, which is, that they are “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable,” &c.; whence we draw the further conclusion, that the functions of a priest, strictly speaking, are those peculiar to the offering of

* The priests of Jupiter were properly styled priests, because they offered sacrifices, or presided over the offering of sacrifices. Such were also the priests of Baal, (2 Kings X. 19,) and of other false gods, mentioned in the Old Testament, not teachers, or preachers, or pastors, but sacrificators.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

sacrifices. A priest may be a teacher, and a teacher may be a priest; but a teacher, pastor, or minister, in the ordinary sense of the term, is not necessarily a priest in the scriptural sense of the term. Under the Levitical dispensation the offering of sacrifices, in the nature of the case, rendered it incumbent upon the priest to teach the children of Israel the difference between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, (Lev. x. 10, 11 ;) but even in this respect, in the time of King Asa, it appears that Israel had been for a long season without a teaching priest, (2 Chron. xv. 3.) This teaching may be considered, therefore, a function incidental to the office of a priest, but not that which characterized the individual as a priest. A priest might be a prophet, or might be so on some occasions, but all priests were not prophets, neither were all the prophets of the Hebrews priests ; nor, we apprehend, were the schools of the prophets (as they have been termed) schools of priests, preparatory to the service of the temple.

The English term priest comes apparently from the French verb prêter, originally spelt with an s, (prester,) without the circumflex, signifying to OFFER—that is, to offer sacrifice. The Greek 'lepɛús, translated priest, is derived from the verb 'Tepebw, signifying not merely to offer sacrifice, but also to immolate, to slaughter, the victim offered ; a function which in early times belonged particularly to the office of a priest, as we find, under the law, the principal duties performed by the priests in the temple service consisted of manual operations ; and as, in the example of the patriarch

upon Mount Moriah, we perceive it to have been considered a matter of course that the offerer of the sacrifice should himself slaughter the victim. So Jesus Christ speaks of the offering he was about to make, (John x. 15 and 18:)

" I lay down my life of myself. No one (výdeis) taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Whence he is called the priest (the high priest) of our profession ; not as a teacher, although he taught as never man spake; nor as a pastor, although he is the shepherd (pastor) and bishop (overseer) of our souls; but he is called a priest, because he himself officiated, once for all, in offering up the one great sacrifice of atonement, called for by Infinite Justice, for blotting out the transgressions of a world of sinners. If he had not laid down his life of himself, he could not have been called a priest ; and if he had not had power to lay it down, as well as power to take it again, he could not have filled the office of a priest.

$ 520. Under the law none of the people were esteemed worthy to offer sacrifices acceptable to God; it was only through the appointed channel that the offerings of any could be received, and they were then accepted only because such was the medium ordained of God ;-this medium was the house of Aaron. The assumption of the priestly office on the part of any individual of any other family, would not have rendered the sacrifice either holy or acceptable. Aaron and his lineage may thus be said to have reigned



« AnteriorContinuar »