Imágenes de páginas

was to protect the construction, as above suggested ; that no principle or expression should be accounted admissible which might take from the freeness of the salvation offered, or add a condition or burden inconsistent with the invitation to take of the water of life gratis. The nature of the threatened penalties must be sufficient to show, that doctrines or principles are contemplated as obnoxious to them, and not human beings. “ If any man (any one) shall add to (put upon, énigñ) these things, God shall add to him (monta in avròv, put upon him or it) the plagues written in this book.” The plagues or blows (ranyos) written in this book, are the seven plagues of the seven vials—the grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, the bloody sea, the fountains and rivers of blood, the scorching of the sun, the torment peculiar to the kingdom of the beast, the drying up of the Euphrates, the irruption of the spirits unclean as frogs, the earthquake and the hail, and the dissolution of the great city : add to these the plague of the scorpion locusts and the scorpion tails of the Euphratean horses, the plagues which the two witnesses were empowered to inflict, the plagues to which Babylon was subjected, and the plague inflicted upon the head of the beast. These are all “ the plagues written in this book.” We have examined them severally, and, however defective our definitions may have been, it is evident that these plagues or blows are of a figurative character ; symbolizing different tests by which the fallacy of erroneous systems and doctrinal principles is to be exposed. Corresponding with this construction, we presume the admonition or caution contained in the verses upon which we are now coinmenting to be equivalent to the declaration, that all false doctrines or principles introduced into this revelation, or brought to bear upon it, will be subjected to the tests just enumerated; their fallacy and inconsistency being exhibited by the same process.

$ 544. “And if any man (any one) shall take away,' &c., 'God shall take

away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and (from) the things which are written in this book;' or, as we might render the Greek of some editions, If any one take away from the sayings of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away the part of him (or of it) from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, (and) of the (things) written in this book; or, from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, written in this book. According to the first reading, the things written, &c. constitute a third figure ; according to the last reading, the words, “written in this book," being in the genitive plural in the original, apply to the tree and the city, also in the genitive, and together requiring the participle agreeing with them in the genitive plural. We are inclined to prefer this reading, because it accords with the construction of the preceding verse. The plagues are designated as those written in the book ; and, corresponding with this, the tree, or book of life, and the city, are also designated as those “written in this book.” The difference, as we understand the figures, is not very material. The tree of life, and the book of life, and the holy city, we suppose to represent the same divine purpose—different illustrations of the same word of God, the divine plan of redemption, which also constitutes the things written in this book of Revelation. They are all equivalents, although affording a variety in their mode of exhibiting the same truths. To take the part of a doctrine or principle out of, or away from, either or all of these illustrations or exhibitions, is to show that it has no share in them. So any doctrine or principle taking away from the substance or from the purport of this revelation any portion of its truths, will be shown to have no part in a true exhibition of the divine plan of mercy.

This book (the Apocalypse) we assumed, in the first instance, and we think it will so appear to be, an unveiling or revelation, in a spiritual sense, of · Jesus Christ himself, especially as the word of God, the purpose of sovereign grace, or divine plan of mercy. Any doctrine, principle, or construction, tending to engraft upon this revelation matters entirely of a different character, civil, political, or ecclesiastical, or tending to represent this divine purpose as a plan of salvation partly of works and partly of grace, or entirely of works instead of grace,

is a doctrine or construction adding to or laying upon this book things which do not belong to it; consequently, such doctrine or construction must be eventually exposed to certain tests of truth, illustrated by the plagues written in this book. As, for example, the plague to which the harlot was finally exposed was that of being destroyed by the ten horns ; the action of the law showing the utter destitution of the harlot-system of any righteousness or means of justification. The plague by which Babylon was finally destroyed was fire—the fire which is to try every work—the test of the written word by which every doctrine or construction is to be tried; the false doctrine or interpretation being destroyed, although the teacher himself may be a subject of mercy-saved indeed through that very plan of sovereign grace which, through ignorance, he may have been the instrument of misrepresenting

The taking away that which belongs to this book, we suppose to be something of the same character. In effect, the two figures are nearly convertible. To apply any portion of the things written in this book to a wrong object, is to take them away from their true object, and consequently to diminish the number of principles or elements of truth applicable to the true design of the revelation. As the two errors are thus interchangeable, so the figures representing the penalty are interchangeable. The effect of subjection to the tests or plagues being that of depriving the false principle tried of its part, or rather of any part, in the true exhibition of God's purpose of redemption.




V. 20. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly:

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Λέγει και μαρτυρών ταύτα' ναι έρχομαι ταχύ. .

'Αμήν, έρχου, κύριε Ιησού.

$545. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.'— These words are still the language of Jesus, who is the testifier or witness referred to, as we learn from the preceding verses, (vs. 16 and 18.) It is Jesus who testifies as to the consequences of any alterations in the words of the book, and it is consequently he who now announces his coming with a species of asseveration. Or this same Jesus, “ the faithful witness," it was said, at the commencement of the book, (Rev. i. 7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; which coming with clouds we supposed to consist in a revelation of himself through the medium of the types, and shadows, and symbolic language of the sacred Scriptures, ($ 18,) and particularly in the figurative exhibition of this Apocalypse.

In the address to the angel of the church of Ephesus it is said by the same speaker, “Repent, and do thy first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly ;” an intimation that the purpose of this coming, whenever it takes place, is to correct erroneous views in matters of faith, (§ 44 ;) so it is said to the angel of Pergamos : “ Repent, or else I will come,” &c. (Rev. ji. 16.) A like caution is given to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, (Rev. iii. 11 :) “ Behold, I come quickly; hold fast,” &c. As it had been before said, “ If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee,” (Rev. iii. 3 ;) while, to the church of Laodicea, after a very severe rebuke, it is said, If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him,” &c. In these cases the coming is spoken of hypothetically, as depending upon a certain contingency—soinething 10 take place if the occasion called for it—the existence, for example, of certain erroneous views of doctrine requiring a perfect manifestation of truth for their correction. The angels or churches are not supposed to know the event: at the same time, the speaker knew that the occasion would call for his coming, and therefore it was previously said by the Spirit, (aside from these addresses,) “ Behold, he cometh.” It was foreseen that the contemplated contingency would take place. The errors prevailing would call for the counteracting manifestation ; accordingly,

except in these addresses, the coming is spoken of as an event positively to take place. The kind of coming contemplated we suppose to be the same in both cases.

At the close of the sixth chapter certain elements are represented as unable to abide the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, or to endure the wrath of the Lamb, the day of that wrath being come, ($ 170.) The coming of this day we take to be equivalent to the coming of the Lord; these elements fleeing from the face of Divine Sovereignty for the same reason that the old heaven and the old earth Aled away from the face of him who sat upon the great white throne. The wrath of the Lamb here spoken of we presume to be of the same kind as that with which the holders of Nicolaitane doctrines were threatened, (Rev. ii. 16 :) “ Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth ;"—this sword of the mouth being also the same as that with which the rider of the white horse was armed, (Rev. xix. 15,) and with which the forces of the beast and false prophet were slain ; a weapon employed in the destruction of error, and not in the destruction of human beings. The same wrath and, of course, the same coming, we conceive to be alluded to, (Rev. xi. 16,) immediately upon the sounding of the last trumpet :

the last trumpet : “ The nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead,” &c.-a coming involved in the coming of the hour of the judgment of God, (Rev. xiv. 7,) which hour is likewise the time of harvest, (Rev. xiv. 15;) these being not successive events, but different figures of one event. The same may be said of the “great day of God Almighty," the day of the battle of Armageddon, ($ 369,) the coming of which is spoken of as like unto that of a thief, (Rev. xvi. 14, 15;) corresponding with the coming threatened the angel of the church of Sardis. We have given our reasons for supposing the battle of Armageddon to be coincident with the destruction of Babylon, ($ 442;) so we suppose the hour of the judgment of the great city, (Rev. xviii. 10,) to correspond with the day of wrath, (Rev. vi. 17.) And as the manifestation of truth must be equivalent to the destruction of falsehood, so the coming of the marriage feast of the Lamb (Rev. xix. 7) inust be coincident with the coming of the judgment of Babylon, of the battle of Armageddon, and of the day of wrath. From all these passages we conclude that the coming in question consists in a revelation of truth in its proper spiritual sense.

$546. Immediately after the exhibition of the New Jerusalem, it was s aid, (Rev. xxii. 7,) · Behold, I come quickly;' corresponding with the declaration uttered immediately after the account given of the gathering of the kings of the earth for the battle of the great day; with this difference, that the coming quickly is a coming to all—the coming as a thief, is a comng to those unprepared. The coming of Jesus, quickly or suddenly, will happen even to those who look for him; but his coming as a thief, must be to those who do not look for him. The coming quickly, is that which the follower of the Lamb cheerfully greets; the coming as a thief, is that which the adversary cannot abide. To the beast and his forces upon the field of Armageddon, the Word comes as a thief; to those keeping the sayings of the book, the same Word comes suddenly, but neither sooner nor more suddenly than desired. As the coming with the reward (Rev. xxii. 14) or hire of an enployer, is desired by those about to receive the reward, so the annunciation of the approaching development of truth is one cordially responded to by him who hears it. The last declaration of this coming

that which we are now considering-differs from the preceding by the substitution of the word vai, surely or verily, for idov, behold—as if the speaker, after having repeatedly said, Behold, I ani coming suddenly, now declared himself to have actually comeverily, I am come suddenly, or verily, 1 do come. The verb is in the present tense, although a future signification is sometimes implied in the use of it. When the circumstances require it, the expression may be said to look to something to come ; but otherwise we may take it in the ordinary acceptation of the present tense. As we find it used, Luke sji. 7, idov, zpíu ērn šgxouoi &nzőv xaonóv, Behold, (these) three years I come seeking fruit; so here it is not said, verily, I will come suddenly, but, verily, I do come, or I am come. Such a coming we may suppose to result from the developments of this book properly understood.

The Spirit and the bride say, Come: it is not merely the vision of peace, (the new Jerusalem,) or the letter of that vision alone which unveils the Saviour, but it is this vision with the spiritual understanding—the letter accompanied with the spirit, and so received by him who hears. To understand this book in its proper spiritual sense, is to witness the coming of Jesus. Corresponding with this, the Greek term constituting the title of the book, Apocalypsis, (Revelation,) is rendered in our common version (1 Cor. i. 7) by the word coming ;*—Paul speaking of those whom he addressed as waiting for the coming (apocalypse) of the Lord. The same Greek term, apocalypsis, rendered revealed,t (com. ver.) is applied to what is usually considered the second coming of Christ, (2 Thess. i. 7 ;) where those who are troubled are assured of rest in the apocalypse (revelation) of the Lord from heaven with his mighty angels. The same term expresses enlightening, Luke ii. 32," a light to lighten the Gentiles ;” and is rendered, Rom. viii. 19, manifestation—the earnest expectation of the creature waiting

* Wiclif, schewynge; Tyndale, Cranmer, and Geneva, apperynge, (appearing ;) Rheims, revelation.

† Wiclif, schewynge ; Tyndale, Cranmer, and Geneva, “when the Lord Jesus shall shew himself from heaven."

« AnteriorContinuar »