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my God : for thou hast smitten all says, “ I love the Lord because he mine enemies upon the cheek bone ; hath heard my voice and my supthou hast broken the teeth of the un ' plications: because he hath inclined godly.
* his ear unto me, therefore will I This verse is of that mixed cha . call upon him as long as I live.” racter so frequent in the prophets, At the same time however the godin which the Spirit, when it gives ly are duly sensible that the Lord assurance of some mercy to the is not favourable to their request Lord's people, speaks of it as already on account of their own righteousdone. We here therefore may
take ness : and David's here addressing most blessed encouragement, from the Lord as the “ God of his rightthe overthrow of David's enemies eousness" evinces, that he looked to which followed, that when the Church the Lord as the alone “ Author and shall come into the tribulation of the finisher of his faith.” This is fur. last days, though she may appear ther evident in the next verse, where for a time deprived of her glory and he again calls him his Glory, (Ps. 11. abased, yet that she shall see her 3,) according as it is written—"He desire upon her enemies; the Lord that glorieth, let him glory in the will arise, and “ break the teeth of Lord.” the young lions ;” and enable those vv. 2, 3,0 ye sons of men, how long that truly trust in him with their will ye turn my Glory into shame? whole heart to cry
how long will ye love vanity and seek “Salvation belongeth unto the after leasing ? Selah. But know that LORD : thy blessing is upon thy the Lord hath set apart him that is people.” SELAH. v. 8.
godly for himself : the Lord will hear
when I call unto him. PSALMI IV.
There is an obvious allusion here This Psalm is so very similar in to the reproach mentioned in verse its character and allusions to the 2 of the former Psalm, that there former, that little doubt can be en was no help in his God ; and he tertained of its having been written indirectly declares the different charon the same occasion.
acters and ends of the two parties. v. 1. Hear me when I call, O God They were the men who sought of my righteousness; thou hast en after leasing or falsehood : he was larged me when I was in distress; still the man that was godly. And have mercy upon me,
and hear my
as they by deceit and false principles prayer.
could only reap vanity, he on the There is again an evidence here of other hand was persuaded that the the spirit of prayer, together with a Lord had yet set him apart for himdecided reference to former mercies, self, and that He certainly would hear which in times of distress had been him when he called upon Him and experienced of the Lord, and now avenge him on his enemies. So will formed a ground of confidence in the Lord rise up for his people in pleading with the Lord again. It the evil day ; and just " when the shows the importance to the Chris . wicked do spring as the grass, and tian of waiting upon
• all the workers of iniquity do floufor it is not only a means for the rish, it is that they shall be despresent of obtaining grace, but of troyed for ever.”m Well therefore establishing his faith also in God. will it be for those, who in the midst Thus in another place the Psalmist of the jarrings and contentions, and 1 Jer. ix. 24; 1 Cor. 1. 31; 2 Cor. x. 17.
m Ps. XCII.
God in prayer :
the war of passions and principles, happiness, and enquire after good ; and the raging of all the elements and as they suppose that a man's of strife and ungodliness that will life consisteth in the abundance of mark the latter days, give heed the things which he possesseth,q so in time to the admonition which do they put their trust in the “ follows:
righteous Mammon” in order to obvv. 4, 5. Stand in awe, and sin tain that abundance, and consider not ; commune with your own heart nothing an occasion of joy, unless it upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
has a tendency to increase their Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, present possessions, or to secure and put your trust in the Lord. to them the enjoyment of them.
Some will be purged by the fire of Godliness however is great gain tribulation in that day, and “ when even here; for it hath the promise of the Lord's judgments are abroad in the life which now is, as well as of the earth will learn righteousness.”n that which is to come.r Therefore, They will now examine and prove to the question, Who will shew us their ways before God; they will no any good ? the Psalmist replies ablonger rest in the form of godliness ruptly,—"Lord, lift thou up the without the power, and bring forth light of thy countenance upon us.” only dead works; but they will be- The expression signifies with the come worshipers of God in spirit Psalmist, in general, that favor of and in truth, and “offer up spiritual God which he shews toward the sacrifices, acceptable to God by Je- righteous, when, on the one hand, sus Christ.”.
he shines into their hearts and enThere is a useful admonition lightens them by his spiritual conhere also to the godly themselves, solation and presence; and when, on that they may not in these times of the other hand, he interferes to deprovocation and excitement be mov liver in time of temptation from the ed away from the hope of the gos- world the flesh or the devil. (Compel, but continue in the faith ground- pare Psalm xxi, 6; XLII, 5, 11; ed and settled ;P and not be drawn XLIV, 3; and lxxxix, 15.) That by rashness of spirit, nor by party assurance, which David had of it in feelings, to do any thing contrary to answer to his prayer, (already conthe principles of Christ, but be still, sidered, Ps. 111, 5, 6; and repeated putting their trust in the Lord, and here in the next verse,—“I will being more than ever watchful to both lay me down in peace, and sleep : glorify God by sacrifices of right- for thou Lord only makest me dwell
in safety,")-had already given to vv. 6, 7. There be many that say, him a greater sense of blessedness Who will shew us any good ? Lord, and quiet in his heart, than the best lift thou up the light of thy counten of merely worldly men can experiance upon us. Thou hast put glad- ence from the most abundant harvest, ness in my heart, more than in the or the utmost increase of “ their corn time that their corn and their wine and wine” or any other possessions. increased.
May the God of all consolation These lovers of vanity” who grant to his whole Church this peace seek after leasing, are like the god- of God which passeth understandly in one respect, they are seeking ing!
0 1 Pet. 11. 5.
p Col. 1, 23.
n Isa. XXVI. 9. r 1 Tim, iv. 8; vi. 6.
9 Luke xii. 15.
INTERPRETATION OF THE APOCALYPSE.
CHAPTERS II. AND III. CONTAINING
THE THINGS WHICH ARE.”
Having considered the introduc In these epistles the Church is tion, and the first of the three succes exhibited to us in one of her most sive parts into which the whole book interesting states; viz. in the fiery of the Apocalypse is primarily divided, furnace of trial. The wise husbandnamely, the vision of the Lord Jesus man, looking forward to the plenChrist manifested in his power, and teousness of the harvest, delights to in his various attributes, whereby see the object of his culture, as soon he is qualified to bring succour to
as the seed has been well sown, subhis afflicted church, and to avenge jected to the strengthening influence their cause upon their enemies, called of the biting frosts, and the apparent“ The things" which St. John had ly adverse blasts of winter : and so “seen,” (chap. 1. 10–20,) we pass our Lord was pleased, in bringing in on to the consideration of the second many heirs of glory, to expose them of these divisions,“ The things which from a very early period to the most are,” consisting of the Epistles to dreadful persecutions; that by this • the seven Churches which are in means his power, in sustaining them • Asia,” as contained in chapters il against all the opposition of the
world and of Satan, might be maniThese epistles, it will be observed, fested; those who were truly his are addressed to St. John immedi- might be separated from false proately from the mouth of Christ him- fessors, and grow in grace and in self, without the intervention of any the knowledge of himself
. Who that angel or other glorified spirit. Such is aware of the hardness and insenportions of prophecy are of rare oc sibility of his own heart would not currence, and of a very interesting desire to possess the fruits of such character; as having reference, for a culture ? who that feels his weakthe most part, to the severe trials of ness will not rejoice, that the aphis Church, which call, as it were, pointment of all our times of sorrow for his own personal interference. and of joy are in the hands of Him, The future vindication of their cause who will not lay upon his Church by the destruction of their worldly at large, or upon any member of it, enemies, and the warning to be given more than he will enable them to them of that persecuting power that bear. The exhortations, commenshould arise out of their own bosom, dations, admonitions and rebukes, may be communicated through an addressed to the Church in the body intermediate agency; but in refer- of each epistle teach us, that in seaence to their actual sufferings he sons of trial we should search ourhimself will speak the word of con selves ; and they are calculated also solation and exhortation, accompa
to afford lessons of the greatest utilnied by assurances of final reward ity applicable to all times and to all to him who shall overcome. So in circumstances. Dan. XII. 7, and Rev. x. 5–7, it is Intellectually considered, these his own voice, and the awful sanc- epistles form a no less interesting tion of his oath, which prescribes and remarkable portion of the Apocbounds beyond which the afflictions alypse; we shall find that in each of of his people shall not be protracted. them Christ reveals himself under
some one peculiar character ; either Christ," and that the time is come in his regal,—or in his priestly and that he should “give reward” unto prophetical,—or in his essential cha- his servants the prophets, and to the racter as the WORD OF GOD;-or, as saints ; and which also speak of the he that watcheth over the churches further rewards which they enjoy to deliver them in the hour of ad. in the millennial and eternal states. versity,-or as having power to re Thus wonderfully do we find “The ward with eternal life those whom things which are” articulated into he shall permit to suffer even unto the general body of the prophecy ; death ;-or as he that searcheth the and if we are justly called upon to heart and trieth the reins; and that admire the wisdom of God as mani. worketh out the salvation of his fested in the material world ; and Church; being the way, the truth, with what divine skill, in the human and the life; by whom alone we can body, each part is connected with have any knowledge of God the Fa the rest, so as to conduce together ther, or any access to him.
to effect the desired natural end : Each epistle will be found perfect how shall we not with a yet higher and consistent with itself, as having admiration and interest observe the one of the above mentioned subjects same wisdom displayed where the running through the three several end to be effected is of a moral and parts of which it consists ; appear- intellectual nature. How extraoring equally in the revelation of Jesus dinary, that, with such strong ligaChrist to that particular church with tures connecting the several parts, which it opens,—in the exhortation, commentators should have effected rebuke or commendation bestowed a dislocation. But this circumstance upon it, which forms the body of the only gives fresh cause of admiration. epistle,-and in the promise made For as some seeds, and a certain by the Spirit to whomsoever shall class of insects, have been found to overcome, with which each of them retain the principles of life to the closes. And while thus perfect in remotest periods in a quiescent state, itself, it is connected with the pre- until the expected circumstances call ceding portion of the book by the upon them to assume the exercise of characteristic with which it opens, their latent powers; so the Apocareferring to that vision of Christ lypse, not being intended to be fully which St. John had seen; and it is revealed at once when first bestowed on the other hand connected with upon the Church, various methods, the subsequent portion of the book, such as the peculiarity of its sym“ The things which shall be hereaf-bolical language, and the secrets of ter," by the promises of the peculiar its structure, were employed to keep future rewards which are made by its powers suspended, and in a quithe Spirit, at the close of each epis- escent state, but yet preserve them tle, to those who should overcome. unimpaired, until the important time These are described in their fulfil should arrive that the circumstances ment, and shewn to be bestowed on of the Church should require its full the glorified Church in heaven, in developement, when it may be exthe last four chapters of the Apoca- pected to burst forth in the novelty, lypse, XIX-XXII; which treat of the the vigour, and the life of a new last period in the history of the production. kingdoms of this world,” when it is But little is recorded in eccle. said that they “are become the siastical history, respecting the state kingdoms of our Lord, and of his of these churches at the time the
Apocalypse was written, which can outer court, or court of the Gentiles, be made available for the illustration emblematical of the merely outward of the peculiar commendation or and professing Church, on the other rebuke, which was addressed by hand ;--is itself an emblem of the Christ to each of them; and they true spiritual Church of Christ uphave been so frequently referred to on earth. This candlestick with its by divines for the moral lessons they seven branches and lamps, supplied supply, that little which is origin with the purest oil, by which alone nal of this nature would be either the holy place was illuminated attainable, or is required.
having no light from without, repreEpistle to the Church of Ephesus. source of light and grace to the
sented the Holy Spirit as the sole CHAP. II. I.
Church ; in which signification it is The first epistle is addressed to also used, chap. iv. 5, where the the presiding angel, (or principal Apostle sees seven lamps of fire minister, or bishop,) of the Church “burning before the throne,” which, of Ephesus; which was the capital of it is said are, the seven spirits of Lydian Asia, in which district all the God.” In the passage before us the seven Churches were situated ; and symbol is not altogether the same : the nearest of them to the isle of Pat for seven distinct candlesticks are mos, the scene of John's banishment. seen; in the midst of which Christ Christ admonishes the Ephesians, appears walking and tending them, that the words about to be addressed to maintain their brilliancy and to them came from the lips of him splendour ; as it was the office of who peculiarly cares for and watches the priest to do in the tabernacle. over his Churches and their minis. And we find, in perfect accordance ters; and were therefore not only en with the propriety of symbolical lantitled to the deepest attention, but guage, that a signification is here calculated to afford them the strong- given to the seven candlesticks of a est consolation and support under kindred nature; but yet somewhat the persecutions, to which during differing from that given to the seven this period they were so frequently branches of the golden candlestick exposed. For it thus commences : of the tabernacle, and to the seven “ These things saith he that holdeth lamps of Rev. iv. 5; both which latthe seven stars in his right hand, who ter represent the Spirit of God, walketh in the midst of the seven sent forth into and illuminating the golden candlesticks." We are refer Churches. For the candlesticks rered by these words to the introduc- present not the Spirit of God which tory vision of the preceding chapter, illuminates the Churches, but the and particularly to verses 12, 13 ; seven Churches themselves. And the scenery of which, as in other as a want of system in the interpreplaces of the Apocalypse, is bor- tation of symbolical language on the rowed from the service of the taber- one hand, and an unintelligent hypernacle or temple; and Christ is here criticism on the other, may manifested clothed in the priestly sidered as the two opposing errors garment, like Aaron,or his sons, min- which commentators are equally call. istering in the holy place; which ed upon to avoid : it will be useful situated between the holy of holies, to mark here the due latitude which the place of the immediate presence it admits of, and to notice that in of God, and symbol of the Church this present instance the radical symin heaven, on the one hand, and the bolical idea set forth by a lamp burn