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in modern language, have been called the lake of Tiberias or Gennesareth. And, 3. As to the incongruity of the idea of a sea of glass, the metaphor will be found, on investigation, not to be so far fetched as might be imagined. We are told, Exod. xxxviii. 8. that Bezaleel “made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the looking-glasses of the women which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” We do not suppose that the mirrors here spoken of were glass, and that the brass, of which the laver was made, was derived from their frames. Nor do we contend that those mirrors were composed of any materials which would lay a literal foundation for the allusion in the book of Revelation. For, at that early day, glass was not invented; and, even if it had been, it is obvious that glass would not have afforded materials for a brazen sea. Those glasses were possibly reflectors, or mirrors, composed of brass, highly polished; and which, by that polish, were capable of reflecting the image placed before it. These ornaments of their persons, and perhaps these incentives to their pride, the women of Israel nobly sacrificed to the service of their God. And though, in comparison with glass, those mirrors” reflected a dark and obscure image, yet the reflection was sufficiently distinct to warrant the writer of the Apocalypse to make a figurative allusion to the brazen sea. There can be little doubt, that the sea of glass in the Revelation, is so called, in allusion to the mirrors of which the molten sea was composed, and with a design of representing the blood of Jesus as a glass, in which we may see the heinousness of sin, and the justice of God. And this consideration will destroy the force of the objection against the first interpretation, founded on the supposition, that solid and real glass, used as a figure, would better represent the justice of God, as the basis of his moral government, than the idea of a liquid sea, connected, as is supposed, inappropriately, with the solid substance, glass. The liquid—the flowing blood of the Lamb of God, crucified on Calvary, better displays the immaculate holiness of God, than all the mirrors upon earth, however highly polished, and of whatever materials they may be composed. Adhering then to the idea, that the Apostle John alludes in the Revelation to the molten sea in the temple, as a type of the cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ, it may be profitable to consider the propriety of the designations given to this sea, in their application to that sountain which has been opened for sin and for uncleanness. 1. The blood of Christ is appropriately compared to glass, because, as a mirror, it represents the malignity and deformity of sin. We are too apt to consider sin as a light and venial thing, and therefore to commit it with eagerness; to roll it under our tongues as a delicious morsel; and to imagine that our external decency and morality will make ample atonement. To convince us of this ruinous error, let us go to Gethsemane and Calvary. Let us listen to the agonizing exclamations, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death”—“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Let us witness those great drops of sweat, mingled with blood, which fell in the garden; and that crimson tide, which flowed from the accursed tree; and then ask the questions, which so naturally present themselves: What is the meaning of these sufferings And why is Jesus their subject? He most assuredly did no evil; neither was guile found in his mouth. During the whole course of his life he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; and, on his trial, his unrighteous earthly judge declared that he found no fault in him. Why then did he endure these excruciating torments? The mystery is solved, in the fact, that he was the sinner's Substitute ; that he suffered the just for the unjust; that he, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. It was sin which brought the Son of God from heaven; which made him an inhabitant of our nature and of our world; which nailed him to the accursed tree, pierced his side, and poured out his precious blood! And, if such things were done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry • If such were the sufferings of our sin-offering, what an infinite evil must have been our sin 2 The blood of Jesus, then, as a mirror, reflects the evil of sin, and the immaculate holiness of God. It points to the place where mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace embraced each other. And while it shows that God can now be just, and yet the justifier of those who believe in Jesus, it also reflects the doom of those who despise its merits, and live and die in unbelief and impenitence. 2. The blood of Christ is fitly compared to crystal, on account of its immaculate purity. It is purity itself. Compared with this, the clearest crystal is full of spots; along side of this, the brightest diamond ceases to sparkle ; contrasted with this, the whitest mountain snow loses its complexion. The blood of Christ is incorruptible. It removes every stain of guilt and pollution from the soul; and yet, the least defilement from which it cleanses can never mingle with it! 3. The blood of Christ may, with propriety, be compared to a sea, on account of its all-sufficiency, to save to the very uttermost, all who come to God through its merits. It is a full sea of salvation, flowing from the ocean of God's free and eternal love; and all, however numerous or aggravated their transgressions, who embark their everlasting interests upon this sea, by faith, shall safely reach the shores of the heavenly Canaan. Upon this sea, no devouring billow swells; no tempest blows. It is clear, unruffled, and undisturbed. And as the literal sea reflects the serenity of the heavens, when the winds and rain cease to beat, so the smooth, unruffled surface of the Redeemer's blood reflects the love and mercy, the justice, and the truth, which shine in harmony upon the believer from the eternal throne. 4. The position of this sea of glass is worthy of notice. It is before the throne; thus intimating, that, before any person can attain to holiness and glory, he must pass through the sea of glass—must be justified by the blood of Jesus, and sanctified
* Might not Paul have alluded to this circumstance, in his declaration, “We
now see through a glass darkly:" 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
by the Spirit of our God. There is no way to the throne, upon
If not, you have neither part nor lot in this matter. So far are you from having washed in the sea of Christ's blood, that the lake of fire and brimstone awaits your reception. Think then, we beseech you, of your danger. Take the alarm, which Sinai sounds in your ears, and flee for refuge to the only hope set before you in the gospel. Plunge yourself, by faith, in the sea of the Redeemer's blood, as you would be protected from the lightnings and thunders which issue from the throne.
On the other hand, if you have thus washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness; if you are depending upon the justifying righteousness of Christ to cover your guilt, and his sanctifying righteousness to cleanse you from your pollutions, you may be comforted. There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made them free from the law of sin and death.* The thunders of Sinai have spent their rage upon your Substitute; to you, therefore, they shall prove harmless.
You have indeed, daily, much pollution and infirmity to lament. But it is your privilege, constantly to repair to the opened, the crystal fountain. You are indeed polluted in yourself, but the sea of glass before the throne is clear. You are indeed very, very guilty, but Christ's blood is a sea, whose dimensions are sufficient, and whose qualities are suited to wash all your guilt away. And you may think yourself at an infinite distance from God, but this sea conducts you immediately to that throne of grace upon which he is seated. In view of this sea, therefore, we may well apply the declaration of Jehovah Jesus, “Come now, and let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Or that equally precious one of the apostle, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins.[
* Rom, viii. 1, 2. + Isaiah i. 18. I John ii. 1, 2.