« AnteriorContinuar »
6 loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb, as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God 7 sent forth into all the earth. And he came and
took the book out of the right hand of him that 8 sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of 9 incense, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God
by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, 10 and people and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign 11 on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten 12 thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and
power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, 14 and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
First Stage of the Manifestation of the Mystery.
Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.-Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.-And he said unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,-Go ye therefore-Go ye into all the world, and teach all nations and preach the gospel to every creature-baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost'; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ;-he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover,-and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.-How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things! Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
VI. 1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four living creatures saying, 2 Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Second Stage of the Manifestation of the Mystery.
Christianity not meeting with that reception by the Jews and the Romans, which a religion, attested by so many signs and wonders among Jews and Gentiles, was entitled to, the divine judgments are sent against both. Think not, said our Lord, that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things. Isa. xlv. 7. In the wars of the Jews with the Romans begun by Nero and ended by Titus, 1,357,660 of the former were slain, of whom 1,110,000, perished in the siege of Jerusalem. The king sent forth his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city. In the reigns of Trajan and Adrian there were horrid wars and slaughters: among others the Jews of Cyrene slay 220,000 Greeks and Romans; in Egypt, and Cyprus 240,000 more; and in the rebellion of Barchochab, the false Messiah, 580,000 men were slain by the sword. A.D. 64-138.
3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, Come and see.
* The Creation is here represented as interested in the propagation of the gospel. "For the earnest expectation of the crea tion (xríosws) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Rom. viii. 19. See p. 163.
4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given unto him a great sword.
Third Stage of the Manifestation of the Mystery.
The Romans are not yet brought to recognise the Lamb that sitteth on the throne, by the calamities of the sword which are sent by Him among them, nor adopt his holy religion contained in the book. He now commands famine to be sent among them. They shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure and with astonishment: that they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity. Ezek. iv. 16, 17. Accordingly in consequence of the scarcity in the Roman Empire during the reign of the Septimian family, corn, wine, and oil were carefully stored up and distributed by a certain rate or allowance to the Roman people; and as one of their own prophets would have told them, Care was black," Post equitem sedet atra Cura." A. D. 138-235.
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo, a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
Fourth Stage of the Manifestation of the Mystery.
Neither sword, nor famine, calling the generality of men off to look to that Redeemer who died for them, an accumulation of evils is now sent among them, sword, and famine, and pestilence, and destruction by wild beasts. Christianity has not yet made that progress in the Roman Empire which a divine religion demands, viz. that it should be the basis of all human institutions: it is not yet even tolerated; the saints suffer persecution ; and accordingly the attendants of this period of the progress of the divine religion we find to be the following: the wars, murders, mutinies of soldiers, invasions of foreign armies, rebellions of subjects, deaths of princes during the reign of the cruel Maximin, and several succeeding reigns-twenty emperors die in the space of fifty years either in war or murdered by their own soldiers or subjects-in the reign of Probus, a great famine throughout all the world-an extensive and grievous pestilence for fifteen years throughout all the Roman provinces during the reigns of Gallus and Volusian-a pestilence in the reign of Gallienus in which 5000 men die in one day-a pestilence in the reign of Claudiusfive hundred wolves together enter into a city deserted by its inhabitants. A.D. 235 to A.D. 284.
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, Come 8 and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hades* followed with him: And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with pestilence, and with the beasts of the earth.
• By Death and Hades is here meant the indiscriminate carrying off of bad and good.