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himself. As it was seen in vision by the apostle in a figurative manner on this occasion, it will be seen by the disciple in a spiritual sense whenever and wherever the truths of divine revelation are fully understood.
Vs. 9, 10, 11. And when those beasts [living creatures] give glory, and honour, and thanks to him that sat on the throne,
who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art wor
thy. Ο Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleaeure they are and
Καὶ ὅταν δώσουσι τὰ ζῶα δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν xai suzaquoriav to zadquivos éлì tov 9góνου, τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰώνας τῶν αἰώνων, πεσοῦνται οἱ εἰκοσιτέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι ἐνώπιον τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου, καὶ προσκυνήσουσι τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, καὶ βαλοῦσι τοὺς στεφάνους αὑτῶν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου, λέγοντες· ἄξιος εἶ, ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, λαβεῖν τὴν δόξαν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν· ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα, καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου ἦσαν καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν.
$130. And when the living creatures,' &c.-Here the ascription of holiness to the almighty and eternal God, mentioned in the preceding verse, is referred to as equivalent to giving glory, and honour, and thanks to him that sat on the throne; that is, the elements of justice, mercy, &c., as displayed in the plan of redemption, are the instruments of giving to God the glory, honour, and grateful praise due to his name. It is not till the four living creatures perform their act of homage, that the elders perform their act of prostration, and cast their crowns before the throne. The reciprocal action of the elders, is a consequence, or result, of that of the four living creatures. When the four living creatures utter their voices, the four-and-twenty elders fall down. The four living creatures never cease to offer their ascriptions-they rest not, day nor night-there is no pause in their act of homage; consequently, the four-and-twenty elders never cease to prostrate themselves: that is, the action, or operation of both is virtually ceaseless and eternal, although not always manifest to created beings. The apostle, favoured by his heavenly position, witnessed this peculiarity. So it may be witnessed by all who, with him, behold things in spirit, or in their spiritual sense. The four-and-twenty elders we suppose to be elements of the Old Testament dispensation, represented by the twelve patriarchs and twelve prophets. This dispensation may be said to have acquired a crown, as excelling in its way; but it was a legal dispensation, though perfect in its kind, subordinate in its design, and destined to be superseded by another. Accordingly, no sooner do the elements of divine sovereignty (the four animals about the throne) exhibit their operation in ascribing glory, honour, and thanks, than this legal dispensation gives way-gives up its crown, or the token of its excellence-acknowledging, as it were, the supremacy of sovereign power, the supremacy of the principle, that the Creator has a right to do as he pleases with his own."
What we say of the legal dispensation as a whole, is equally to be predicated of its twenty-four elements. They received, and were seen to have crowns of gold, (not diadems,) for they excelled as principles of truth. They are manifested to have triumphed, and to wear the token of that triumph; but they performed only a subordinate part. "The ministration of death written and engraved on stones was glorious," but this glory was to be "done away;" "for even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth," 2 Cor. iii. 7-11. The action of the four living creatures we suppose to result, virtually, in a manifestation of this glory that excelleth; and reciprocally with this manifestation, the twenty-four elements of the glory, which was to be done away, give up their crowns.
'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honour, and power.'-That is, to receive the ascription of it. God has this glory, honour, and power in himself, and of himself. It is for his creatures only to ascribe it to him—to admit and to acknowledge that he has it; and even here the word rendered receive, might better have been translated, take; as the phrase, 'thou art worthy,' would have been better expressed by that of it becomes thee, which appears to be the sense: It becomes thee, O Lord, to take glory, honour, and power; and this especially for the reason assigned.
§ 131. For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.'-As the Creator of all things, it becomes God to assume the glory, honour, and power of his own work. In the nature of things, this belongs to him .It cannot be otherwise. Who else could reasonably, or justly, have the glory of what God has done? The case is entirely different with every created being. The creature can do nothing of itself— man acts only by the power which God gives. The honour and glory of what a man does, and ascription of power, belong therefore not to him, but to his Creator to him who gives the power to perform whatever the creature does, or effects.
But besides this, it becomes God to assume this glory and honour of his own work, not only because it is of his own creation, but because it was designed solely for him and for his pleasure. The creature has the pleasure of his employer to consult; and whatever work results from that pleasure, the glory belongs to the employer, and not to the operative. But God has no pleasure to consult other than his own-all things were created by Him, and for Him; to Him, therefore, belongs all the glory,—as well that of the design, or purpose, as that of the manner in which it is accomplished. To Him belongs the glory, because he has the power, morally as well as physically, to give or to withold, to create or to destroy; He giveth not account of any of his matters, Job xxxiii. 13; He is responsible to no one. The thing formed cannot say to him that formed it, "Why hast thou
made me thus?" Rom. ix. 20; nor can the clay say to him that fashioned it, What makest thou?
We are apt to look upon man as being literally, what he is sometimes inconsiderately termed, the lord of the creation; as if-because dominion is said to have been given him over other created objects,-all things were created for him. We forget the myriads of wonders and beauties in the vast wildernesses, deserts, and recesses of the earth; on the tops of lofty mountains, at the bottom of the sea, in the seas, and in the atmosphere around us; which never meet the eye of man, so as to form subjects of his contemplation, and of which we might even doubt the utility, if it were not for the assurance of divine revelation, that all things were brought into existence, and are sustained in being, for the pleasure of Him by whom they were created.
§ 132. We have thus, in the scene presented to the apostle, upon his first entrance into the door opened in heaven, an exhibition of the Deity, as the Supreme Being, the Almighty and Eternal God, the Creator of all things, sitting on the throne of his sovereignty, receiving continual ascriptions of glory, honour, and thanks, on the principle of this sovereignty; to which principle all the elements of the legal dispensation are represented as subordinate, and as admitting their subordination by joining in this act of homage to the Sovereign, for the reason alone that he is the Creator of all things, and that all things were created for him.
Throughout this exhibition there is no specific allusion to the work of redemption, nor is this work mentioned as one of the grounds of the ascription of praise, although we afterwards find the same worthiness to receive or to take power, and honour, and glory, ascribed to the Lamb that was slain, and this because he was slain, (Rev. v. 9, 12, 13.) We accordingly presume that, thus far, the development of the mystery of salvation is not commenced. The attributes of Jehovah, in which this mystery is founded, are represented as existing, surrounding his throne, and before his throne, but the beneficent purpose emanating from them, is something yet remaining to be unveiled, or laid open.
The picture presented is analogous to that of the opening of the court of a monarch, upon some extraordinary occasion; such as that, perhaps, of unfolding the views of the sovereign with regard to an object of great importance the monarch is seen upon the throne, the different functionaries occupy their respective places. The whole arrangement of the monarch's administration is represented; but the declaration of his intentions is something for which the assembly is in anxious expectation. Just at this moment, when all is prepared for the intended announcement, the apostle is admitted as a privileged spectator, having an interest, perhaps, more than he is aware of, in the matters about to be made known; but, at the same
time, having only an indistinct, or vague idea of their nature and character. As such a spectator, he records what he sees with precision and fidelity; not as something which he fully understands, but as something which in due time will explain itself. Occasionally the friend by whom he obtains admittance to this extraordinary representation, and who is supposed to be ever at his side, gives him a few words of explanation; but this explanation itself is a part of the vision, and like the other parts requires interpretation, and this by the same uniform rule: as if a stranger were introduced into the court of a foreign prince, by some privileged officer, as a highly favoured individual, to witness an important transaction about to take place, in reference to the government of the prince's own subjects. The language of the court is the language of the country, and the language of the friend attending the stranger is the language of the country also. The explanations of this attendant, therefore, as well as all that which is said in the assembly, are in the same foreign language, and are to be translated by the same rules.
V. 1. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and on the back side, sealed with
Καὶ εἶδον ἐπὶ τὴν δεξιὰν τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου βιβλίον γεγραμμένον ἔσωθεν καὶ ὄπισθεν, κατεσφραγισμένον σφραγῖσιν ἑπτά.
§ 133. NOTWITHSTANDING the interruption caused here by the division into chapters, there is no change or intermission in the vision itself. In the midst of the scene described in the last chapter, the apostle contemplates what he now describes the adoration of the living creatures, and the homage of the elders still continuing-the sea of crystal and the burning lamps being still before the throne.
I saw in the right hand.'-The right hand is distinguished for its power. The right hand of God is repeatedly spoken of in the Psalms and prophets, as the instrument by which he saves and sustains the objects of his favour, and by which he overcomes all opposition to his will. The right hand of God is the power, by which he saves the sinner. This hand, or power, he himself speaks of as consisting in his own righteousness, (Is. xli. 10;) and the same right hand is spoken of, Ps. xlviii. 10, as full of righteousness. So we may say, the righteousness of God, imputed to the disciple, is the right hand of God in the exercise of its power to save. The apostle saw, then, in this righteousness or divine power to save, something symbolically represented as a book. The book of ancient times being a scroll rolled up, or a roll of scrolls. This sealed book, or roll, is evidently a mystery to be unfolded, or developed; there is a mystery in this righteousness or divine power to save, which is to be explained or laid open. The parchment was written within and without on both sides-perhaps, it would be enough to say, that it was full; that it contained every thing to be said. This inside and outside, however, may have a more important meaning; such as an internal or secret sense, and an external or apparent sense. This last construction, seems to correspond best with the whole tenor of the Apocalypse; but, besides the inner and outer sense, this mystery in the righteousness or saving power of God is sealed, concealed, or made close, by seven scals. The verb translated sealed, is compounded with a preposition, giving intensity to the expression. It was sealed with particular care; the number of the seals-seven-may also have reference to the completeness of