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̓Αποκάλυψις ̓Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

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§ 114. WE are now about to enter upon the main subject of this development or unveiling. The style of the work is of the dramatic character. The vision is uninterrupted, but there are changes in the exhibition, corresponding in some degree with the changes of acts and scenes in a dramatic representation. The apostle's situation, like that of a spectator in a public theatre, remains the same, whatever shifting there may be of the scenery; and the objects presented for his contemplation continue to be things analogous or parallel to something in real life, but not themselves realities. The exhibitions of this sacred drama are all representations of things of the same spiritual character, and of nothing else.

'After this I looked,' or, rather, after these things I saw,—that is, after having seen the exhibition of the Son of man in the midst of the golden candlesticks, and after having received the instruction to commit the seven addresses to writing, the apostle saw what he is about to describe:-the verb translated looked, in this place, being the same as that elsewhere rendered, more properly, saw ;-for we may suppose the several exhibitions to be

* The ordinary division of this Book of Revelation into chapters, as well as verses, has been preserved for the facility of reference, although otherwise unimportant. The present, although the fourth chapter of the Apocalypse, is but the commencement of the principal subject of the Vision, and might with propriety, be designated as the first chapter of the Second Part.

successively presented to the apostle's mind, without any effort on his part to look one way or the other.

'I saw, and behold a door opened in heaven.'-Here we may suppose an entire change of scene. The seven golden candlesticks, and the one like unto the Son of Man holding the seven stars in his right hand, are no longer in view this first act, as we may term it, corresponding with the prologue or action of a chorus, sometimes preceding the principal exhibition; but a necessary prelude to prepare the spectator for what he is about to contemplate. The whole of this scenery we may suppose to be now passing away ; and instead of it, the apostle sees a door opened in heaven-heaven is not yet exhibited to him, but the door, gate, or way of access, is seen.

The patriarch Jacob was favoured with a vision something like this, when "he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it," (Gen. xxviii. 12, 13.) He accordingly denominated the place of this vision the door, or gate of heaven. The martyr Stephen saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. The Apostle Peter, when first taught that the door of faith was to be opened to the Gentiles, saw heaven opened, Acts x. 11. From all which passages we may gather, that to see heaven opened is to be favoured with an exhibition of the counsels of the Most High, in respect to some peculiar subject of revelation; and to see a door opened in heaven, is to perceive a means by which one may be admitted to contemplate such an exhibition of the divine purposes.

§ 115. The physical heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work: in them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, Ps. xix. 1–5. Corresponding with this, the spiritual heaven may be denominated that display of the economy of redemption, in which the Sun of righteousness is seen coming forth as a bridegroom, rejoicing as a strong man, his reward with him, and his work before him, (Is. xl. 10, and lxii. 11.)

As in our solar system we see the moon clothed, not with her own light, but with the reflected rays of the sun; so in the spiritual system we see the church or churches of Christ, or their individual members, shining with a light, or glory, not of their own moral perfection, but with the glory of the imputed righteousness of the Son of God. Even in the systems connected with the fixed stars around us, we may suppose the planetary bodies of each to be enlightened by the borrowed light of their respective suns teaching us not that there are so many suns of righteousness, but that throughout the universe there is the same exercise of divine goodness, exalting the creature to favour by the imputed goodness of the Creator; the same exercise of SOVEREIGN GRACE being everywhere required. All are

created by the same Supreme Being. In all there must be the same infinite distance between the thing formed and Him that formed it; all creatures, in the estimation of the Deity, being unworthy in themselves, and without merit of their own: "Yea, the heavens are unclean in his sight, and he chargeth his angels with folly." The manner in which this truth is revealed to other worlds may differ, but the truth itself must be everywhere the same.

§ 116. Two meanings may be applied to what we term the spiritual heaven; both perhaps issuing in the same result. The immensity of space, with all its countless orbs and systems, may represent the economy of salvation itself the purpose of God, as it has always been in his unchangeable mind. Or, the visible heaven, as it appears to us,—an immense picture of the power of God,-may be a figure of the picture of his redeeming power, presented in the volume of revelation.

In the first case, the door opened in heaven would represent the means of admission into the economy of redemption itself, affording the disciple admitted, a participation of its benefits; equivalent to the privileges of adoption in Christ as he himself says, John x. 9, I am the door, úga; by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

In the second case, the door opened in heaven would represent the means of arriving at a right understanding of this economy; the access by which the mind obtains an insight into the mysteries of the plan of redemption. Here too, Christ, in what he has done and taught, may be still said to be the door-a certain degree of the knowledge of Christ being the means of comprehending the mystery of faith-and this door a figure somewhat equivalent to that of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. This last sense, that is, contemplating heaven, or the heavens, as a figure of the exhibition of the plan of divine grace, rather than of the plan, or economy itself, appears to accord best with the purpose of the Apocalypse; unveiling, as it does, the mysterious principles of the economy of redemption.

§ 117. And the first voice which I heard,' &c.-or rather, as it might be read, " And behold, the first voice which I heard," (Rev. i. 10, 11,) was now as a trumpet speaking to me. The scene is changed, but the voice, or source of revelation, is still the same, and the character of the voice is the same "as of a trumpet." This frequent allusion to the voice, or sound of a trumpet, cannot be without some peculiar meaning, reminding us, as it does, of what Paul says of the same instrument, 1 Cor. xv. 52, "For the trumpet shall sound ;" and 1 Thess. iv. 16, "For the Lord himself shall descend, &c., with the trump of God."

Come up hither.'-Raise your mind to the contemplation of things, or truths, in their spiritual sense. To be in heaven, being equivalent to the possession of a spiritual understanding-the contemplation of heavenly

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