« PoprzedniaDalej »
emblems of the church; so the representation which the Lord made was the most descriptive, concerning his church, which could be. For what more suited to denote the love of Christ to his church, than his being in the midst? And what more humble to point out the littleness, and nothingness of his church, when considered without an eye to him, than a candlestick? For what is a candlestick, but merely a receiver; empty, and in itself, nothing? A thousand candlesticks, without a candle, can afford no light. And ten thousand of the Lord's people, without the Lord, are but as cyphers. That Almighty One must be placed at the head of them, to give them both being and value. The Lord Jesus, in the midst of his church, is the sole glory of his church. And so the Lord himself speaks: "For I, (saith the Lord) will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." (Zech. ii. 5.) We must not overlook the epithet given by the Lord to his church, in that the Lord speaks of his candlesticks, as golden. Yes! golden they are, and precious; infinitely "more precious than gold that perisheth with using;" because the Lord hath made them so, "from the comeliness that he hath put upon them." And when from the rubbish of nature, into which they were fallen by the Adam-fall transgression, the Lord hath formed them for himself; then in the blessed process of grace, the Lord accomplisheth his purposes concerning them; and they are golden indeed. The Lord saith himself: "And I will refine them as silver is refined; and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them; I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God." (Zech. xiii. 9.)
The relation proceeds. "In the midst of the candlesticks, one like unto the Son of man ;" namely, Christ himself, for in the close of this vision, the Lord
so desribes himself. But first, John gives a description of his appearance, and his apparel. "He was clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." Probably to denote the sweet and blessed character of our Intercessor; which, until all the purposes of his redemption are completed, he still carries on at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hence, the Holy Ghost so comforts the church by Paul. "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. iv. 14-16.) And what could more affectionately endear Christ, than this manifesting himself under this form; as his servant the high priest, who typified him of old; (Exod. xxviii. 2, &c.) as if to say: "Behold, I wear these vestments still; to intimate the perpetual efficacy of my blood-shedding and righteousness, for the justification and acceptance of all my people.".
Next follows, in order, the relation given of his person." His head and his hairs white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes as a flame of fire. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters." Without entering into a particular examination of the several features here given, I would rather accept the whole, as designed to describe the Almighty, divine, and glorious person, manifested in his double nature, as God, and man, in One; according to the account the Holy Ghost, by the apostle Paul, gave of him, when he said: "For in him dwelleth all the ful ness of the GODHEAD bodily." (Col. ii. 9.) Such a
view seems to have been very particularly intended at the close of Scripture, by way of leaving a long and firm impression on the church. For I beg it may be remembered what was said before, and which indeed, can never be too often repeated, nor too strongly remembered; that the manifestation of this double nature, of God and man, in One person; and that person, our most glorious Christ, was most plainly designed to set forth the relationship he still holds, and will to all eternity hold, to his church and people. So that here is discovered, (and it is the greatest mercy that can be discovered, in the present life of faith,) how unceasing and for ever, the security of the church is, from being united to, and depending upon, her most glorious head and husband. And from his being both God and man in One; we have the fullest assurance of his everlasting, and unalterable love to his people. Neither is this all. For, as the Lord hath our nature united to the divine, and that for everlasting; his love and kindness to his people is, and must be, everlasting also. And until Christ, ceaseth to be man, and ceaseth to be God, never can his love, or his affection to his body the church, which is his own, cease. So that as man, all our blessings of holiness, happiness, and safety are in him, and flow to us from a nature like our own; and as God, thus gives a fulness for supply, and an eternity to supply in, which can never be interrupted or exhausted, world without end. And in both, the Lord comes home endeared to our warmest affection, as the glorious "Head of his body the church, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Eph. i. 23.)
One observation more meets us in this sublime description of our most glorious Christ; for it is said, that❝ he had in his right hand seven stars;" intimating as the following account gives, that "the seven stars were the angels of the seven churches ;" and as such,
the Lord Jesus Christ held them by his sovereign power; that they are under his government; and their light and life, and usefulness, are all derived from him. And not only so, but that they are dear to him, for he "holds them in his right hand." He is also represented, as having a "two-edged sword, which went forth from his mouth;" being emblematical that all divine revelation proceeds wholly from him. Moreover the word of God, both under the Old Testament, and the New, is said to be "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword." (Heb. iv. 12.) And it is to the Lord, which "convinceth of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." (John xvi. 6.) And the relation of Christ's person is closed up in the short, but striking representation-"his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." In the account of Christ's transfiguration, in the mount, when this same John, with Peter, and James were favoured with that glorious vision, somewhat similar is said: that "his face did shine as the sun." (Matt. xvii. 2.) Both were intended to give a glimpse, and but a glimpse, of the glory of Christ, and in such as the Lord Jesus Christ would manifest himself to, his people, in the world to come. But neither were the apostles then, neither was John now, able to bear the effulgence of that glory, which is Christ's: and in which he will at the last day appear. Both was designed to set forth his glory. But these were all transient and momentary. The manifestation of the Son of God, at the last day, will be more abundantly glorious. We shall then be qualified and prepared for the enjoyment of it; and as the Holy Ghost speaks by the apostle; "when Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory." (Col. iii. 4.)
"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Rev. i. 17, 18.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
I CANNOT propose to enter into the whole particulars of this sublime passage. It can be the outlines only, and those in a transient way, which I can merely glance at. And I begin with what is said of the effect wrought upon the mind of John, at the view of Christ. He tells us, "that he fell at his feet as dead." Holy men of old all along conceived that the sight of the Lord must produce death. So that Jacob marvelled at the vision granted him at Peniel, when he said: "I have seen God, face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen. xxxii. 30.) And before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he openly tabernacled in our flesh, there was always an apprehension on the mind, relative to the sight of God. But I pray the reader to connect with this renewed manifestation the Lord Jesus Christ made to John, at Patmos, the former manifestation which the Lord had made of himself, in the mount of transfiguration. Here John fell at his feet as dead. But there though John, and those that were with him, it is said, were afraid, yet it is evident they were more pleased than alarmed; for they said, "It is good for us to be here." (Matt. xvii. 4.) Now hence, I venture to make this conclusion; that there was a difference between between Christ's transfiguration while upon earth, and Christ's revelation of himself,