Obrazy na stronie

be victorious in the end, militant for a time in righteousness, appointed unto certain victory, which should cause peace for ever, bringing salvation to lost sinners--to a world sunk in wickedness and idolatry. The appearance of the horse and his rider bas reference to the glorious person of Messiah described in Rev. xix. 11, but the descriptions contained in the two passages, manifestly do not belong to one and the same person. He who sat upon the horse had a bow, an instrument of ancient warfare, by which an enemy is wounded from afar, affording an apt illustration of the power of the preached word, in striking from a distance, and penetrating into the hearts of those to whom the Lord sends it. The rider was not crowned at first, but a crown was given unto him, which seems to denote what in the end shall come to pass, that although his kingly power was not in the first instance acknowledged, and the progress of its conquests might afterwards be interrupted, yet in due time he should prevail, and should establish his dominion over the earth.

Rev. vi. 3, 4.-And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, Come and see.

And there went out another horse that was red, (Tuegos fire coloured) 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.”


The second seal presents a horse of another character, flame or fire-coloured, and it should seem as if the conquests of the white horse were, for a season, interrupted, or stayed by this, and the two other horses which succeed. The gospel which at first went forth in peace, in process of time produced“rather division.” And it was found, as our Lord had said, that he came not to send peace, but a sword. As professing Christians departed from the simplicity that is in Christ, the word of truth created dissension, and controversy amongst them, and brought in eventually all the intolerance of persecution. The change did not rapidly supervene, but came on by slow degrees; and as the purity of the gospel declined, the colour of the fiery horse was developed. Towards the latter end of the second, and the beginning of the third century, the spirit of intolerance was manifested; but the perilous circumstances of the Church, still exposed to Pagan persecution, prevented its going forth into action, so as to attain any considerable height. As soon, however, as persecution ceased, upon the Roman Empire embracing Christianity, all the malignant feelings, which for a season had been repressed, came into full play; and the contest for worldly power and advantages, which prevailed in the outward Church, produced in process of time, between men who called themselves Christians, all those disgraceful scenes of fiery zeal, hatred, persecution, and bloodshed, recorded by historians, which disgraced that era of the Church, and prepared the way for the darkness that followed.

Rev. vi. 5, 6.-“ 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 (Suyov a yoke) in his hand. 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 wine.”

The third seal represents a black horse, whose rider has a yoke in his hand—not a pair of balances, as commentators seem generally agreed. See Parkhurst in Voc. tuyos.—The colour denotes mourning and ignorance, and the yoke, the bondage of superstition : and truly such were the distinguishing characteristics of the times which then ensued. The outward Church became gradually more and more corrupt. Penances, fastings, vows of celibacy, and the austerity of the cloister, superseded the faith which was once delivered to the saints : and the jargon of long prayers in an unknown tongue, and the worship of saints, images, and relics, at length entirely destroyed the purity, and almost the appearance eren of Christian worship. · Pious frauds, lying wonders, and tales of mystery, were formed into a regular system of superstition; and the reign of Priestcraft was established in full vigour with masses, confessions,



absolutions, prayers for the dead, and a long catalogue of the most odious absurdities, producing at length such thick darkness as might be felt. The voice from the midst of the four living creatures, proclaims the lamentable scarcity of the bread, and waters of life, which was ordained then to follow. The expression denotes that a denarius, a penny, which was the daily wages of a labourer, should not purchase for him more than a youvez of wheat, or three barley, either of which were a short and scanty allowance of necessary food for an individual, being no more than that which the laws appointed for a slave : whereas, in times of plenty, the denarius would purehase sixteen or twenty Zobyixes of wheat.-See Parkhurst in Voc. xouviš. But the voice from the throne commands, that in the midst of all this darkness and famine, the wine and oil of the sanctuary shall be preserved in their genuine purity. And this has accordinglybeen seen: for amidst all the abominations, which ensued in these times, and in the ages of Papal darkness, no attempt was made to corrupt the original text of Scripture. They have proceeded no further than to obscure it by criticisms, commentaries, and annotations--to conceal it in an unknown tongue, and to keep it from the knowledge of the people, by prohibiting the common use of it in the several vernacular languages, su

perinducing a “blackness of darkness" upon the

" nations of the earth.

[ocr errors]

Rev. vi. 7, 8.—" And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold, a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the wild beasts of the earth.”

Under the fourth seal, a pale horse is exhibiteddeadly pale. See Parkhurst

See Parkhurst in Voc. zawgos Death sat upon him, and hell accompanied him.

And they two had power given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to destroy with the four grievous judgments of God, spoken of by the prophet—the sword, the famine, the noisome beast, and the -pestilence. Ezek. xiv. 21. What is intended by the fourth part of the earth, seems difficult to decide : perhaps Europe, the fourth quarter of the globe, may be signified, and the fulfilment may be so traced. By the two-fold figure of death and hell, the destruction of the souls and bodies of men seems intended. And in this way has the prophecy been fulfilled; for when the

; inan of sin was established in all the fulness of his power, with signs and lying wonders, he came with, all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish : God sending them a strong delusion, that

« PoprzedniaDalej »