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hearers those parts of that counsel which were of special importance and of immediate concern. It might likewise be intended to shew, that their labours would not be in vain in the Lord. There would be many Boanerges, sons of thunder, among them. By the preaching of the law, they would proclaim the terrors of the Lord, and by the preaching of the gospel, they would disclose the true method of relief; by the power and blessing of the Lord accompanying their ministrations, they would both wound and heal, they would kill and make alive.

This view of the introductory emblems appears to be countenanced by what John saw when the seal was actually opened, as in verse 2; And I saw, and behold a white horse, &c. John very probably expected to hear the events of future times announced in the language of Greece or Rome, or in the vernacular tongue of some other country. But when the roll, which lay between the first and second seals, was taken off, and presented to his notice, he did not see any writing in the alphabetical characters of any country. This part of the book was a painting, and not a manuscript; in which a rider, mounted upon a white horse, was the principal figure. To Moses, the first penman of Scripture, the disclosure of the Divine mind was generally made by an audible voice. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying,' is the usual preface to the different sections of the code of Jewish laws. But to John, the last writer of Scripture, it was generally done by emblems and representations, the greater part of which bore a striking affinity to historical painting. Such was the method of disclosure at the opening of all the seals. Here the painting was a chieftain mounted upon a horse, armed with a bow, and adorned with a crown.

The first four seals have the same general emblem of a horse and a rider; but as they are meant of very different dispensations of Providence, the horses are distinguished from each other by their colour, and the riders by their armour and appearance. The horse of the first seal was a milk-white steed; he had a snowy, beautiful appearance. The rider seemed to

be a warlike chieftain; for he was armed with a bow, and had the chaplet or crown of a conqueror around his head. White is the symbol of purity, and a bow the symbol of warfare; when a bow and a crown are combined, as in this hieroglyphic, they form a natural emblem of victory. The explanatory clauses which immediately follow confirm this interpretation; for in them we are told, that he went forth conquering and to conquer.

The horse of this seal has generally been understood of the dispensation of the gospel, and the rider of Christ. And when we consider the colour of the horse, the accoutrements of the rider, the crown with which he was adorned, and the period to which the prophecy refers, there does not appear to be any thing to which this prophecy can with such propriety be applied, as to the success of the gospel in the early periods of Christianity. It has sometimes been understood of the victories of the Romans over the Jews and other nations, in the first and second centuries. This application has been made, in order to preserve what is called the principle of homogeneity among the seals. To refer the first seal to the dispensation of the gospel, and the three which follow it to the state of the empire, is supposed to be a gross violation of this principle. But if we understand the rider of Vespasian, Titus, or any other Roman emperor, we must then, in order to preserve something like consistency in the parts of the figure, understand the horse which carried him of the Roman empire, over which he ruled; but with no propriety could that empire ever be represented by such an emblem. An association, which, from its earliest ages, was marked by blood and violence, might be symbolized by a red horse; but, without violating every principle of analogy upon which the language of symbols is constructed, it could never be represented by one that is white or snowy in its appearance. To understand this rider of Vespasian, or any other emperor prior to the time of Domitian, is manifestly absurd; because when John saw this rider, he was in the act of conquest, and appeared to have laid the foundation of future and more extensive triumphs; but Vespasian and his son Titus, and almost all those emperors to whom the figure

has been applied, were then in the grave. Neither the date of the prophecy, nor the nature of the symbol, admits of any consistent application of the figures, either to the emperors, or the affairs of the Romans.

In chap. xix., a rider mounted upon a white horse is presented to our notice, at the head of the armies of the church, and described by such names and exploits as can hardly leave a doubt upon any mind, that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is intended. The similarity between the riders of these horses is so striking, that it would not be interpreting Scripture by Scripture, but by some false principle of interpretation, if we applied the rider of the horse of the first seal to one personage, and the rider in the xix. chap. to a different. How improbable that the Lord of the church and an emperor of Rome would be exhibited under the very same emblems! more especially when it is considered that these emblems are so frequently employed in the sublime descriptions of the administration of Christ. The royal Psalmist has described the success of the gospel in a similar way: Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty; and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the hearts of the King's enemies, whereby the people fall under thee,' Psal. xlv. 3, 4, 5.

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Nor is the principle of homogeneity so deeply affected by this mode of interpretation as has generally been supposed. For, though the Roman state may be immediately intended in the prophecies which follow, the condition of the church is still the primary subject of these predictions: and it is because her circumstances were affected by the calamities and changes of the state, that any notice whatever is taken of them in the subsequent prophecies. And though the prophecy of this seal immediately respects the church, we are not to suppose that it has no bearing upon the state. The propagation of Christianity more deeply affected the pillars of that vast-fabric of human power, than any thing else that can be named. The

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policy and the superstition of the Romans were like the two sides of an arch which strengthen and support each other. When Christianity razed the foundation of the one, it was impossible that the other could stand.

We consider this seal, then, as presenting us with a view of the exalted Mediator, going forth in the early periods of Christianity, by the ministry of the word, triumphing over all opposition, and subduing the nations to the obedience of faith. For the accomplishment of this work, he is described as being armed only with a bow. The bow is a warlike instrument, constructed upon the simplest principles. And though, when properly strung and drawn by a skilful and steady hand, it can produce very considerable effects, especially among a flying enemy, yet it can hardly be put in competition with the other instruments of war. But as it was very generally used in the early ages of warfare, it seems intended here to be the symbol of all those means whereby Messiah pierces the hearts of his enemies, and either brings them into a state of subjection to his authority, or utterly destroys them. It is fitted also to remind us of that beautiful simplicity which characterizes all the means of grace, and of the divine energy with which they must be accompanied in order to produce any effect. How foolish to have thought of being victorious over the Roman legions merely by the use of the bow! Most of the Roman soldiers were covered with mail, and therefore showers of arrows could make little impression upon them. No ordinance appears to be more simple, as there is none that is more despised on account of its simplicity, than the ordinance of preaching. Nevertheless, by the power and skill of the Master of assemblies, it becomes the wisdom of God, and the power of God to salvation.' By this simple means, the hardest and most obdurate hearts have been so sensibly touched, that they could find no rest till they were brought to the Saviour: Now when they heard this, they were pricked to the heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts ii. 37.

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Though this warrior is represented as if he had been armed only with a bow, he nevertheless appeared to the prophet, as if he had obtained a great and decisive victory: for a crown was given him. It is manifestly in allusion to the crown or chaplet of the conqueror, that a crown is said to be given him : and it is intended to symbolize the honours which redound to the Saviour from the administration of grace in the church. In token of approbation of his services, the Father hath set upon his head a crown of the purest gold. When the church ascribes to him the glory of all that is done for her, she too is represented as crowning him, Song. iii. 11; and every particular believer is inclined to do the same. The language of the renewed soul is, 'Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to thy name be the glory.'

The explanatory clause, and he went forth conquering and to conquer, may be understood either as the language of the prophet to explain the meaning of the figure, or as a continuâtion of the symbolical description. The last of these opinions seems to be the most natural, as John is introduced here not as an interpreter, but a revealer, of the mind of God to the church, by giving a description of what he saw when the first seal was opened. The picture which he was led to contemplate was drawn to the life: the whole group of figures appeared to be animated; the horse seemed to be in motion; the rider was in full pursuit of the enemy; and those that rejoiced in his success were testifying their satisfaction, by handing up the crown of the conqueror to adorn his brow.This prophecy has an immediate reference to the times of John; but it has likewise a respect to the future triumphs of Messiah. It is a prediction of the success of the gospel in future times, especially after the return of the same warrior from the field of Armageddon: for John saw him going forth conquering and to conquer.

I shall now lay before you a short history of the primary accomplishment of the prophecy of the first seal.-All circumstances concur in the propriety of its application to the early

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