Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Christ glorious and

l JUDE.

worthy of all honour. 25 presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To majesty, dominion and power, both now and

the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and for ever. Amen.

language which an arch-angel would not use, in reply to the blasphe- tists from the society of christians, not for the sake of purity, and in ming words of Satan. There always have been men who, from avarice, obedience to the truth; but from the love of power, and self-indulgence, ambition, and sensuality, have imitated Cain, Balaam, and Korah; being sensual, not having, nor ever desiring and seeking the Spirit to and when any such are continued in the communion of a church, they renew and sanctify them. Of such as these Enoch prophesied, and are disgraceful spots, and blemishes. O cast out such wicked persons, the apostles of our Lord wrote and spoke. Let those who are of God ye churches of Christ, and have no fellowship with them!, They will build up theinselves in the faith, and show that the doctrine is most grow worse and worse, and prove to be as clouds without water, as holy, and the belief of it has a purifying influence on the heart and lise ; trees without fruit, withered and plucked up with the roots; or they and let them endeavour to keep themselves in the exercise of love to will become as raging waves of the sea, whom nothing can restrain, God, and in the high enjoyment of a sense of his love to them, looking spreading moral ruin around them, while they foam out their own for the mercy of our Lord unto everlasting life. And let such wise, shame. How dreadful the end of these gospel-sinners. To them is holy christians, pray for, and admonish sinners, having compassion reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

on them; and let them sel before others the terrors of the Lord, that 3. When we see such offenders bearing the christian name, let they may be snatched out of the fire. Believing that the coming of not any be surprised or moved from their stedfastness ; for the spirit of the Lord draweth near, let his saints rejoice; and let all ungodly prophecy has foretold that such characters would be found among sinners tremble at the thought of the account which they have to render, professors. And these have been and are still murmurers against Gud and of the sentence which they have to expect from him. With and his truth, who walk after their own evil desires; boasters, speaking what pleasure should we contemplate God our Saviour, and commit great swelling words of vanity; men-pleasers, for the sake of gain; ourselves to him, who is able to keep us and present us faultless before scoffers at the humble, self-denying followers of Christ, who believe, the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to whom be glory and seek, and in some measure, exemplify the power of godliness ; separa- majesty, doniinion and power, both now, and for ever. Amen.

imply his divine nature.- Making a difference. In the method of reclaiming
siuners, on some have compassion as erring through ignorance and weakness;
but save if possible others, who show great depravity and obstinacy, by the
fear of divine wrath, spatching them as brands from the fire. Zech. iii. 2.-
The garment defiled.lu labouring to restore others, you must show that you

cultivate the purity you recommend, by hating any thing defiled. Levit.
XV. 4, &c.

24, 25. Now to him, &c. What a noble display of the Saviour's power, grace and glory have we in this conclusion! He is the only wise God our Saviour, and to him let all glory be ascribed.

REVELATION

OF

SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE.

INTRODUCTION.

According to Dr. Mill, this work, in a few years after it was written, was numbered among the apostolic writings, and received as the genuine production of the Evangelist John, by the churches of Asia, Syria, and Samaria ; and the more distant ones of Africa, Egypt, Rome, and other churches of Europe. And both Sir Isaac Newton and Lowman, were of opinion, that hardly any one book bath received more early, more authentic, or more satisfactory attestations. It was not questioned for above a hundred

years afterwards; but in consequence

of some absurd opinions respecting the Millennium, which some fathers held, and which they attempted to support by this book, a certain Caius denied its authority, and Dionisius of Alexandria raised objections preserved by Eusibius; but to all it may be answered, that they bring no proof against its authenticity, nor any testimony against John being the author of it; and on a subject of this nature, testimony alone ought to decide.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER 1.

and from the seven Spirits which are before

his throue; And from Jesus Christ, who is 5 A. D. 96. John writeth to the seven churches of Asia signified by the golden

the faithful witness, and the first-born from lampstands; the coming of Christ; his glorious power and majesty.

the dead, and the prince of the kings of the 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God earth. To him that loved us, and hath washed

gave to him, to show, unto his servants things us from our sins by his own blood, And hath 6 which must shortly come to pass; and he sent made us kings and priests to his God and Fa

and signified it by his angel to his servant ther; to him be glory and dominion for ever 2 John: Who hath testified of the word of God, and ever. A men.

and of the testimony given to Jesus Christ, Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every 7 3 even whatsoever things he hath seen. Happy eye shall see him, and they also who pierced

is he that readeth, and they that hear the words him: and all the tribes of the earth shall laof this prophecy, and keep those things that ment because of him. Even so, Amen. "I 8 are written therein: for the time is near. am the Alpha and the Omega, ° saith the Lord

John to the seven churches which are in God," who is, and who was, and who is to Asia : Grace, and peace be unto you, from

from come,

come, the Almighty. him who is, and who was, and who is to come; I John, your brother, and companion in 9

CHAP. I.

8. O the beginning and the end. Griesb.

a Griesb.

CHAP. I. 1-3. Shortly come to pass. Some of the events predicted in this book will soon occur. -By his angel. Any thing, in the style of prophecy, which notifies a message from God, a voice, dream, vision, &c.— Who hath testified, 8e. Concerning the doctrine, miracles, and sufferings of Christ, in the gospel which he hath written, and in which is recorded the testimony given to him by the baptist, by the Father, &c. I have rendered the Aorists in the past time, as they are frequently rendered in the conimon version. I cannot but think this version more just; for it seems to me the design of John modestly to describe bimself, by referring to his gospel. So Hammond, Lowman, and others have explained.. And they that hear, &c. Few persons then could afford to buy a copy of the scriptures ; and the knowledge of most was derived from hearing them read in the assemblies of christians; but it was not hearing but keeping the things enjoined to which the promise is made. 4–6. From him who is, &c. From the eternal unchanging God. - The

3 n 2

seven spirits. To imagine that John prayed to created spirits or angels would be to make him an idolater. We must then understand the seven spirits to mean the Holy Spirit, thus called on account of the fulness and variety of his grace and operation, the word seven, in Hebrew, denoting fulness and perfeca tion. In the next words, “And from Jesus Christ,” which alınost obliges us to understand John to mean “ From the Father, the Holy Spirit.” This is the usual manner of the apostles.- Prince of the kings, ģc. Being exalted far above them, and by his providence overruling them to accomplish his pleasure. To him, then, says John, with whom every believer unites, who loved us, &c. washed us from our sins by his blood, and anointed and consecrated us as kings, &c.

7,8. Behold he cometh, &e. John speaks of his coming as if at hand because of the certaiuty of it; and he probably refers to Dan. vii. 13. Zech. xii. 10,- They who pierced him. The Jews; and even all others, when they

467

.

John in Patmos.
REVELATION I.

Vision of Christ. affliction, and in the kingdom and patience || brass, as if they had been purified in a furnace: of Jesus Christ, was in the island which is and his voice as the sound of many waters.

called Patmos, for the word of God, and for And he had in his right hand seven stars : 16 10 my testimony to Jesus Christ. I was in the || and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged

Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind sword : and his countenance was as the sun Il me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, ° shining in his strength. And when I saw him,, 17

“What thou seest, write in a book, and send I fell at his feet as if dead. And he put his it unto the seven churches ; ° to Ephesus, and right hand upon me, saying to me, “ Fear not; to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, || I am the first and the last; He that liveth, 18

and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to though I was once dead ; and, behold, I con12 Laodicea.” And I turned to see whence the tinue living for evermore, and have the keys of

voice came that spoke with me. And being death and hades. Write therefore the things 19 13 turned, I saw seven golden lampstands ; Aod which thou hast seen, and the things which now

in the midst of the seven lampstands one like are, and the things which shall be hereafter. The 20 to the Son of man, clothed with a garment mystery of the seven stars which thou seest

down to the feet, and girt about his breast with in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp14 a golden girdle. His head and his hair were stands is this : The seven stars are the angels

white, as white wool, or as snow; and his eyes of the seven churches: and the seven lamp15 were as a flame of fire; And his feet like fine stands which thou seest are the seven churches.

[ocr errors]

ness.

11. • I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Griesb.

11. O which are in Asia. Griesb. REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER '1. 1. Whatever God has born from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth We been pleased to reveal to bis servants, by his Son Jesus Christ, re- cannot indeed enjoy these blessings unless washed from our sins in his specting his own will, their duty, or privileges; or respecting the state blood, and anointed and consecrated to God, even our Father, as priests, of the church on earth, its sufferings, persecutions, supports and triumphs; to offer the sacrifices of prayer and praise ; and as kings, to rule over or respecting its final deliverance, and happiness in heaven, deserves our depravity, and to wear the royal robe and the crown of righteousour most serious regard, study, and constant meditation. The testi- To what honour and dignity does Jesus raise miserable sinners mony given 10 Jesus by the Father on many occasions, John and by his free love and grace; and how thankfully should they ascribe 10 others have declared, even what things they saw and heard; and we him glory and dominion for ever. Amen. are bound in duly and interest to receive their word. We have now 2. We are admonished not to imitate the conduct of scoffers, who to contemplate a prophecy of no common interest and importance, re- say, “ Where is the promise of his coming ?" Do not all things conspecting things, some of which were then shortly to come to pass, and tinue still as they were, after so many years have passed away? Let which have come accordingly. May the grace and peace John de- us remember that the longest duration of years bears no proportion to voutly desires, come to us from the ever-living and unchangeable eternity, and that at the appointed time He that is to come, will come, Jehovah, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, whose fulness and opera- and will not tarry. Behold He is coming in the clouds of heaven, in tions prove his divinity, and from Jesus the faithful witness, the first- his own glory and in that of the Father, to raise the dead, and to judge

see him in his glory, will lament that he was treated with such indignity and cruelty when on earth.I am Alpha, &c. Here he who is described as coming in the clouds speaks of himself as possessing divine attributes. See v. 18.

9. Companion in the, &c. A fellow-sufferer with you in the kingdom of Christ, whose subjects are now so grievously persecuted and have need of the patience of Christ, was banished to the island called Patmos, for preaching the word of God, and giving testimony to Christ. This event occurred about the year 95, in the reign of Domitian; and this shows that this book could not be published sooner than 96 or 97.

10, 11. On the Lord's day. On the first day of the week, the day on which he rose from the dead, and the day on which christians usually meet for divine worship ; on this day, in the island of Patmos, the Spirit came upon me as on the prophets, and presented to my mind the following visions. I seemed to hear a voice behind me, saying, “What thou seest, &c."

13. I saw seven golden, $c. This is the jnst version of the text, but they must have been single, and very different in their form from the chandelier of

the tabernacle. Exod. xxv. 31, &c. They were properly lampstands, and each was the emblem of a single church. They were placed either in a cirele, or in a straight line, a space being left in the middle, where in the vision stood one like to the Son of Man, a most glorious person, clothed in robes of majesty.

14-16, His head, &c. This is very like what Daniel saw, Ch. vii. 9.

-White. Surrounded with uncommon brightyess and lustre, as the word signifies; and his eyes were as a flame, darting and penetrating. His feet, his lower parts, as the finest and best polished brass, while his voice ras av. ful as the sound of the roaring ocean. This glorious person held in his right hand seven shining stars; and there seemed to issue from bis mouth a sharp two-edged sword, to represent the power of his word as a judge ; and his countenance was like the sun shining in his noontide brightness.

17—20. As if dead. The glory of this scene overpowered me, and I became as one dead, insensible; but he revived me and said, Fear not. See Dan. X. 10.--I am the first, 8c. Though appearing as a man, I am indeed pos sessed of divine perfections and glories.--He that liveth. He that now liveth again, though I was as to my human nature, as thou knowest, once dead and laid in the tomb; and behold, as your High priest and Saviour, I continue living for ever, and am invested with power over death and the unseen world.

A. D. 96.

Churches of Ephesus
REVELATION II.

and Smyrna addressed. CHAPTER II.

first love. , Remember, therefore, whence thou 5

hast fallen, and repent, and do thy first works; What is commanded to be written to the angels or ministers of the or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira, &c.

remove thy lampstand out of its place, unless 1 “ To the angel of the church of Ephesus thou repent. But this praise thou hast, that 6

write; These things saith he that holdeth the thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which seven stars in his right hand; that walketh in I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him 7

the midst of the seven golden lampstands; hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy To him that overcometh will I give to eat of

patience, and that thou canst not bear those the tree of life, which is in the midst of the that are evil : and thou hast tried those who paradise of God.

say that they are apostles, and are not, and “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna 8 3 hast found them liars: And hast patience, write ; These things saith the first and the

and hast borne much for my name's sake, and last, who was dead, and is alive; I know thy 9 4 hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have some- works, and affliction, and poverty, (yet thou

what against thee, because thou hast lost thy art rich,) and the blasphemy of those who say

mankind. Then every one shall see him in human nature, exercise persecutors, they have osten enjoyed the peculiar influence of the Spirit, sovereign power, infinite knowledge, awful justice, awarding to all and been blessed with the most delightful sellowship with the Saviour. according to their deeds. He who as inan was once despised and re- A solitary island, a prison, a sick bed, cannot prevent their prayers jected will appear to be the Alpha and the Omega, the First cause and and serious meditations, nor the gracious visits of their Saviour. We Last end of all things in creation, providence, and redemption; as one should esteem the Lord's day holy and honourable; and seek the with the Father, the Eternal and Almighty. Then they who pierced special aid of the Spirit, that we may employ its hours in the duties of him, and all who have crucified him afresh, by their unbelief, apostacy, humble worship. In such exercises we may find sirong consolation, and persecutions, shall see his glory, and feel the power of his avenging while by faith we realize the glory of the Redeemer, who walkethi arm. Then shall Caiaphas, and the chief-priests, Herod and his men annidst his churches, and hear his voice as the good Shepherd who laid of war, Pilate and his soldiers, and all the tribes of the earıb, who down his life for the sheep. What may we not expect from his love, have neglected his great salvation, lament because of him in horror who is the First and the Last, who, having once died for our sins, and and despair ; nor can they find any hiding-place from his justly de risen for our justification, now ever lives to make intercession for us? served wrath. O that men were wise, that they would consider this What may we not expect from his power and grace, in whose hands awful day! and in the exercise of repentance, faith, and love, prepare are the keys of death and the unseen worlds of heaven and hell? Let to meet their judge. Humble believers can look forward to it as the com- us not fear what men or devils may do to injure and destroy us; but pletion of their redemption, and can add their attestation, even so, Amen. confiding in our almighty Saviour, let us leave the disposal of our lives,

3. We learn that in times of suffering God's children have been and the manner of our death to his wisdom and love, assured that he favoured with the brightest visions of his glory, and discoveries of his will fulfil his promise, and fit us and bring us to behold his glory, the love. When they are banished from the society of cliristian friends by sight of which would now overwhelm us.

The mystery, &c. This vision of thë stars and lampstands represents the seven pastors, and seven churches of Asia.

CHAP. II. 1. To the angel. From wliat is said to the angel of the church at Ephesus and the other churches, it is evident, that the people forming these churches are included, or rather particularly addressed ; and as we learn that there were in this church many elders or pastors, (Acts xx. 17, 28) it is by some concluded that the term angel is symbolical both of the pastors and the people. Campbell supposes that the angel means the presiding elder, or the chairman, when they met for any special purpose, together with the church, according to the custom of all societies. See Lect. 5, on Eccles. Hist. Ephesus was the capital of the province called Asia. See Acts xix. 8-12.

Holdeth the seven, &c. Who supports and maintains his ministers, and who is present to bless and encourage all believers.

2,3. I know thy works, &c. That this is addressed to the whole church is

admitted; and from this I conclude, that the presiding minister or elder included the rest of the officers.--- Thut they are apostles, &c. Wrio pretend to a special comunission from me, and thou hast found them impostors, and hast rejected them; and thou hast exercised patience under thy trials, and hast not fainted or been wearied out.

4, 5. Thy first love. Thou art declining in affection and zeal. It is proper, therefore, to call upon thee to remember thy state, and to regain thy former love, aud do the same works of charity as formerly.

6. Nicolaitans. The followers of one Nicolas, who held and taught that the most impure practices were indifferent, or even innocent.

7. To him that overcometh. That nobly perseveres in maintaining the faith, and triumphs over all difficulties, shall enter into the heavenly paradise.

8-11. Smyrna was a large city to the north of Ephesus, and still abides and retains its name. Are Jews, &c. Pretend to be the peculiar people of God, and are ever eaking evil of me; but they are indeed the synagogue of Satan. The devil. By his servants and instruments, persecutors, will cast some of you, &c. -Ten days, 8c. That is a short and limited period. Some, however, understand len prophetic days, a day signifying a year.

12

Churches of Permagos and
REVELATION II.

Thyatira addressed. they are Jews, and are not, but are the syna- | hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, 10 gogue of Satan. Fear none of those things and on the stone a new name writtey, which

which thou art about to suffer. Behold, the no man knoweth but he that receiveth it. devil will cast some of you into prison, that ye “And to the angel of the church in Thya- 18 may be proved; and ye will have affliction for | tira write; These things saith the Son of God,

ten days. Be thou faithful to death, and I who hath his eyes as a flame of fire, and whose 11 will give thee a crown of life. He that hath feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, 19

an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto and thy love, and service, and faith, and pathe churches. He that overcometh shall not tience, and thy last works, which are better be hurt by the second death.

than the first. Nevertheless I have somewhat 20 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos against thee, because thou sufferest that woman write; These things saith he which hath the sharp Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to 13 two-edged sword; I know thy works, and where teach and to seduce my servants to commit

thou dwellest, even where the throne of Satan fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto is: and yet thou holdest fast my name, and didst idols. And I have given her time, and she 21 not deny my faith, even in those days wherein will not repent of her fornication. Behold, 22

Antipas was my faithful witness, who was slain I will cast her on a bed of sickness, and those 14 among you, where Satan dwelleth. Never- that commit adultery with her into great afflic

theless I have a few things against thee, because tion, unless they repent of their deeds. And 23 thou hast there such as hold the doctrine of I will kill her children by death; and all the Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling- churches shall know that I am he who searchblock before the children of Israel, to eat eth the reins and the hearts: and I will give

things sacrificed to idols, and to commit for- unto every one of you according to your works. . 15 nication. So hast thou also such as hold the But to you I say, even to the rest in Thyatira, 21

doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. as many as have not this doctrine, and who 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, have not known the depths of Satan, as they

and will fight against them with the sword of speak: I will put upon you none other burden. 17 my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear But that which ye have already, hold fast till 25

what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To I come. And he that overcometh, and keep- 26 him that overcometh I will give to eat of the eth my works unto the end, to him will I give

Crown To one of these customs the passage seems to refer, and Lowman applies it to oj life. Paul calls the reward of the christian an incorruptible crown, a crown the latter. -New name. Such a conqueror is not only to be for ever abof righteousness, and James, a crowo of life; by which is meant the future solved and entitled to the promised reward, but to enjoy a new name, a ne state of glory and bappiness.- Second death. The future punishment of the rank and state, which no one can know but he who receives and enjoys it. wicked.

Danbuz refers this new name, or state, to the new situation of immortality in 12, 13. Pergamos lay north of Smyrna.-Two-edged sword. Ch. i. 16. heaven.

- Throne of Satan. Is established by the superstition, wickedness, and 18, 19. Thyatira lay to the south-east of Pergamos.The Son of God. persecution of the people ; yet you profess my name, and did not deny my He appeared as the Son of man, but was, in a particular sense, the Sou of God. doctrine in those days, when Antipas was, &c. Nothing more is said of this Comp. Ch. i. 13-16.--I know thy works, 86. This shows that be searches person; so that we know not whether he was a minister, or a private christian. the reins and the hearts of men, as he knows not only the works of his people, He pobly suffered death for his faith, and his Lord mcntions him with respect but the faith, the love, and the patience which they exercise. and honour.

20-23. Woman Jezebel. One like her addicted to vice, teaching and 14, 15. The doctrine of Balaam, &c. See Numb. xxv. 1, 2.; xxxi. 16. | seducing my disciples to uncleanness, and to join in the feasts of idols. -01 As he taught Balak how to seduce the Israelites, so some among you seduce her fornication. Of that which she teaches.- Commit adultery, &c. Who my disciples, and teach the impure doctrines of the Nicolaitans. See verse 6. follow her impure and pernicious doctrines.- -Kill her children. Her dis

16, 17. Sword of my mouth. I will quickly come and punish them.-- ciples and adherents; and this awful judgment shall make all the churches Hidden manna. He shall enter into the most Holy place in heaven, and par- know that I will reward every ove according to his works. take of the pleasures which are there for evermore. The allusion is to the pot 24. Even to the rest, &c. To those who abide faithful, and do not reof manna, which Moses commanded to be laid up before the Lord. Exod. ceive this impure doctrine, and who happily have not known the deep arts ef xvi. 33, &c,- - A white stone, &c. White stones were used in acquitting Satan, as they are justly called, but which they esteem the deep things of God; accused persons, and black in condemning them; and white stones were also I will put on you no new burden. Some suppose that he refers 10 Aets 17. given to the victors in the Grecian games, as warrants to receive their prizes. 28.; see verse 20.

« PreviousContinue »