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this I look'd; and, behold, a :Door was opend in Heaven. Here he seems with St. Paul to be wrapt up to the third Heaven, 2 Cor. 12.2. Where looking about, he saw as it were the Door of Heaven open’d unto him, And the first Voice that I heard (faith he) was as it were of a Trumpet talking with me, which said, Come up hither, and I will pep thee things phich must be hereafter. That is, by the help of a fhrill loud Voice, imitating the Sound of a Trumpet, he receiv'd Revelations of some future things, which should in time come to pass; which things we may suppose related to the last Judgment. Upon the light and hearing of these things, immediately (faith he) I was in the Spirit; that is, in a Trance or Extasy, like St. Paul in the forecited Place, IVhether in the Body or out of the Body, he could not tell, God knoweth: Or elle, his being in the Spirit, might be his feeling some secret Impulses or Motions of God's Holy Spirit stirring within him. And behold (faith he) a Throne was set in: Heaven, and one fat on the Throne. The Throne here represented to him, as set up in Heaven, was a Thronę erec- : ted for Judicature :, and the Son of God, to whom the Father hath committed all Judgment, is the Person here brought in as sitting upon this Throne, whose Glory is after defcrib'd by the Lustre or Shining of precious Stones : for in the next words he tells us, that he that sat on the Throne, 'was to look upon like a Jasper and a Sardine Stone; and there was a Rainbow round about the Throne, in Sight like anto an Emerald. that is, the Majesty or Colours wherein he was represented, were like unto the Colours of a Jasper and Sardine Stone; the former, to wit the Jasper Stone, for its Firmness and Hardness, represents the Power and Omnipotence of God; the latter, the Sardine. Stone; for its fiery Redness, represents the Justice of God, who will come in Aaming Fire to consume the Adversary, Heb. 12. 28. The Rainbow that was round about the Throne, was an Emblem or Token of God's Covenant made with Man, as we şead, Gen. 9. 13.
The orient Colours whereof represent the Brightness that was round about the Throne, and the Appearance of the Glory of the Lord; Ezek. 1.28.' And this is said to be in Sight like unto an Emerald, which for its pleaSant Greenness and Mixture with other Colours, represents the Goodness of God, and his mixing Mercy with Judgment; delivering his people, at the same time that he de. Itroys the Ungodly.
Moreover, Round about this Throne (as the following words declare) there were four and twenty Seats, and upon the Seats I saw four and twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white Rayment, and they had on their Heads Crowns of Gold. Where by the Seats are meant, fo many Chairs plac'd about the Throne, and by the Elders, fitting on them, are meant the Saints who at Christ's coming to Judgment, shall fit' as Affeffors with him. So he himself told his Difciples ; When the Son of Man Mall fit on the Throne of his Glory, ye also mall sit upon twelve Thrones, judging the twelve Tribes of Israel ; Mat. 19. 28. which made St. Paul speak of it as a thing certain and well known, Do ye not know (faith he to the Corinthians) that the Saints small judg the World i Cor.6. 23. meaning, that 'tis certain, that at the great final Judgment of all the World, the Saints shall bear Christ company in judging the Wicked, and Mall sit with him 'in pronouncing Sentence against the evil Spirits. Which Elders or Saints are said to be clothed in white Rayment; that is, in Garments representing Purity and Inno cence, as white Linen doth: by which it appears, that white Garments are not such bad Attire, as some would make it, when the Saints are here represented as array'd in them, And these are said to have on their Heads Crowns of Gold; meaning, that they have receiv'd that Crown of Glory, which God the righteous Judg shall give them in that Day.
To which 'tis added, that out of the Throne proceeded Lightnings, and Thundrings, and Voices: signifying, that as there were Lightnings, and Thundrings, and terrible Voi. ces heard, at the giving of the Law, to awe Men to the observing, and terrify them from the breaking of it ; fo will the like terrible Signs and Tokens appear, at the giving In Evidence, and pronouncing Sentence against the wilful Violators of it.
And there were seven Lamps of Fire burning before the Throne ; which are the seven Spirits of God. These Lamps are here interpreted to be the Holy Angels, which attend the Throne of God, and are as ministring Spirits, fent forth to minister to them, who shall be Heirs of Salvation. But the Lamps and the Spirits here being both reckon’d to the number Seven, hath made some think them to be meant of the seven Angels of the seven Churches of Asia; though the confining them to these, may perhaps be only a Conjecture, founded inore in a Fancy about Numbers, than on any good ground of true Reasoning. Furthermore is said,
That before the Throne, there was a Sea of Glass like unto Crystal : Where by the Sea, is meant the Multitude of Perfons or People, that shall then stand before the Tribunal of God, express'd here by a Sean or Multitude of Waters, which in this Book often signifies a Multitude or Croud of People coming like Waves one upon another; as we read, Rev. 1.7.15. By the Sea of Glass like unto Crystal, may be meant a Multitude of People then appearing, whose Consciences like a Crystal-Glass shall reflect and lay open all their Thoughts and Actions, and make them visible before the Judg: tho fonie would have this Sea of Glass to be a Figure of Heaven, represented as a Sea for its Largeness and Extent; and of Glass, for its Purity and Splendor. But I leave this to the Wisdom of the Learned.
To go on, 'tis here farther said, that in the midst of the Thrones and round about the Throne, were four Beasts full of Eyes before and behind. Who these four Beasts or living Creatures in this Representation were, is variously conjectur'd by the Writers on this obscure Book: fome under. stand by them the four Apostles, James Bishop of Jerusalem our Lord's Brother, Peter, John, and Andrew. By their being full of Eyes before and behind, they understand their having the Gift of interpreting Scriptures; by which they could look backward, and declare what was past; and having the Gift of Prophecy, they could look forward, and foretel what was to come. But these being only ConJectures, let us go forward, and consider the Description here given of them.
The firft Béaft was like a Lion, the Second like a Calf, the third bad the Face of a Man, and the fourth was like a flying Eagle. These likewise are by sundry Authors variously in terpreted : The Jewish Writers take these four Likenesses for the four Ensigns or Standards of Israel, viz. The Likeness of a Lion in the Camp of Judah, of a Man in the Camp of Reuben, of an Ox in the Camp. of Ephraim, of an Eagle in the Camp of Dan; of which Likenesses we read also in the Prophecy of Ezekiel, Chap. I. 10.
Others again take these four Likenesses for Representations of the four Evangelists, Mattheno, Mark, Luke, and John ; which they take from the Beginnings of their several Gospels,
St. Mark, for beginning his Gospel with the Voice of one crying in the Wilderness Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, jie wont to be represented by a Lion.
St. Matthew, for beginning his Gospel with the Birth and Genealogy of our Saviour, is represented by the Face of a Män.
St. Luke, for beginning his Gospel with the Prophet Zachary, who was usid to offer Sacrifices, is represented by
St. John, for beginning his Gospel with the Divinity of Christ, is represented by a Aying Eagle, which foars high, and carries our Conteniplations up to Heaven. These Conjectures have occafion'd the picturing the four Evangelists with these Resemblančes.
Now these being but uncertain Guesses about doubtful Matters, we may lay no great Stress upon them, being content to be ignorant at prefent of some things, which we may hereafter better understand. And so much for the first Part of this Vision of St. John, which teaches us to acknowledg the Glory of the eternal Trinity : for here we find God the Father appointing, God the Son judging, and God the Holy Ghost approving and executing the Sentences pronounc'd at the last and great Day. : The Second Part of it will teach us, in the Power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity. For the four Beasts, or living Creatures, whatever they are, are said to have each fix Wings about them, to make them quick and nimble in God's Service; and to be full of Eyes within; to give them a full fight of their Duty: And these rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come! Where the thrice Holy denotes the three Persons of the Trinity, and the once Lord in the fingular Number, betokens the Unity of the Godhead in all three ; and their not resting day and night, invocating, and praising of him, denotes their continual worshipping of this Trin-Une Deity, whose Eternity, is describ'd by these words, Who was, and is, and is to come ; that is, who was before all Time, is at present, and ever will be. And when those Beasts, or living Creatures, give Glory, and Honour, and Thanks' to him that fat in the Throne, wło liveth for ever and ever ; the four and twenty Elders, or Assessors, at the fame time fall down before the One God, that sitteth on the Throne, and worship him alone that liveth for ever and ever, all of them casting their Cromos before the Throne, and saying, in the singular number, Tnou art worthy, O Lord, to receive Glory, and Honour, and Power ; for thou Vol. IV. Part 2.
haft created all things, nnd for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Thus we see, in this Vision of St. John, a Trinity of Perfons in the Unity of the Godhead, with a Direction to acknowledg the one, and to adore the other. To which end, our Church teaches us,
In the Third place, to pray for Grace to keep us stedfaft in this Faith, and evermore defend us from all Adversities and Opposition we may meet with in it. And this we should the rather do, because this great Article of the Trinity hath met with no small Opposition from the Atheists, Hereticks, and Scepticks of all Ages. i The Arians of old were great Enemies and Opposers of this Doctrine, and so were the Sabellians, Eunomians, and many others : and 'tis still struck at and fought to be undermin’d by the Deists, Socinians, and Sensualists of our days, who set up their shallow Reason above Divine Revelation, and deride all those Truths which they cannot comprehend. And because the Contagion of these evil Principles seems to spread too far, let us pray that our Faith fail not, but that we may be kept stedfalt in the Belief of the Holy Trinity, who have each had their share in the Work of our Redemption ; let us take heed that we forget not God that made us, nor deny the Lord that bought us, nor resist the Holy Spirit, that can alone fanctify and save us. Let not the seeming Difficulties that attend this great Truth, any way stagger or shake our Faith, in a matter of fo great Concern and Comfort to us. Our Reason is puzzled about the daily Ob. jects of our Senses, and can scarce know the Nature of
any thing that is before us; how then can we dive into the Elsence of God, or comprehend that which is incomprehenfible? This Mystery of the blessed Trinity being reveal'd to us by all the Persons of it, we know enough of it for our present State : and tho Reason alone cannot teach, and so may not prefanie to judg of it, yet we have all the reason in the world to believe it; being made known to us by him who is Truth it felf, and cannot deceive any. Our Knowledg here is but in part, and we cannot see to the bottom of any thing, and much less may we hope to fathom this unsearchable Depth. And yet God hath in parted to us Knowledg enough to make us magnify him, and lessen our felves : We know enough to learn Humility, and to discover to us our own Ignorance ; and if we are modest