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highest blessings that Omnipotent Benevolence can give, or a dependent nature receive. To desire such blessings, either in the mode of direct address or in that of precatory wish, from any being who is not possessed of omnipotent goodness, would be, not “innocent and proper,” but sinful and absurd in the highest degree. When, therefore, we find every apostle whose epistles are extant, pouring out his “ expression of desire," with the utmost simplicity and energy, for These blessings, as proceeding from“
our Lord Jesus Christ,” equally “ with God our Father:” we cannot but regard it as the just and necessary conclusion that Christ and the Father are ONE in the perfection which originates the highest blessings, and in the honour due for the gift of those blessings.
“But this conclusion,” the Inquirer rejoins, “ is certainly erroneous : otherwise it would follow from the benediction, Rev. i. 4,-- that these seven spirits also are proper objects of divine worship.'
It is well known that, in the oriental style, the perfection of any quality is expressed by the application of the number seven : a figure probably derived from the history of the creation, the division of time into weeks, and the primeval honour of the sabbatic day. Thus, the extremity of distress is denoted by seven troubles; the most complete refining of metals is called a
* Page 376.
being purified seven times; a character of consummate wickedness is represented by an enumeration of seven vices, or the inhabitation of seven evil spirits; the highest measure of accomplishments is signified by seven men that can render a reason ; the perfect excellence of wisdom, by a palace with seven pillars; and the omniscience of God, by seven eyes and seven lamps.* So, also, still more remarkably, in this book of mystical visions, the perfection of the divine government, in different parts of its administration, is described by the symbolical agency of seven angels, seven seals, seven thunders, seven trumpets, seven phials, seven plagues; and the PERFECTION of POWER and WISDOM in Christ, as exercised in the protection and government of his church, is represented by “seven horns and seven eyes.”+
Upon this ground, I conceive that the principles of rational interpretation authorize our coinciding with those interpreters who understand by the expression “ the Seven Spirits which are before the throne,” that One Divine Person who is called in scripture THE HOLY Spirit, and the SPIRIT OF God. This expression, according to the idiom just explained and of whose signification we have such abundant proofs, conveys to us the representation of this Heavenly Agent, in his own original and infinite
* Job v. 19. Ps. xii. 6. Prov. vi. 16, and xxvi. 25. ix. 1. xxvi. 16. Zech. iii. 9. iv. 2,
+ Chap. v. 6.
perfection, in the consummate wisdom of his operations, and in the gracious munificence of his gifts. The symbolical position of this part of the imagery, the Seven Spirits being “ (ĚVÁTION) before or in front of, the throne;" may be conceived to denote universal inspection and readiness for action. It is true that the same expression is afterwards applied to the worshipping saints; but the difference of the subject may authorize a different conception of the allusion. The principle of this interpretation is also confirmed by Eichhorn, who understands the phrase as denoting “ the absolutely perfect Divine Na
So far, therefore, from perceiving the Inquirer's objection to be valid, we are led by it to an argument in support of another branch of Christian truth: and our conclusion remains in full force, that DIVINE ATTRIBUTIVES are here given to Jesus Christ.
II. The ascriptions of honour to Christ, which occur in this book, demand especial attention.
“ To Him who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God even his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen."'+
* " Ipsa Dei natura perfectissima." Jo. Gotofr. Eichhornü Comment in Apocal. Gættingen, 1791: cited by Rosenmüller, who had given the encomium, “ Omnibus palmam præripit.” Vol. v. p. 615, 623. See also Chap. iii. 1. iv. 5.
+ Chap. i. 5. 6. Though Bar nelay be the preferable reading,
“ The four living beings, and the twentyfour elders fell down before the Lamb, having each harps and golden phials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints: and they sing a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book and to open its seals : for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation; and thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign upon the
yet on account of the harshness of a literal version, and because
The manuscript referred to is the Petavianus 3, and, though valuable, is by no means to be set up against the testimony of all the best and most ancient manuscripts, including the Alexandrian and the Ephrem. This MS, is described in Wetst, N. T. vol. ii. p. 14, and in Marsh's Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 292, 764. It is one of those. called junior copies, but the authors just cited give no opinion upon its age. .
Mr. Lindsey's remark shews him to have been but a flimsy critic, or to have argued not very ingenuously. The various readings of the passage in question are not so numerous, nor so difficult of decision, as he represents : much farther are they from putting the passage into a state such as that no certain conclusion can be drawn from it.” Let the reader examine his Wetstein or Griesbach ; and compare the number and weight of the variations in this instance, with paragraphs of equal length in almost every page.
earth!” And I beheld : and I heard the voice of many angels encircling the throne, and [the voice] of the living beings and of the elders ; and their number was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that has been slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.” And every creature which is in the heaven and upon the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, even all that are in them, I heard saying, 'To Him who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb, be the blessing and the honour and the glory and the dominion for ever and ever!' And the four living beings said, Amen! And the elders fell down and worshipped."*
“ I looked, and behold a great multitude which no man could number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and [bearing] palms in their hands. And they shout with a loud voice, saying, “The salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.'”+
Here it is to be observed :
1. That, as the perfumes presented in the golden phials † (the imagery being derived
* Chap. v. 8—14.
+ Chap. vii. 9, 10. Rendered with great propriety in the Inproved Version, “[Our] salvation [be ascribed] to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.".
# More properly bowls, as Archbishop Newcome translates it. See Reland de Spoliis Templi Hierosol. p. 51, 114, 15.