Page images

6 God

it, was the felt painfulness and humbling sense of his imperfections experienced under conscious failings which, in his estimation, broke the harmony and disfigured the beauty of his Christian character. However, it is but just to state, that during the entire period of his connection with the church there was no visible change of character, no irregularity in his conduct and conversation. In the world his deportment was such as became the gospel of Christ. But every good man knows that he must rise much higher than the world's standard of perfection. Into the heart the world's eye cannot penetrate, and hence it is often his portion to mourn in secret over that which men would applaud. It is impossible for a Christian who thus takes his heart, and lip, and life to the high test of Scripture, not to feel similarly to what our brother did, and find many occasions to pray, in the language of the publican, be merciful to me a sinner." That Christian has certainly arrived at no mean degree of perfection, who, when he impartially weighs himself in the balances of the sanctuary, perceives no indications of being wanting; but how often do the best of men, in their pilgrimage to the skies, find themselves at seasons in deep heaviness, if not on the verge of despair. We have in the experience of Mr. Wouldhave, however, to record a brighter end; all misgivings ultimately left him, and he expressed not the slightest fear of death.

Unless a man be the subject of hardened vice, or of blind and stoical indifference, he cannot but know himself to be unprepared to meet the Judge Eternal, and must feel alarmed when he sees death advancing. But when an enlightened and spiritual mind is unmoved and fearless, grace divine must have the credit of the confidence the honour of the victory. However, in our late friend W.'s case, nothing was so clear as that almighty grace hadriven out from the citadel of the heart the strong and natural terrors of the final foe, which left it calm and tranquil as the sea on the finest summer's day. He knew that death would draw aside the veil of the judgment-seat; but strong was his confidence that in the Judge he should find an everlasting friend, and pass approved from the bar to the blessedness of immortality. Hence, as his bosom companion informed us, he often desired to have sung to him that sweet hymn commencing with the words

“On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,

And cast a wishful eye,” &c.
He has crossed the flood, and gained the heavenly shore.

Eighteen days previously to the decease of brother Wouldhave, his medical attendant requested him to walk out for the benefit of the air; he did so; he observed to the writer, that “if he could muster sufficient strength to go abroad for the health of the poor body, he thought it more important that he should once more visit his class for the benefit of his soul.” He accordingly came, as he said, "in full expectation of obtaining a blessing," and in that, as the sequel will show, he was not disappointed. Whilst the 508th hymn was being sung, which had been selected by the Rev. A. Lynn, on account of its appropriateness to Mr. W.'s circumstances and experience, in a loud expression of holy rapture, he lifted up his hands and stamped with his foot upon the floor. At that instant.the brethren ceased singing; Mr. W. was overwhelmed with the unusual visitation of the Spirit, the Comforter; and feeling that at that moment his were the joys that are “unspeakable and full of glory," he attempted no description, but loudly exclaimed, Glory be to God!

Glory be to God! I find it! Go on, friends, go on! All is right! All is right !” He afterwards observed, “ If I had been in the middle of the street, I could not have refrained doing the same." He immediately afterwards related his experience, and it was that of" a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” ready, and on the wing for heaven. This circumstance produced a highly sanctified advancement in his religious feelings, hopes, and pleasures, as he ever afterwards appeared to sit only with Christ Jesus in heavenly places.

A few evenings previously to the last on which he breathed on earth, one of his daughters went to visit him; on her entering the room, he said, “Well, dear, have you come to sit up with me?” She said that she was not aware that he needed her services. He replied, in the fulness of holy confidence and triumph,"Oh! your father will soon be gone. Now Father is going to send his chariots to take me to heaven.”

On the afternoon before his death, a pious lady visited him, and during the spiritual conversation they had, and which greatly encouraged him, he observed, that “it was to him a matter of the greatest comfort, that he had not to seek religion then, but that he had it for his solace and support.” These were nearly his last words on earth. He sat in a composed and meditative frame until about ten o'clock at night, when he expressed a desire to retire to bed. He lay down, and his attentive and affectionate partner gave him his medicine. She then left him to attend to the fire; whilst doing so, she thought she heard him speak, and went immediately to him, but found, somewhat to her surprise, that he was passing through the valley of the shadow of death. He heaved a gentle sigh, and in a moment fell asleep in Jesus, October 24th, 1844.

" How many fall as sudden,--few as safe !”



WAILE Thee I seek, protecting Power!

Be my vain wishes stilld,
And may this consecrated hour,

With better hopes be fill’d!
Thy love the power of thought bestow'd,

To Thee my thoughts would soar;
Thy mercy o'er my life has flowed,

That mercy I'll adore.
In each event of life how clear

Thy ruling hand I see!
Thy blessings to my soul more dear,

Because conferr'd by Thee!
In every joy that crowns my days,

In every pain I bear,
My heart shall find delight in praise,

Or seek relief in prayer.
When gladness wings the favour'd hour,

Thy love my soul shall fill;
Resign'd, when clouds of sorrow lour,

My soul shall meet Thy will.
My lifted eye, without a tear,

The threat'ning storm shall see;
My stedfast heart shall know no fear,---

That heart shall rest on Thee.





" And I beheld, and lo! in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, (r@v Teoodpor Sumr, of the four living ones,) and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."-Revelation, chap. v. verse 6.

(Concluded from page 13.)


The Lamb who was once slain now reigns in royal dignity, for his place is the midst of the throne. He possesses Divine perfections, and exercises Divine prerogatives, for he has seven horns and seven eyes. And he receives the supreme homage of all the hosts of heaven. These are the circumstances which constitute his mediatorial glory.

1. The Lamb now reigns in kingly glory. He is enthroned. His place is the midst of the throne. The elders are seated on thrones, but Christ occupies the centre and the summit of celestial dignity and honour. The ancient prophets often spoke of Christ; and they describe him not only as a suffering Saviour, but as a reigning Monarch; while they foretold the sufferings of Christ, they spoke also of his glory which should follow. He is described as David's Lord, as well as his son. “ The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Zechariah speaks of him at one time as the Shepherd who should be smitten by the sword of justice, but at another as a mighty Potentate who should bear the glory, and sit and rule upon his throne. Isaiah describes him in his humbled state as "despised and rejected of men," as a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;" but in his exalted state he is the “Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Father of the everlasting age, and the Prince of peace." Girt with omnipotence, and having the government upon his shoulders, he overthrows his enemies, and spreads his triumphs over the world. How exactly and how admirably do these predictions of the prophet harmonize with the visions of the Apostle!" "He beheld the Lamb as he had been slain, but who is alive again, and stands in the midst of the throne, exalted far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every 'name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; having all things put under his feet, and made head over all things to his church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." He who in the days of his humiliation and sorrow had not where to lay his head, is now enthroned in majesty divine; and he who once paid tribute to.Cæsar, now reigns in heaven as King of kings, and Lord of lords; receiving the homage of angels and

To this state of glory the human nature of our Lord is exalted as a reward for his obedience and death. It is a portion of the joy that


was set before him when he undertook our cause ,and for which he “endured the cross and despised the shame.”. Because he “humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, God hath thus highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

2. We further observe, that the passage represents the blessed Redeemer as possessing Divine perfections, and exercising Divine prerogatives. For the Lamb has", seven horns and seven eyes.". These symbolical terms require a brief explanation. The “horn” is in Seripture a frequent emblem of power and dominion, and the word rendered - seven," signifies in the Hebrew language (the idiom of which is here preserved, although the apostle wrote in Greek,) not only the numerical meaning given to it, but fulness, sufficiency, and perfection: and this appears to be its signification in the text. The seven horns of the Lamb, therefore, represent the perfect power and dominion of Christ.

(a) The power of Christ is almighty. Omnipotence is an essential attribute of his Divine nature, and is abundantly manifest in his works. In creation this power is manifest, for by it earth, air, ocean, and beasts, men and angels were brought into existence. ." All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." In the works of Providence this power is manifest. The harmony of the universe is preserved by the constant agency of his


The same power which created is essential to preserve. Were he for a moment to withdraw his almighty, energy, creation would become a second chaos. But he who in the days of his humiliation fainted beneath his cross, now upholdeth all things by the word of his power, and it is by him that all things consist. During the period of his ministry, this power was manifest. 7 By it he cleansed the leper, cast out devils, silenced the tempest, and raised the dead-by it he conquered our enemies, burst the bands of death, and rose to the mediatorial throne.

The seven horns of the Lamb are set for the defence of his church and the destruction of his foes. The power of Christ is both natural and moral, and by it we are shielded in danger, supported in arduous duties, rendered victorious over our enemies, and by it we are kept, through faith, unto final salvation. The power of Christ is as a wall of fire round

about his church, so that no weapon formed against her shall prosper. In different ages of the church, earth and hell have seemed combined to effect her utter destruction. - Tyrants and persecutors, apostates and deceivers, have leagued themselves with devils to exterminate Christianity from the earth; but “ he that sitteth in the heavens hath laughed; the Lord hath had them in derision.” The flames have ascended, but the bush hath remained unconsumed, because God was in the midst of it.

The proudest kingdoms have fallen, nations the most powerful have Ebeen blotted out, and mighty political changes have convulsed the earth;

but the church of Christ has remained in 2 existence, because the horns of the Lamb have been her defence. An agency, often unseen, yet mighty in its operations, has beaten back the armies marshalled against her, and defeated their malignant designs.

(b) The horns of the Lamb indicate also the universal dominion of Christ. They are seven in number--the number indicating completeness and perfection; so his empire shall be universal. Already the natural uni

[ocr errors]

verse is subject unto him; but there is a moral and spiritual energy in Christ, that shall subdue the universe of mind. “He must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” All must be conquered, either by love or vengeance; all must become either the willing and happy subjects of his spiritual reign, or the victims of his dreadful ire. The horns of the Lamb are now pushing against his enemies, and extending the bounds of his spiritual empire. In the signs of the times we see that Christ is increasing his hosts, and leading them forth to battle. He is making aggressions upon the regions of darkness, and his victories shall continue to advance until “the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him, and he shall reign for ever and ever."

(c) But the Lamb has seven eyes as well as seven horns. While the horn is an emblem of power and dominion, the eye is an emblem of intelligence; therefore the seven eyes indicate the perfect wisdom and intelligence of our Lord. Omniscience as well as omnipotence is an essen. tial attribute of Christ. All the mysteries in nature, providence, and redemption are open to his view. All that transpires in earth, in heaven, and in hell, is seen by his comprehensive glance. All that is past, present, and to come, is known by him with intuitive certainty, and from him nothing can be hidden, to him nothing can be obscure. He is light, and with him there is no darkness at all. As his presence fills immensity, so his power operates from the centre to the circumference of the universe, and his knowledge is infinite; as the power of the Lamb is the protection of his people, so his wisdom is their unerring guide. Meekly receiving the indications of his will, and implicitly confiding in the wisdom of his guidance, we shall be led into all truth. “ The meek will be guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way." He will contravene the purposes of our foes, frustrate the counsel of every Ahithophel, and conduct us by a right way unto a city of habitation.

(d) The horns and eyes of the Lamb are here declared to be the seven spirits of God. Some expositors have understood the seven spirits to mean seven angels, or an indefinite number of those celestial beings, employed as agents in the providence of God. It must be acknowledged that angels are thus employed, and that special reference to the number seven as applied to angels is frequently made in this mysterious book. Notwithstanding there are several weighty reasons which have led me to reject this interpretation. As one reason, the representation of the seven spirits in the passage is too dignified for angels. The spirits are de scribed as the horns and the eyes of the Lamb of God; but angels, however exalted in rank or capacity, are but created and dependent beings; and there must always be an infinite disparity between the Creator and the creature. Angels, therefore, are not the horns and the eyes of the Lamb of God. Another reason for rejecting this interpretation is the fact that the seven spirits are nowhere described as creatures, and are nowhere found uniting with creatures in the acts of adoration or worship, or in ascribing their existence to God. Thus they are distinguished from all created beings, however exalted, and cannot therefore be considered as creatures at all. After the most careful examination of the text, and by comparing it with other passages, I have been irresistibly led to the conclusion, that by the seven spirits the Holy Ghost himself

« PreviousContinue »