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When Christ opened the second seal, so much more of the roll, as was contained between the second and third seal, was rolled off, and John faw, drawn upon it, the picture of a red horse, with a rider upon him holding a great sword in his hand.

This hieroglyphic was drawn in such a manner as to intimate, that power was given to this rider to take peace from the earth; and that the inhabitants of it should kill one another. The red colour of this horse, the great sword in the hand of the rider, and the notes intimating that he was to take peace from the earth, and that its inhabitants should kill one another, are as plain a declaration, as could be made in any language, that this hieroglyphic fignifies that, during the period to which it refers, there should be much persecution and bloodshed on the earth.

The earth is the symbolical name for the Roman empire. We shall meet with this symbol very frequently in this book, and shall find it always used for the Roman empire. In Luke ii. 1. All the world is used to signify the Roman empire : “ And " it came to pass in those days that there went forth “ a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world " should be taxcd.” In this paffage, there can be no doubt that, by all the world, is meant all the Ro. man empire, for the emperors of Rome could never impose taxes beyond the limits of the Roman em

pire pire, comprehending all the nations which were tributary to it.

It will be proper that here, once for all, I explain the principle on which the Roman empire is represented by this symbol. The reason why, in this book in particular, and in the writings of the New Testament in general, the Roman empire is called the earth, is, that during the period in which the New Testament 'was written, and to which the events predicted in this book relate, the Roman empire was the only universal empire on earth known in scripture. And also because it is stiled “ The kingdom on earth,” by Daniel, whose book of prophecy is opened up in this book, and therefore it is highly proper that the name given to the Roman empire in the short predictions of Daniel, should be preserved in this book, which may be considered as Christ's commentary on Daniel's sealed book. Daniel foretold four great monarchies under the , appellation of the kingdoms of the earth, and also another and a spiritual kingdom under the appellation of the kingdom of heaven, Dan. ii. 31, –45. He predicted thefe more fully in Dan. vii. 15,—27. which passages the reader is desired to consult with attention. Of these four kingdoms he faith, “they “ shall rule over all the earth. They shall arise out " of the earth. And the fourth beast shall be the " fourth kingdom upon earth.Of the other and {piritual kingdom he faith, “And in the days of

" these


THE REVELATION. 175 “ these kings shall the God of heaven set up a king“ dom. And the kingdom and dominion and the “ greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven “ shall be given to the people of the saints of the “ Most High.” These four kingdoms on earth were the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman empires. These followed each other in regular succession. And each of them, during the period of its continuance, was stiled the earth in fcripture. Thus a proclamation of Nebuchadnezar, a king of the first of these, runs thus, Dan. iv. I: “ Nebuchadnezar the king, unto all people, na" tions and languages that dwell on all the earth." Of a king of the second it is said, Ezra i. 2. “ Thus “ faith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of hea. “ ven hath given me all the kingdoms of the "earth.Of the third, under the hieroglyphic of a he goat, it is said, Dan. viii. 5. “And as I was con“ fidering, behold a he goat came from the west in " the face of the whole earth, Verse 21. And the * rough goat is the king of Grecia.” Of the fourth kingdom or Roman empire, it is said, Dan. vii. 23. " The fourth beait shall be the fourth kingdom “ upon earth. It is in reference to what is said of the fifth kingdom, as the kingdom which the God of heaven shall set up, that the real church of Chrfit is, uniformly, stiled the kingdom of heaven in the writings of the New Testament. And it is for the same reason that, in this book, beaven is the fyn.'


bol for the church for Christ, and earth is the symbol for the Roman empire.

This hieroglyphic predicts bloody persecutions, to which Christians should be exposed in the Roman empire. The rider on the red horse shall take peace from the earth or Roman empire, and they shall kill one another. The contentions in which the Roman empire should be engaged should not be wars with a foreign enemy; and those who should be killed should not be subjects of any o. ther kingdom on earth.' The citizens of Rome should persecute and kill those who were their fellow citizens.

Christians are here represented as citizens of Rome. Better citizens neyer were in the Roman nor any other empire than the Christians of this period were. They had learned from the united precepts and example of the Divine Author of Christianity, to render unto God the things which were God's, and unto Cæfar the things which were Cæsar's.' The better Christian any man is, the better subject is he of that civil government, be its form what it will, of which, in the course of divine providence, he is placed as a citizen. Whilst in matters purely religious, and which are not the proper objects of human authority, he calls no man master on earth; in matters of a civil nature, taught by the inspired and infallible standard of scripture, Rom. xiii. 5. “ He is subject not

" only

. 177 only for wrath but also for conscience fake, verse 7. “ He renders unto all their due, tribute to whom

“ tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to - " whom fear, honour to whom honour, i Pet. ii.

17, “ He fears God and honours the king.” Tim. ii, 2,—3. "He prays for kings and all in authority, " that Christians may lead quiet and peaceable lives “in all godliness and honesty; for this is good and " acceptable in the light of God, our Saviour, who “ will have all men to be saved and to come to the “knowledge of the truth."

As Christians could, with a good conscience, acknowledge themselves citizens of Rome in its heathen state, and did act properly as such in all matters merely civil, they are not distinguished, in this book, from the other citizens of Rome, by a particular name, so long as the empire continued heathen. But whenever the empire became papal, Christians are distinguished, in this book, from the citizens or rather votaries of Rome.

Then the former are uniformly stiled saints, and the latter them that dwell upon the earth. And the kingdom of the former is called heaven, and that of the latter the earth, as shall appear as we proceed. After the Roman empire became papal, as its constitution was then partly of the civil and partly of the religious kind, Christians could not acknowledge themselves citizens of that empire, VOL. I.



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