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Verse 8. The four beasts had each of them six wings. The living creatures in Ezekiel i. 6. bad four wings, and the seraphims, Isa. vi. 2. had sis also ; which more immediately belong to the whole body of these beings of life, and no doubt, express certain virtues, common to all the children of God, in all ages. The prophet Isaiah informs us of their use. With two they covered their faces through reverence, from the beams of venerated glory, too bright for seraphims themselves to behold. With two they covered their feet, by which is indicated a deep sense of their sinfulness, weakness and imperfection in all, and even their best works, as the foundation of that cardinal virtue humility. And with the other two they-fly, signifying their readiness to fulfil the command of the Lord to the best of their power.
They rest not day and night, saying, holy, holy, holy. O blessed restlessness! There is no night in heaven, only here on earth, where these Beings of life exist. They are wholly devoted to the service of God, in which they live, and move, and possess spiritual life. Their whole existence is penetrated by a deep sense of the holiness of this Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit; by which they are animated and directed to an incessant and perpetual wor. ship, either more or less, in every hour by day or night, throughout the whole economy. This word dyos, holy, and in Isaiah kadosch, signifies a thing separated from all things common, and solely devoted to sanctified purposes; but when used of God, it denotes his infinite perfection and supreme excellence in every power and virtue constituting his Deity, which finite beings may endeavour to imitate, but never fully attain. This supreme excellency of God in all his moral attributes they praise continually, to shew the beauty which they behold in it, and their earnest endeavour after holiness in person, doctrine, life, and conversation. They also praise him as the Lord of his Church, as God, the only object of worship--as the Al
mighty, Harroxectwe, the supreme ruler of the Uni-
..and thanks, to him that sat on the throne, who
- liveth for ever and ever, . .
him that sat on the throne, and worship him
crowns before the throne, saying,
honour, and power; for thou hast created all
these economies established, and mankind trained to cons fess freely, and from deep conviction, that he is worthy of this doxology.
My exposition of this chapter has been rather full, because it has been pew on many points ; the following shall be more brief:
A SERENE and solemn contemplation of this theatre of heavenly visions, ought to convince every reflecting mind - of its Divine origin. The spiritual sensibility excited by
this view, far surpasses all, which the most pompous' scenery of Greek or Roman poets could ever produce. Behold the appearance of God in powerful majesty, seated on his throne of government, in the midst of refulgent flashes of lightnings, thunderings, and voices : attended by the four Living Beings as ministers of state, under the symbols of royal boldness, indefatigable activity, prudence, and heavenly-mindedness, and furnished with wings, and thousands of eyes, to observe and execute the Divine mandates :-Their attitude; standing before the throne, penetrated with reverence :-—the sea of electrum, forming a spacious circuit before Jehovah, in which the seven flames of fire, waving immediately over its surface, reflect their glorious light, and every other object in heaven, as in a mirror:-around this sea twenty-four thrones, on which sit his royal subjects, perfected saints :- and the whole surrounded by many millions of angelsmall these engaged in rapturous songs of praise-in acclamations of holy, holy, holy! what a glorious scene! what terrible majesty!
Although this vision is an emblematical representation of the Church of God on earth; yet, I have no hesitation to say, that these sublime symbols may also represent real objects in the intellectual world. For after God has accom
plished all his divine purposes on earth, this world will be a perfect resemblance of heaven. But what convinces my mind most, is a comparison of this vision with that recorded in Ezekiel, chapt i. and x: with that of Isaiah vi; and with that which Moses beheld on the Mount, Exod. XXV. 40. Hebrews viii. 5; according to which he constructed the tabernacle, and all the holy instruments and vessels appertaining to its service, which St. Paul informs us, were only the shadow and example of heavenly things.
This St. Paul could say, from having been an eye-witness, after he was caught up to a view of heaven and paradise, where also he saw these archetypes of all the machinery in the Old Testament dispensation, though perhaps only in a partial view. But a more minute elucidation of these ob. jects in that respect, would, I presume, be visionary, and of little benefit to many readers.
This chapter now, commences the Revelation of the mystery of God to his Church. These great personages rise, one after the other to the theatre of action, till at certain interesting nodos, all the powers of heaven and hell are engaged in the prosecution of their different views. But the Lamb of God, which here receives his commission in a book from the throne, exercises his authority in many direful conflicts against the powers of darkness, and appears at last as supreme Ruler of the world, adorned with many crowns, as conqueror of all his enemies. Verse 1. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on
the throne, a book written within and on the
backside, sealed with seven seals.. . 2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a
loud voice, who is worthy to open the book, and
to loose the seals thereof? 3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither
under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.