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of Manasseh is retained, and thus the promise to Joseph that he should have two tribes in Israel is verified. The order of primogeniture is neglected, nor is any regard paid to the children of the free woman above those of the bond woman, as all are alike in Christ Jesus.
The number of the sealed evidently includes all real Christians, and shews us that not one of them shall escape the notice and approbation of God. This representation of the people of God, in allusion to the twelve tribes of Israel, may perhaps be intended to teach us a lesson of candour, and to shew us that he will accept and seal real Christians of all sects and denominations. At least the circumstance may be suitably accommodated to impress such a lesson upon our minds. Who will venture to assert that any division of the visible Church of Christ is exclusively modelled upon the standard of perfection? Or who will aver that any such external standard in every particular is given: Let this consideration, therefore, taken in connexion with the state of the Church of Christ, as it exists in fact teach its members, mutual charity and forbearance. It becomes the children of God to divest themselves of that bigotry which inclines some men to consider no others as Christians but those who belong to their church. The true Christian will love all that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. He will see that imperfections exist in every division of the visible Church. He will acknowledge also that every part of the building, which in its essentials is erected upon the foundation laid by Christ and his Apostles, contains those who are members of Christ, children “ of God, and heirs of heaven." Let us then love as brethren all those whom God receives as his children; and while we look back with satisfaction on the grand simplicity of the apostolic Church, let us look forward with hope and exultation to the glorious
period, when the Church of Christ will again be one in faith, and hope, and love.
9. After this Í beheld, and, lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. ll. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders, and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12. Saying, Amen : blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest: and he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: 15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat : 17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead then unto living fountains of waters ; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
From verse 9th to the conclusion of the chapter is given a view of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, who, during the preceding persecutions, had overcome and been received into glory. The whole of this description, and the expressions here used, are vastly too strong and magnificent to be applied to any state of the Church on earth. The vision is evidently a representation of the happy state of those who, during the preceding calamities, and from the commencement of Christianity, had been faithful unto death; for, though they had been slain, or otherwise removed by death, they gained an infinite advantage by their transition from the scenes of misery to the realms of perfect felicity. This seems to be one reason why they are here introduced: another may be, that the sealed servants of God, who were yet on earth, and who had still many trials to pass through, might, by a view of their happy end, be encouraged to follow their blessed example. The multitude of these glorified saints was so large that no man could number them. The hundred and forty-four thousand, who were sealed as the spiritual members of the church militant on earth, however numerous, were a limited number; but the saints who now formed the church triumphant in heaven, collected from all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues known in those days, are represented as so numerous that it exceeded the power of man to reckon them up, so as to give their aggregate sum. This affords us enlarged ideas concerning the number of real Christians that lived previously to the period when the Roman empire became professedly Christian. Great multitudes during this time lived in humble and obedient faith, altogether unknown to history. Every one of this countless multitude stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, as washed from their sins, and as being perfectly justified and sanctified, and completely happy in their heavenly inheritance: they had been engaged in long conflict and warfare, and having come off as conquerors through Him that loved them, they carried palm-branches, the well-known emblems of victory and joy. Being put in possession of this complete and everlasting salvation, in respect to their souls, they ascribed their felicity in no degree to themselves, or to their own wisdom, strength, labours, or sufferings. On the contrary, they gave the whole glory of their deliverance from sin, sorrow, death, and hell, to Him who sat on
the throne, their gracious, reconciled, and covenant God and Father, and to the great Redeemer, the Lamb that was slain to expiate sin, and to procure that salvation, which is in him with eternal glory. While these redeemed sinners stood immediately before the throne on this occasion, leading the worship of heaven, and ascribing salvation to God and the Lamb; the angels rejoicing in the felicity of the redeemed, and in the glory of God, as resulting from their salvation, stood without the circle made by the representatives of the Church and its ministering servants, and added their cordial Amen to the praises of the “ general assembly and “ church of the first born." They then shewed their delight in these solemn and rapturous adorations of God, and joining in the same worship, they exclaimed, “ Amen; blessing, and glory, and wis“ dom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, “ and might, be unto our God for ever and ever, * Amen." This doxology being connected with their consent to the praises rendered to God and the Lamb, clearly shews us that these glorious and exalted beings “honour the Son even as they honour “the Father." Ho The scene thus presented to St. John in vision related to events which were not accomplished till more than two centuries afterwards, namely, in the time of Constantine. But while the Apostle was thus receiving prophetical instruction respecting future events, one of the elders, as one of the representatives of the universal Church, inquired of him whether he knew who this great multitude of happy beings were, or whence they came. But the Apostle does not presume to say what he thought they were, whether men or angels; nor to offer any opinion as to whence they came: but he respectfully replied, that he was persuaded the elder well knew, intimating his desire of information concerning them. The beloved disciple was then shewn that they were per