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النشر الإلكتروني

Jacob, the fathers of that nation. The national state of that people was then in its infancy ; the wheel then began to rise from the ground, and it rose to the height in Solomon's time, when the temple was built, and Solomon's kingdom in its greatest prosperity, which was about the middle of the space between the birth and calling of Abraham and Christ, and the destruction of Jerusalem; thenceforward they declined in numbers, and wealth, and strength, until they came to the ground again, when Christ came, and Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Their state, with respect to their ecclesiastical constitution, began in Moses, the first prophet, and came to the height in Isaiah's time, that most evangelical prophet, who lived about the middle of the space between Moses and Christ, and came to the ground again in Christ's time. Il was with the Jewish state, in this respect, as it is with the life of man, which I before showed was as the revolution of a wheel that began at the ground, and gradually rose to the height, and then gradually came to the ground again. So it is with kingdoms and empires; their state and course are very much like the revolution of a wheel, beginning at the ground, and rising to the height, and coming to the ground again. So it was with the four great monarchies of the world, and so it is with the reign of Antichrist, and the continuance of the Mahometan empire, and other states and kingdoms; and when one nation or kingdom comes to the ground, another comes to the greatest height, that before was at the ground, as it is with the different parts of a wheel in motion. The space of time from Christ to the end of the world, is as the revolution of a great wheel. In the beginning of it Christ comes into the world, and the wicked Jews were judged at the destruction of Jerusalem, and after them the wicked heathen world, in Constantine's time, and the old world comes to an end, and the church's glory follows, and then things in the Christian church gradually sink, until they come to the ground in the darkest times of Antichrist, and then gradually rise again until Christ comes again and judges the world, and destroys the church's enemies, and destroys the old heavens and earth, and then the church's glory follows.

The whole series of things through the age of the world may be represented as a wheel of various rings one within another, and some less than others : each one going round but once, the lesser ones finishing their revolution soonest, and each beginning at the creation of the old heavens and earth, which, in some respects had different beginnings; one when Adam was created ; another in Noah's time; the settling of the world after the building of Babel, and another at the establishment of the Jewish

And the revolution of each wheel ends in an end of the world, and a day of judgment, and a creation of new heavens and a new earth; the last wheel finishes its revolution at the coming of Christ, and the destruction of Jerusalem, and overthrow of the heatheo empires that followed, when the world, in a sense, came to an end, and there was a day of judgment. This began at the creation of the Jewish state in the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and Joshua, and the total apostacy of the Gentile world to heathenism. The next wheel, which is larger, began its revolution at Noah's coming out of the ark, and the building of Babel, and the dispersing of the nations, and the settling the world from thence; which is, as it were, another beginning of the world, and ends at the destruction of Antichrist, or the spiritual Babylon, and Satan's visible kingdom on earth, (which hegan in the building of Babel,) and the commencing of the glorious times of the church. This is another end of the world, and day of judgment, and building of the new heavens and new earth. The third and greatest wheel begins its revolution at the creation, and finishes it at Christ's second coming to judge the world, and destroy heaven and earth, in a literal sense.

state.

Every wheel, or every revolution, begins and proceeds from God, and returns to God; as in Ezekiel's vision God is represented as appearing above the wheels, so that to him they continually returned. God remarkably appears both in the beginning and ending of each of these wheels that bave been mentioned, especially in those that respect the state of the church of God. As to human things, however, such as human kingdoms, and einpires, they rise from the earth, and return to the ground again; but spiritual things begin their revolution from God on high, and thither they return again.

The changes that are in the world with respect to the profession of the trutlı, and rise and fall of beresies, is very much like the motion of wheels, they rise and fall, and rise and fall again.

These wheels, in this vision, are represented as God's chariot wheels. The world is the chariot of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in which he makes bis progress to that glory; that glorious marriage with bis spouse, that eternal feast, that everlasting kingdom of rest, and love, and joy, which the Father hath designed him.

What Ezekiel there saw was designed to represent God's chariot, in which God rode, and those wheels are the wheels of his chariot, and God, who sat on bis throne above the firmament, over these wheels and cherubim, is represented as on the seat in which he rides, and makes progress with the wheels and cherubin). God came to Ezekiel to speak to him, and gave him his mission on this chariot, and is so represented in the first chapter. In the second and third chapters we have an account of what he said to him from this seat. In the 12th and 13th verses of the jii. chapter, we have an account of his departure when he had done speaking with him, which was with a great rustling and noise of the wings of the cherubim, and the noise of the wheels. God rode on these cherubim as those that drew his chariot, as it is said, Ps. xviii. 10, “ He rode on a cherub, and did ly.” And Ps. Ixviii. 17, “ The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels." And therefore God, in being in that chariot drawn by these cherubiin, is said to be upon the cherub. Ezek. ix. 3. “And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house;" and God appeared about to leave the temple, and his glory departed from off the threshold into this same chariot Chap. x. 18, with the foregoing verses; and then it is said the cherubim list up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in his sight; and the wheels also went beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was ov er them above; and after this, chap. xi. 22, 23, God is represented as departing in this manner up out of the midst of the city, ascending up to the top of mount Olivet, being about from thence to ascend into heaven, from whence this same person afterwards ascended after his resurrection. (See Note on that verse.) And when it was represented in vision to Ezekiel how God would asterwards return to the city and temple in those happy days that were to come, he is represented as returning in the same manner, chap. xliii. 2, 3, 4.

This chariot represents the world, which is confirmed by this, that one part of it is called the firmament, which was the upper part, but yet the pavement of it, above which was the seat of God, who sat and rode in that chariot, agreeably to Deut. xxxiii.

“Who rideth upon the heaven in thine help, and in his excellency on the sky;" and to Ps. Ixviii. 4, * Extol bim that rideth upon the heaven of heavens, which were of old.” God appeared here on the same pavement as he appeared to the seventy elders on mount Sinai. (See Notes on Exod. xxiv. 10.) What is signified by the wheels which were under the firmament, but above ug upon the earth, is, God's providence in this visible world, especially representing mankind that dwell on the earth.

Christ was the person that appeared riding in this chariot, as is confirmed from that, that he appeared in the likeness of a man, ver. 26 ; and also from the description that is given of his appearance. (See Note on ver. 27)

This chariot is drawn on those wheels by the four animals, which denote God's power, wisdom, justice, and mercy, and all proceed on feet like a call's foot, because the great work of providence, that is as it were the sum of all providences, is that work of mercy, the work of redemption.

26,

Corol. Hence I would argue, that the affairs of heaven have doubtless great respect to the affairs of this lower world, and God's providence here; and that the church in heaven, as to the progress it makes in its state of glory and blessedness, keeps pace with the church on earth ; that the glory of both is advanced 10gether. These great dispensations of providence, by which glorious things are brought to pass for the church on earth, are accompanied with like advances made at the same time in the church in heaven. And also that the affairs of the church in heaven, have some way or other a dependence on God's providence towards his church on earth, and that their progress is dependent on the progress of things in God's providence towards his church bere. For heaven and earth are both framed together. It is the same chariot, one part has relation to another, and is connected with another, and is all moved together; the motion of one part depends on the motion of the other; the upper part moves on the wheels of ibe lower part, for heaven is the room and seat of the chariot that is above the firmament that moves on the wheels that are under the firmament, and that go upon the earth ; when these wheels are moved by the cherubim, then the upper part nioves; when they stop that stops, and wherever the wheels go that goes. It is on these wheels that Christ, the King of heaven, in his throne in heaven, makes progress to the final issue of all things. It is in the wheels of his providence that move on earth, that he in bis throne in heaven makes progress towards the ultimate end of the creation of both heaven and earth, and the ultimate end of all the affairs of both; for this is the end of the journey of the whole chariot, both wheels and throne, for both are moving towards the same journey's end. And the motion of all is by the wheels on earth; and if so, doubtless it is on these wheels that all the inhabitants of heaven, both saints and angels, are carried towards their ultimate end; for all are Christ's family, they are either his servants and attendants in the affair of redemption, which is the grand movement of the wheels, and are the ministers that draw the wheels, or are his members and parts of his body.

This therefore confirms that the saints and angels in heaven do make progress in knowledge and happiness, by what they see of God's works on earth. We know that all the happiness of the saints in heaven is entirely dependent on those great things that Cbrist did on earth, in the work of redemption, as it was purchased by it; and there is reason to think that their knowledge and glory is in other respects, by what they see of these great works of providence which God carries on in the world in the prosecution of the grand design of redemption.

[393] Ezek. i. 4. “And I looked, and behold, a whirlwind come out of the north, and a great cloud and a fire, infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof, as the colour of amber, out of the inidst of the fire.” This that was here seen by Ezekiel was the Shechinah, or the symbol and representation of the Deity.

Here is a cloud and fire as God appeared in the wilderness, as in a pillar of cloud and fire. Ps. xviii. 11. “His pavilion round about him were dark waters and ibick clouds of the skies." And Ps. xcvii. 2. “Clouds and darkness are round about him.” And there was a whirlwind, which was an usual symbol of the divine presence, as Job xxxviii. 1. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind ;" so again Job xl. 6, and Nahum i. 3, “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and the storm."

The fire that appeared, which did in a special manner represent the divine Essence, is said to be a fire infolding itself, or catching itself, as it is in the margin, or receiving, or taking itself into its own bosom; which represents the action of the Deity towards itself, in the action of the persons of the Trinity towards each other. The Godhead is perceived only by perceiving the Son and the Spirit, for no man bath seen God at any time; he is seen by his image, the Son, and is felt by the Holy Spirit, as fire is perceived only by its light and heat, seen by one, and felt by the other. Fire, by its light represents the Son of God, and by its heat the Holy Spirit. God is light, and he is love. This light, in the manner of the subsisting of the Father and the Son, shines on itself: it receives its own brightness into its own bosom. The Deity, in the generation of the Son, shines forth with infinite brightness towards itself, and in the manner of the proceeding of the Holy Ghost, it receives all its own heat into its own bosom, and burus with infinite heat towards itself. The flames of divine love are received and infolded into the bosom of the Deity.

It is the nature of all other fire to go out of itself, as it were to fly from itself, and hastily to dissipate. The flames are continually going forth from the midst of the fire towards the exterior air, but this fire receives itself into its own bosom. Ezekiel saw this cloud of glory and fire infolding, or taking in itself, before be saw the chariot of God, the cherubim and wheels, and firmament and throne, and the appearance of a man above upon it, which came out of that cloud and fire; and therefore this fire, infolding itself, does especially represent the Deity before the creation of the world, or before the beginning of the being of this chariot with its wheels, when all God's acts were only towards himself, for then there was no other being but He.

This appeared coming out of the north, from whence usually came whirlwinds in that country, and possibly because in the north is the empty place. The chariot of the world came forth out of nothing.

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