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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. 4. And I wept much because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not : behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, 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. 7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; 10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; 12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14. And the four beasts said,
Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down, and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
, The fifth chapter contains an account of the sealed book, and of the circumstances connected with it. The vision still continuing, the Apostle “ saw on the right hand of him that sat on the “ throne a book written within, and on the back side o sealed with seven seals." In order to have a proper idea of this book, we are not to imagine that it resembled those which have been made since the invention of printing. The books of the ancients were generally skins of parchment rolled up; whence in Latin they are called volumina-volumes, or rolls. Frequent mention is made in the word of God of the « roll of the book.” The book, when opened for reading, was“ spread open:" when closed, it is called " the volume rolled up.” To form a just idea of this book, we are to imagine it written upon seven skins of parchment, upon one side. The first volume or part is rolled up, probably, on a roller of wood, and sealed on the back side, so that nothing can be read till the seal is loosed. The second is rolled upon the first, and sealed in like manner; and so on to the seventh. Here is a book, therefore, consisting of seven rolls or volumes, written throughout within, and sealed on the back side with seven seals. The words, “ on the back side,” are generally considered as referring to the sealing, rather than to the writing, as is implied by the punctuation in most of the editions of the English Bible. The term in the Greek is certainly ambiguous, and may perhaps refer to the writing. If the book, therefore, were written “ within and on the back side,” this circumstance would intimate the abundance of important matter contained in it. Perhaps, however, it may be objected, that if this were the case, it could not be all secret, which it is represented to be, till the seals were loosed. But to this it may be replied, that a few lines only could be read; or that a small part of the back side might be designedly left blank, for the purpose of concealing the whole. The book being thus sealed, was an emblem of the secret decrees and purposes of God; and shews that futurity is known only to the Deity. But the loosing of the seal of each of the parchments of which the volume was composed, was followed by a discovery of the contents of this part of the book. A mighty angel, as the Lord's herald to all creatures, inquired who was worthy, by his personal dignity or excellency, to open this book; but there was no one, either angel in heaven, or man upon earth, or spirit of man in the separate state, whose body lay under the earth, that could claim so high an honour. The ability to discover and make known the mind and purposes of God was beyond the power of any created existence. When the Apostle, who had been taken up to heaven, with earnest desires and expectations of hearing things which should come to pass in aftertimes, understood that no one could open the seals of this book, to read and reveal its contents, he wept much at his supposed disappointment. One of the elders observing his distress, addressed him saying, “ Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, “the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, “ and to loose the seven seals thereof." The Apostle, no doubt, knew who was meant by the Lion of the tribe of Juda, and he probably expected to see his Lord, in some majestic form, corresponding to the imagery; but instead of a Lion he saw a Lamb-a Lamb as it had been slain, yet invested with perfect authority, and possessing perfect knowledge; for “ he had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the “seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.”. This is a representation of the glorious Saviour in our nature as risen from the dead, and ascended to sit on the right hand of God, after having died for our sins. In consequence of the atonement he had made for human transgression, which the sacrificing
of spotless lambs had prefigured from the beginning of the world, he prevailed to open the book. The seven horns denote the universal and irresistible power of his providential kingdom, to protect his subjects and to annoy his enemies : and his seven eyes are emblematical of his omnipresence and omniscience. This divine Saviour approached to receive the book from the hand of Him who sat upon the throne. And now the whole Church of God, by their representatives, are described as falling down before the Lamb, and worshipping the incarnate Son as the Saviour of lost sinners: thus rendering him divine honours in the presence of the Father's manifested glory. “And they sung a new song, “ saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to “ open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and “ hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every “ kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; “ and hast made us unto our God kings and “ priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” While these adoring praises were rendered to the divine Saviour, by the representatives of the Church of redeemed sinners, the angels on this occasion cannot be silent; they likewise join the chorus :-“ And “I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels “ round about the throne, and the living creatures, “ and the elders : and the number of them was “ myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands ; “ saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb “ that was slain to receive power, and riches, and “ wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, “ and blessing.” Nor is the song confined to angels and saints in heaven, the whole creation joins in praising Him that sat upon the throne and the Lamb: all the inhabitants of heaven and earth, and the souls of those in the separate state, whose bodies were under the earth or in the sea - all creatures in the universe according to their several capacities, with the exception of none but the determined ene
inies of God, unite in a universal chorus, thundering through the arches of heaven, “ Blessing, and “ honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that “ sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for “ ever and ever.” The four living creatures, the representatives of the ininisters of the Church, who had begun the chorus, at every pause add their emphatic Amen; and the four-and-twenty elders, the representatives of the body of the Church in general, prostrate themselves in reverential adoration of Him who is unchangeably the “ same, yesterday, to-day, " and for ever.”—Is it possible that language can more explicitly declare the essential divinity of Christ? Is he not worshipped by all the angels and saints in heaven? And is it not evident that he ought to be worshipped and adored equally with the Father, by all creatures, to all eternity? Can any one, either of the angelic or human race, possibly join in the worship of heaven, who is not a worshipper of Christ?
This chapter reminds us how vain man's endeavours are to discover future events. They are sealed up from us in impenetrable secrecy. The circumstances of futurity must indeed be unknown to all creatures, except as far as God is pleased to reveal them. None but Christ is able to discover the least tittle in the book of futurity. But we need not weep at our ignorance; as the foresight of future events would unfit us both for our duties and conflicts in the world. But the incarnate Son of God hath prevailed to open the book of the divine decrees, and to communicate to us all the information that our circumstances require. We are taught from this portion of the Scripture, what apparently contradictory excellencies centre in the character of our divine Redeemer. How majestic and awful is his character as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to conquer his enemies and defend his people! how delightful and endearing; as the neek and spotless