« ZurückWeiter »
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846,
BY DAVID N. LORD, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.
I. THE INSPIRATION OF THE APOCALYPSE.
The Apocalypse is more eminently marked than any other part of the sacred writings, by the peculiarities which distinguish the works of inspiration from those of men ;-a truth and wisdom of thought, a suitableness to the attributes and prerogatives of God, a greatness and majesty, that could proceed only from the Omniscient.
I. These characteristics are seen in the annunciation of himself, which the Redeemer employed both in the first and the last vision, to raise the apostle to a sense of his deity. shaft of lightning from a midnight cloud, shedding illumination over a landscape, and raising the forms and relations of its objects into distinctuess, it flashes on us a gleam that reveals the ground within us on which the government of God is built, which is fully known only to him, and which men either fail to discover, or disown and wrap in darkness. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, First and Last, the Beginning and the End;"embracing in himself therefore all duration, and anteceding all other existences; their creator then, owner and ruler; and therefore almighty, all-wise, and all-good ;—the characteristics self-existence, eternity, omnipotence, rectitude, and the relations of creator-ascribed to him by the living creatures, chap. iv. 8, and that, on the one hand, are peculiar to him, and distinguish him above all others, alike from imaginary deities and from crealures; and that on the other, irresistibly impress the heart with the feeling of his rightful authority over it, and title to its homage. Our nature is such, that no one could hear an utterance like that from heaven, without an instinctive conviction that the Being whom it announces is God, and has the right of dominion.' They are attributes and relations that, by the law of our constitution, awaken in us a sense of subordination and responsibility. The employment of that annunciation to raise the apostle to a perception of his divinity, bespeaks accordingly a knowledge of
man and of God, that is not only never seen in the uninspired, but is not equalled in the thoughts which the prophets themselves have uttered, in their addresses to the Deity. Great and beautiful as the conceptions they sometimes express are, above those of other minds, they are limited and faint compared to these. They are the thoughts of mortals, illumined indeed and exalted by the inspiring Spirit; but these are the utterance of the Selfexistent himself
, conscious of the attributes and relations that peculiarly distinguish him, and aware of our moral nature, and the instruments that most powerfully excite in us a sensibility to his rights.
So far are men from having realized that these are the relations that most intimately and indissolubly connect us with him, and the thoughts that have the strongest hold of our moral sensibilities, that whether heathen or christian, philosophers or theologians, they have almost without exception, looked in a wholly different direction for the grounds of right, and the most effective considerations to impress the conscience,-to the sense of pleasure, to self-love, to gratitude, to expedience, to general utility, to prevalent opinion, to custom, to the will of the magistrate ; and when, in endeavoring to excite in their fellow-men a sense of duty, they have employed the considerations suggested by the Scriptures, it has often at least been without a perception of the grounds on which they were proceeding, and under the impulse of feeling, rather than the guidance of theory. The Redeemer, instead of descending to such inadequate and unsuitable means to raise a sense of his divinity, employs an instrument whose legitimacy our whole nature instantly acknowledges; proclaims his self-existence, eternity, omnipotence, and relations as creator and preserver, and builds on the foundation on which the fabric of his government rests, and is to rest throughout its everlasting years, and displays therein a perfection of intelligence and rectitude that belongs only to God.
A similar adaptation and greatness mark the expression which he employed in announcing himself to the apostle as the incarnate Word. “I am the First, and the Last, and the Living. I was dead, and I live for evermore, and have the keys of death and the grave;" conceptions that in vastness and sublimity immeasurably surpass any to which uninspired mortals ever ascended, -extreme and opposite characters and prerogatives, self-existence and mortality, captivity to death, and dominion over it and the bodies of the dead, that were never together predicable of any but Jesus Christ. Nothing in the whole circle of the ad