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of the throne, and round about the throne, that is before and behind the throne, and on each fide of the throne, were four beafts or rather four living creatures, (wa) reprefenting the heads of the whole congregation in the four quarters of the world, and refembling the Cherubim and Seraphim in Ezekiel's and Ifaiah's vifions, (Ezek. I. 10. X. 14. If. VI. 2, 3.) or rather resembling the four standards or enfigns of the four divifions in the camp of Ifrael, according to the (8) traditionary description of them by Jewish writers. The first living creature was like a lion, (ver. 7.) which was the ftandard of Judah with the two other tribes in the eaftern divifion; and the fecond like a calf or ox, which was the ftandard of Ephraim with the two other tribes in the western divifion; and the third had a face as a man, which was the ftandard of Reuben with the two other tribes in the fouthern divifion; and the fourth was like a flying eagle, which was the ftandard of Dan with the two other tribes in the northern divifion: and this traditionary description agrees alfo with the four faces of the Cherub in Ezekiel's vifions. Of these living creatures and of the elders the conftant employment (ver. 8-11.) is to celebrate, in hymns
quoted by Mr. Med. p. 417.
hymns of praise and thanksgiving, the great and wonderful works of creation and providence.
AND I faw in the right hand of him
that fat on the throne, a book written within and on the backfide, fealed with feven feals.
2 And I faw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the feals 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 becaufe no man was found worthy to open, and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders faith unto me, Weep not behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loofe the feven feals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beafts, and in the midst of the elders ftood a Lamb, as it had been slain, having feven horns, and
feven eyes, which are the feven fpirits of God fent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that fat 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 faints.
9 And they fung a new fong, faying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the feals thereof: for thou waft flain, and haft redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ;
10 And haft made us unto our God kings and priefts: and we fhall reign on the earth.
II 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 thoufands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was flain, to receive power, and
and riches, and wisdom, and ftrength, and honour, and glory, and bleffing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and fuch as are in the fea, and all that are in them, heard I, faying, Bleffing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that fitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beafts faid, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Future events are fuppofed by St. John, as well as by Daniel and other prophets, in a beautiful figure, to be registered in a book, for the greater certainty of them. This book (ver. 1.) is in the right hand of God, to denote that as he alone directs the affairs of futurity, fo he alone is able to reveal them. This book, thro' the abundance of the matter, was (9) written within and on the backfide; as the roll of the book, which was spread before Ezekiel,. (II. 10.) was written within and without. It was alfo fealed, to fignify that the decrees of God are inscrutable,
(9) So in Juvenal Sat. I. 5.
-fummi plena jam margine libri,
and fealed with feven feals, referring to fo many fignal periods of prophecy. In fhort we fhould conceive of this book, that it was fuch an one as the ancients ufed, a volume or roll of a book, or more properly a volume confifting of seven volumes, so that the opening of one feal laid open the contents only of one volume. All creatures are challenged (ver. 2.) to open the book, and to loofe the feals thereof. But (ver. 3.) no one (des) in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, neither angels, nor men, nor departed fpirits, were any of them qualified to comprehend and communicate the fecret purposes of God. St. John wept much (ver. 4.) at the fad disappointment: but who now is concerned or grieved, that he cannot understand thefe prophecies? However he is comforted (ver. 5.) with an affurance, that ftill there was one who had power and authority to reveal and accomplish the counsels of God. The Son of God, and he alone, was found worthy to be the great revealer and interpreter of his Father's oracles; (ver. 6, &c) and he obtained this privilege by the merits of his fufferings and death. Whereupon the whole church, (ver. 8, &c) and all angels, (ver. 11, &c) and all creatures (ver. 13, &c)
Scriptus et in tergo, necdum finitus Oreftes.