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258 Solemn worship of the Church. [LECT. prayers prevailing with Him by their perfect and heavenly unity'. And that which St. John beheld in vision,-in the offering up of those prayers with much incense, ascending from the altar with a sweet savour to the Most High-seems like the counterpart

, of that prophecy of Malachi which, in the early times of the Church, was recognized as then receiving its fulfilment in the solemn service of her sanctuary? The prediction is the more closely parallel, inasmuch as it occurs in immediate connexion with the declaration, that the sacrifices and offerings of the Jewish temple should no more be accepted. “I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your

For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense

hand.

1 Vid. Ignatii Epistt. passim. their pastors and teachers, as -E.g. Ep. ad Ephes. c. 5. an express and undoubted pro“Let no man deceive himself; phecy of the Christian Sacriif a man be not within the altar

fice or solemn worship in the [Avola otnplov, as in St. John's Eucharist, taught by our Blessvision], he is deprived of the ed Saviour unto His disciples bread of God. For if the prayer to be observed of all that should of one or two be of such force, believe in His name : and this (as we are told) how much more so generally and grantedly, as powerful shall that of the bishop could never have been, at least and the whole Church be !" so early, unless they had learnEp. ad Magnes. c. 7. “ Where- ed thus to apply it by tradition fore come ye altogether as unto from the Apostles. one temple of God; as to one “For in the age immediately altar [Ovolaorýplov], as to one succeeding them, ... we find Jesus Christ.”—Wake's trans- it alleged to this purpose by lation. Cf. Epist. ad Trall. Justin Martyr and Irenæus, c. 7, &c.

Vid. Note, Ap- the pillars of that age ; the pendix.

former of them flourishing 2 “ This place of Scripture within little more than thirty was once, and that in the

years after the death of St. eldest and purest times of the John, and the latter a disciple Church, a text of eminent note, of Polycarp, St. John's scholar.” and familiarly known to every -Mede's Works, p. 355. Christian, being alleged by

,

3 "

IX.]
Its troubles commencing.

259 shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering : for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts 3. And again, having foretold the coming of the great Angel of the covenant to His temple, the same prophet declares concerning Him,—" he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former

4

years 4.”

5

6 The

But the peaceful scene of pure and holy worship represented in the vision before us, was soon to change, and troubles and warfare to follow. angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it to the earth; and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” We are here reminded of the imagery in a vision of the prophet Ezekiel, to which we have already had occasion to refer. I allude to that symbolic description of the vengeance to be inflicted on Jerusalem by the arms of the Chaldeans, in the vision in which the prophet saw six men, each with a slaughter weapon in his hand, who “ came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north,”—the direction in which Babylon lay,—“and went in and stood beside the brazen altar;" and one among them “clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side,” who was bidden first to go through the city,

3 Mal. i. 10, 11.

αγίων ψυχών αναθυμιώμενος 4 Mal. iii. 3, 4.

“ He speaks not of the - Mede, p. 362, quoting, private prayer of every Chris

5 , inter alios, Clemens Alexand. tian, but of the public prayer lib. 7. Stromat.-'H Ovoia tñs of the Church as a body," &c. εκκλησίας λόγος εστίν από των Marg. E. V.

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260
Vision of Ezekiel,

[LECT. and set a mark upon the foreheads of the faithful remnant, before those other ministers of destruction were to go forth and slay in the sanctuary and in the city. I referred to this passage, in the last Lecture', in illustration of the description given by St. John of the angel sealing the chosen remnant of Israel before they“ to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea” were suffered to execute their commission. And the two passages will appear the more closely parallel when it is observed, that though, in the seventh chapter, we read of “the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,” yet when, in the chapter before us, four angels have sounded, the first of whom inflicts judgments upon the earth, and the second upon the sea, two more trumpets succeed, following on those four; the six angels thus appearing for their work of vengeance, like the six armed men in the prophet's vision. And when at length the seventh angel sounds, a scene is opened, in the further unfolding of which we are reminded of the sequel of Ezekiel's vision, and of the agency there described of the seventh of that company whom he saw, namely, the man clothed with linen.

For, having first described the slaughter made in the city by the six armed men, the prophet tells us of the seventh,“the man clothed with linen, which

had the inkhorn by his side,”—that he re-appeared before the presence of the Divine glory, and reported the execution of the commission given him, saying, “ I have done as thou hast commanded me.” 6. Then I looked,” says the prophet, “and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims

? Vid. sup. p. 241.

IX.] illustrating that of St. John. 261 there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight. . . . And it came to pass that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out 8.” If now we turn to the Revelation, we find the sounding of the seventh angel followed immediately by the announcement of a fuller manifestation of that supreme Sovereignty and dominion which, as I have already endeavoured to show, was symbolically represented by the living creatures, or cherubim. “ The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned'.And then immediately afterwards is disclosed the view of that ark of the covenant which, as we have seen, with its over

ever.

9

6

Ezek. ix. 11; x. 1–7.

9 Rev. xi. 15-17.

262 The Seven Trumpets and Vials [LECT. shadowing cherubim, represented the throne of the Divine Majesty. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and

1 "

great hail?

The vision here breaks off; but we find it renewed and continued, the same scenery re-appearing, where, in the fifteenth chapter, St. John proceeds to describe the pouring out of the seven last plagues. “ After that,” he says, “I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures”—the same, as we have before seen, with the cherubim in Ezekiel's vision—"gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever 2." Here, then, the vials of wrath, as there the burning coals of fire, both alike the symbol of judgments proceeding from the throne of God,—are given by one of the four living creatures into the hand of those whose immediate agency is employed in the execution of vengeance. And the seven angels “clothed in pure and white linen,” to whom is given the infliction of the last plagues,—those plagues in which“ is filled up the wrath of God,”-seem to correspond with the “man clothed with linen” in Ezekiel's vision, by whose agency is completed that work of destruction which the slaughter-weapons of the six armed men had begun :. For the sword of the warrior was not

3

.

1 Ver. 19.

2

Chap. xv. 5—7.

3 Cf. sup. pp. 174, 175.

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