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ceeded to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.” The whole of this description is evidently mystical': and so also is that which follows, with regard to the splendour and beauty of the building; which appears to be borrowed from a parallel passage of Isaiah, in which he describes the future glories of the Christian Church, the new Jerusalem, and at the same time adds the spiritual meaning of this gorgeous description of its resplendent beauty :
Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children?.”
3. The prophet then proceeds in the description of this splendid vision: "and I saw,” he observes, “no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” This will be the peculiar glory of the Millennial Church, that the whole Church will be the temple of God and of the Lamb; and that light, which only dwelt typically in the earthly sanctuary, will dwell really amongst See Doddridge ad locum.
Comp. John iv. 21–24.
Isai. Liv. 11-13.
men ; so that the Church will really behold the fulfilment of the promise which God made by the Prophet Isaiah: The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory'. Moreover, Isaiah, prophesying of the future glories of the Church of the Redeemer, had declared, that the glory of the Lord should rise upon it,—that, though darkness should cover the earth, and gross darkness the people, yet that the Lord should rise upon her, and the glory of the Lord should be seen upon her: and that the Gentiles should come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising";—that the sons of strangers should build up her walls, and their kings should minister unto her; that her gates should be open continually; they should not be shut day nor night; that men might bring unto them the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings might be brought";
—that into the holy city, the new Jerusalem, there should no
more come the uncircumcised and the unclean”. St John, in the full spirit of Christian prophecy, declares of the pure and glorious Church of the Redeemer, the heavenly Jerusalem, that the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour unto it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh
Isai. lx. 19. 6 lb. lx. 10, 11.
5 lb. Lx.1-3. 7 Ib. lii. l. .
a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
4. The beauty and the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem has been already exhibited to the prophet under the figure of a bride, arrayed in heavenly splendour, adorned for her husband; and of a city, all-glorious in celestial light, descending from heaven. It is now exhibited to him under images drawn from the earthly Paradise, the faint resemblances of the never-failing blessings and glories of the Paradise of God. And he shewed me, says the prophet, a pure river of water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month : and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Under the same image was the future progress of the Gospel represented to Ezekiel, when, in his vision, he beheld the waters issuing forth from under the eastern porch of the Temple, and carrying healing and life with them in their course; and by the river upon the bank thereof, upon this side and upon that side, it was declared that there should grow all trees for meat,
all trees for meat, whose leaf should not fade, neither should the fruit thereof be consumed: it should bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof should be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine! Under the same image also was it foretold by Joel, when he declared that waters should go forth of the house of the Lord, and water the valley of Shittim; and
1 Ezek. xLvii. 1-12.
by Zechariah, that “ living waters should go forth from Jerusalem: And the Lord should be king over all the earth: and in that day there should be one Lord, and his name one?.” Under these lively and affecting images were shadowed forth to the prophets of old the future mercies of the Gospel dispensation. But St John, to whom was vouchsafed a nearer view of the mysteries of redemption, beheld the river of life proceeding immediately from the throne of God and of the Lamb; and the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, and whose fruit is able to nourish the faithful believer to eternal life. In that blessed state, in which the religion of the Redeemer will reign triumphant upon earth, and the power of the great enemy of God and man will be confined to his infernal prison, the sublime anticipations of prophecy, with regard to the blessings and the triumphs of the Gospel, will be realized as far as they can be on this side eternity. In that state there shall be no more curse : but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Such then is the description which we derive from a comparison of this sublime and interesting prophecy, with the corresponding prophecies of the Old Testament, of the future glories and triumphs of the Gospel upon earth,—bearing all the marks of a Christian prophecy, which the ancient prophecies
2 Joel iii. 18; Zech. xiv. 8, 9.
do of belonging to the former dispensation ; and reflecting the light of that better and more spiritual dispensation to which it belongs. But the station which it occupies in this book, no less than the language and the spirit of the prophecy itself,— which cannot be satisfied by any condition of religion, however prosperous, in this world,—evidently points to some higher fulfilment in that blessed state, when the frame of this visible world shall be replaced by new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. As was remarked in the beginning of this prophecy, the language which is used with regard to the new heavens and new earth; the presence of God and of the Lamb in that blissful state; the splendour of the heavenly city; the removal of every curse; the eternal banishment of sin and sorrow from that state of perfect happiness; and the glorious light in which the righteous shall dwell and reign for evermore; rising far beyond the most sublime ideas which we can conceive of any future triumphs of religion in this world; evidently direct our thoughts to those glorious and eternal rewards which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man to conceive, which God hath prepared for them that love him?; and to that blessed state, in which those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, shall be before the throne of God, and shall serve him day and night in his temple : and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them; and they shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more ; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them,
11 Cor. ii. 9.