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Now I would have the reader to understand, that all these four beasts spoken of here, they were men, though they be called by the Revelation of John, beasts.
Also he doth distinguish them into four several forms ; the first like a lion, the second like a calf, the third beast had a face like a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
These four beasts, as I said before, were all men, and not only so, but good men ; only this I would have the reader to mind that they are called beasts, in relation to the work that they were to do.
And so they acted after that manner as such beasts use to do.
Now the third beast had a face like a man, that is, he acted as a rational man, by wisdom and policy.
And the fourth beast was like a flying eagle, that is, he acted in swiftness and strength, and according to other properties that are in an eagle.
And so according to the natures and properties of these four beasts did men act, and do act in this world ; therefore called four beasts, when as they were no other but men.
But I shall leave the distinction of the persons of the other three to the that are better read in histories than I am.
Neither is it revealed unto me who the persons were; therefore I shall speak no more than is revealed unto me; but the reader may understand what the four beasts are, by what is afore-written, therefore I shall say no more of it, but go unto verse 8.
N verse 8. it is said, That the four beasts bad each of them fix wings about
them, and they were full of eyes within, and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, boly, boly Lord God Almighty, which was, and which is, and which is to come.
The chief things in this verse to be known, are what is meant by those fix wings which the four beasts had, which were full of eyes within.
The meaning is this, that each of these four beasts had Gx wings, that is they had six wings apiece.
And these fix wings apiece, it was the spirit of revelation which gave them wisdom, to order and manage the affairs of their battles.
And these fix wings were employed thus ;
And two of them were to be employed in the rear, or hinder part of the army, least the enemy should come upon the back of them.
And the other two wings were to be employd in the middle, that in case their enemy should put them to the worst both before and behind, that they might fly away with those two wings in the midst.
And this was very good revelation and wisdom, and called by the Revelation of John, fix wings;
For the scriptures doth call' revelation and good counsel, wings; as that saying, Revel. xii. 14. it is said, There was given unto the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness.
Which wings were no other but Revelation, as I have opened in the Interpretation of the Eleventh of the Revelation.
And where we find in the scriptures that God hath commanded his prophets and apostles to fly from one place to another, in case of persecution, it is not meant that God would give them wings to fly.
But he will give them wisdom and revelation to get from it.
And as for their being full of eyes within, that is, they had a spirit of discerning both of spiritual and of temporal things.
Therefore it is faid, that these four beafts full of eyes before and behind, that is, thay had the eye of faith before, and the eye of reason behind.
That is, they did discern by the eye of faith before, the things of God, and how he became flesh, and shed his blood, as afterwards is expressed by these four beasts.
And the eye of reason being behind, it did discern and see how the matters went in this world. • For tho' it be said they were full of eyes, yet they had but two eyes apiece, that is, the eye of faith, and the eye of reason. But neither of these two eyes did offend them, as it doth many thousands now adays. 3 And because the feed of faith may not stumble at this interpretation, because I say there were but two eyes, when as John faith they were full of eyes.
You may remember that I have written before concerning the seven fpirits of God, and yet but one spirit.
Only that one spirit had feven feverál workings in the seven churches of Asia.
So likewise these beasts having but two eyes, yet they were full of discerning both of spiritual and temporal matters.
: For the eye of faith did see up into heaven, and the glory thereof; and the суе of reason did see the utmost parts of this world here below.
For these two eyes did see as much as could be feen ; if they had had forty eyes, they could have seen no more.
But in regard they did see so much, they are said by the revelation of the fpirit, that they were full of eyes 'before and behind, &c.
Again it is said, That these four beasts reft not day and night, saying Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
That is, they cease not to give glory, honour, and thanks to him that fate on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever.
I would have the feed of faith to observe, that these four beasts give glory and honour unto Christ here, as he was God the Father.
As Ifaiah vi. 3. where it is said, And one cryed one to another, and said, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. D 2
Likewise the four and twenty elders fall down before him that fate on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crown's before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and poder, for thou hast created all thimgs, and for thy pleasure they are and were created, Revelations iv. 10. II.
Here you may see that the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders give glory unto Christ the only God, as he was the Creator, and in the condition of the Father.
He being the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Hofts, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last; he that liveth for ever and ever, in that death could not keep him under, as aforesaid.is cho
But in chap. v. the four and twenty elders give glory unto this Christ, the only God, as he is a Son, and hath redemed them, and to doth the four beasts also.
And as for the four and twenty elders, I shall say nothing of them here, because I have spoken of them in the Interpretation of the eleventh Chapter of the Revelation.
So I having given the interpretation of the chief things in chap. iv. of John's Revelation, I shall go unto chapter v. and give the interpretation of the chief things in that also,
* H A P. XI...
N chap. v. verse 1. John faw in the right band of him that fate on the throne, a
book written within, and on the back side fealed with seven seals. Why doth John say he saw in the right hand of him that fate upon the throne a book written within, and fealed' on the back fide with seven feals, when as he that fate on the throne was no other but God, the Creator of all things?
And Jesus Christ is he that created the world, and all things therein, as aforesaid?
And yet he that had the book in his right hand, was not to open the book, nor to loose the seals thereof.
The meaning is this, that Christ Jesus as he was God the Father, and Creator of all things, it was not his proper place and work to open the book with seven Seals;
For it doth belong to him, as he is God the Redeemer.
For, as I said before, God did, and doth act according to the two-fold state and condition he was in.
So that he had the book of life in his right hand, as he was God the Creator ; but as he is God the Redeemer, he must take the book out of his own right hand, and open it, and loose the feals thereof.
For John in his vision did see Christ to fit upon the thorne, as he was God the Father, and the Creator.
Also in his vision he saw Christ fit upon the throne, as he was God the Son, and as he suffered death, and so redeemed mankind.
And in like manner he and the elders give thanks and praise unto him, as he is the Creator.
And sometimens they give thanks unto him all together, as he is the Redeemer.
Yet all but one God, however it doth seem by John's vision, as if there were two, when as it is spoken with relation to a two-fold state and condition in God.
But who can understand but the feed of faith?
Therefore I would not have the seed of faith to stumble at these sayings of John, which doth here and there speak as if there were two Gods.
But consider, he speaks it but by way of vision, and all visions can never be understood fo clear and plain as interpretation is.
For I am certain that John did believe in no other God but one, even Jesus Christ the only wise God, blessed for ever and ever, though spoken of with relation to a two-fold condition, as I have shewed before.
This book which was in Christ's right hand, as he was God the Father, I declare it was the book of life, wherein was written the names of all the elect seed of all the seven churches of Asia, and of all the elect seed of the seven churches of Europe.
I say, the elect" seed are all written in that book of life which is in Christ's right hand, and the seven seals, on the back side of this book, they were the feven visible churches of Asia
That is, they were sealed up by the doctrine and faith of the gospel ; they received the holy spirit of promise, whereby they were sealed in their souls with the the holy spirit of promise, that they were redeemed unto eternal happiness, by the blood of the Lamb.
And this I say, that the witness of the spirit of faith, in the conscience here in mortality, it is but a sealing up to the day of glory. .
Therefore what assurance, witness, or sealing foever a man hath in his soul, in this life, it is called by the Revelation of John, but a seal on the back side of the book of life.
For those seven churches of Asia were sealed with the holy spirit of promise, in that they believed the doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection, and fo they were scaled in their hearts with the assurance of eternal life, their names being written within the book of life.
And because there were seven churches of Asia, which did truly believe, and were sealed in their souls with the assurance of everlasting life, They are called seven seals on the back side of the book
of life. For all sealing of this side of death, it is called but sealing on the back side of the book of life.
For it is much like unto a book or letter, the matter and substance is within the letter or book, but the seal is without, or on the back side :
But he that breaketh open the seal of the letter or book, he feeth what is within.
So is it with Christ, he having the book of life in his right hand, wherein the elect seed are written, and the assurance of faith which is the elect feed of the seven churches of Asia had, and as others have, are called the seven seals on the back fode of the book of life,
Which no nian in heaven nor in earth could open the book, nor loose the feals thereof, but Christ as he is God and Redeemer.
You that have faith may fee what is meant by the book, and by the seven feals on the back fide. &c:
Ć HA P. XII.
N verse 2: John saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
And in verse 3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth ; neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
I shall pass by these two verses, there being but little matter of concernment in them, but, I shall go to verse 4.
risa And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open, and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
Here John was ata hård fet in his vision, when he faw God have a book ini his right hand, and no man in heaven, nor în earth could open it, nor read it!
There was caufe enough for John to weep, because that book was the book of life, and many thousands and millions of souls were written in that book.
As he afterwards maketh mention of, and many that had suffered persecution unto the death, which were Nain under the altar, who suffered for the testimony of Jefus, whofe names were written in the book of life.
And if this book should not have been opened, the condition of the saints would have been fad, which suffered all those things for the name of Jesus, who loved not their lives unto death, who had their names recorded in the book of life.
That at the general day of God's account, when he shall make up his jewels, their names being written in the book of life.
They may have that bleffed reward which God did promise, and they did faithfully believe, and expect :
But if none could have opened the book, neither in heaven nor in earth, what benefit would they have had for all their faith and fufferings ?
This was enough to make John and all other prophets and believers to weep also, if there should be, none found neither in heaven nór in earth, that could open the book of life.
But in verse 5. one of the elders faid unto John in the vision, Weep not, behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David bath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the feven seals thereof.
One of the elders puts John in good comfort again ; for there is one found now that can open the book, and read it also.
This is that lion, as Jacob prophesied of, Gen. lix. 9. as I have spoken of before.
And as he became a Son, he is called the lion of the tribe of Judah ; and as he is God the Son, he is called a Lamb. And as he was God the Son, he suffered death to redeem his people.