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The Song of Moses and the Lamb

The Song of Moses and the Lamb

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN


' And I saw aa it were a sea of glass mingled with Are : and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, . . . and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.'— Rev. xv. 2, 3.
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN


' And I saw aa it were a sea of glass mingled with Are : and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, . . . and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.'— Rev. xv. 2, 3.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 15, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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THE SOG OF MOSES AD THE LAMB BY ALEXADER MACLARE' And I saw aa it were a sea of glass mingled with Are : and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, . . . and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.'— Rev. xv. 2, 3. The form of this vision is moulded partly by the cir- cumstances of the Seer, and partly by reminiscences of Old Testament history. As to the former, it can scarcely be an accident that the Book of the Revelation abounds with allusions to the sea. We are never far from the music of its waves, which broke around the rocky Patmos where it was written. And the ' sea of glass mingled with fire ' is but a photograph of what John must have seen on many a still morning, when the sunrise came blushing over the calm surface ; or on many an evening when the wind dropped at sundown, and the sunset glow dyed the watery plain with a fading splendour. — or is the allusion to Old Testament history less obvious. We cannot but recognise the reproduction, with modifications, of that scene when Moses and his ransomed people looked upon the ocean beneath which their oppressors lay, and lifted up their glad thanksgivings. So here, by anticipation, in the solemn pause before the judgment goes forth, there are represented the spirits that have been made wise by conquest, as gathered on the bank of that steadfast ocean, lifting up as of old a hymn of triumphant thankfulness over destructive judgments, and blending the song of Moses and of the Lamb, in testimony of the unity of spirit which runs through all the manifesta- tions of God's character from the beginning to the end. Ever His judgments are right; ever the purpose of 841
 
342 REVELATIO [ch.xv. His most terrible things is that men may know Him, and may love Him; and ever they who see deepest into the mysteries, and understand most truly the realities of the universe will have praise springing to their lips for all that God hath done. I. otice the Triumphant Choir. * I saw them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image, and over the number of his name.' ow I am not going to plunge into Apocalyp- tic discussions. It is no part of my business now either to ask or answer the question as to whether this Beast of the Revelation is a person or a tendency. I do not care, for my present purpose, whether, supposing it to be a person, an embodiment of certain tendencies, it is a person in the past or in the future ; whether it was a veiled designation of the Emperor ero, or whether it is a prophecy of some yet unborn human embodiment of transcendent wickedness. The question that I would ask is rather this,— Whoever the beast is, what makes him a beast ? And if we will think about that, we may get some good out of it. What is the bestial element in him, whoever he be ? And the answer is not far to find — Godless selfishness, that is ' the mark of the beast.' Wherever a human nature is self-centred, God-forget- ting, and, therefore, God- opposing (for whoever for- gets God defies Him), that nature has gone down below humanit3% and has touched the lower level of the brutes. Men are so made as that they must either rise to the level of God or certainly go down to that of the animal. And wherever you see men living by their own fancies, for their own pleasure, in f orgetf ul- ness and neglect of the sweet and mystic bonds that should knit them to God, there you see • the image of
 
the beast and the number of his name.* vs. 2, 3] THE SOG OF MOSES 843 But besides that godless selfishness, we may point to simple animalism as literally the mark of the beast. He who lives not by conscience and by faith, but by fleshly inclination and sense, lowers himself to the level of the instinctive brute-life, and beneath it, because he refuses to obey faculties which they do not possess, and what is nature in them is degradation in us. Look at the unblushing sensuality which marks many 're- spectable people' nowadays. Look at the foul'flesh- liness of much of popular art and poetry. Look at the way in which pure animal passion, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the love of good things to eat, and plenty to drink, is swaying and destroying men and women by the thousand among us. Look at the temptations that lie along every street in our great cities, for every young man, after dusk. Look at the thin veneer of culture over the ugliest lust. Scratch the gentleman, and you find the satyr. Is it much of an exaggeration, in view of the facts of English life to-day, to say that all the world wonders after and worships this beast? Further, notice that to escape from the power of the beast it is needful to fight one's way out. The language of my text is remarkably significant. This Apocalyptic writer does not mind about grammar or smoothness so long as he can express his ideas ; and he uses a form of speech here that makes the hair of grammatical purists stand on end, because it vigorously expresses his thought. He calls these triumphant choristers 'con- querors out of the beast,' which implies that victory over him is an escape from a dominion in which the conquerors, before their victory, were held. They have fought their way, as it were, out of the land of bondage,

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