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* And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not. Behold, the Lion

of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."

Rev. v. 5.

This word is applied in various ways in the Scriptures; not only to the king of beasts, but to tyrants and violent oppressors, 2 Tim. iv. 17; to enemies and evils of every kind, Psa. xci. 13; and to some pretended difficulties and hinderances to divert one from his duty, Prov. xxii. 13. It is applied comparatively to the devil, 1 Pet. v. 8.Nebuchadnezzar is compared to a lion 'from the swelling of the Jordan.' It was seeing a lion which furnished Samson with his famous riddle. Isaiah, describing the happy time of the Messiah, says, "The calf, the young lion, and the fatling shall lie down together, and a little child shall lead them,' xi. 8. In one instance, God is compared to a lion, Isa. xxxi. 4. The motto is the only place where the Redeemer is thus called; and it is worthy of remark, that in this very connection he is also styled a Lamb! 'And I beheld, and lo! in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.' * * *

But why is Jesus called a Lion? It is the very last title we should have expected to find applied to

one who is represented as having been moved with compassion' in the days of his flesh. How singular, when we turn to the various incidents connected with the life of the Son of God! At one time, he is seen restoring the sick; then taking up little children in his arms and blessing them; then, in the act of dying, praying, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' And yet he is called a Lion! Indeed, what seeming contrarieties meet in the Redeemer. He was born in a manger, yet destined to be the Conqueror of the world! In his obedience to his parents he appears as a Lamb; in disputing with the doctors as a Lion! There was the purity of infancy with the full development of maturity. He was a Son, yet was called 'the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father!' He was subject to man while on earth, and yet could have had more than twelve legions of angels.' He was in the house of mourning, and in the house of feasting, and the heart reverenced and blessed him in them both. How many contrarieties and diverse excellencies appear in the character of the Son of God, and yet all are blended in perfect harmony ! The world never saw such a model before. Such a character must be divine, for it bears the impress of a God !

A very excellent minister of the old school thus speaks on this subject :

There do meet in the person of Christ such really diverse excellencies which otherwise would have been thought utterly incompatible in the same subject; such as are conjoined in no other person whatever, either divine, human, or angelical; and such as neither men nor angels would ever have imagined

could have met together in the same person, had it not been seen in the person of Christ.'*

But why is Jesus called a Lion ?

I. Because of his descent: For it is evident,' says the Apostle, that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.'t It is supposed that this tribe used the lion as an emblem upon their ensign. It will be remembered that Jacob, in his dying benedictions upon

his sons, spake of Judah as a lion: 'Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion: who shall rouse him up?'I Judah was thus called to denote the dignity and superiority of that tribe above the rest.

II. Jesus is called a Lion on account of his kingly power and strength; his nobleness of spirit, and his vigilancy and watchfulness, his heroism and invincibleness. These are the well-known properties of the lion. He is also called king of beasts: so the Lion of the tribe of Judah is called 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords.'

But what is the Lion of the tribe of Judah to accomplish? This may be gathered from the Scripture connected with our motto: “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals.

* See a valuable Discourse in the works of President EDWARDS, vol. vii. ser. v., entitled “The Excellency of Christ,' wherein the author has shown in a very interesting manner the Saviour in the character of a Lion and a Lamb. | Heb. vii. 14.

Gen. xlix. 9.

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open, and to read the book, neither to look thereon. While the Revelator was thus weeping, 'one of the elders saith unto him, Weep not! Behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda!' And while John was thus looking and expecting to behold a lion, 'lo! in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB as it had been slain. * * * 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 odors, which are the prayers of saints. * * * 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 thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.'

There has been much conjecture and fancy respecting the book written within and on the back side,

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sealed with seven seals.'* We are not certain that a definite view can be obtained. Calmet says the prophecies of John are intended. And he says the same book is alluded to in the prophecy of Isaiah, xxix. 11. Cruden says, “This was the book of God's decrees and purposes relating to his church, as to what remarkable things should happen to it to the end of the world; its being sealed denotes that the matter contained in it was locked up from and unknown to the creatures.' So we might go on and fill our work with the conjectures of various commentators. We think that we are perfectly safe in speaking here of Christ as a prophet. He prevailed and broke the seal of prophecy. In one sense, 'no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book.' When the Lion of the tribe of Judah appeared, then all was made plain. View him in one of the most interesting incidents connected with his eventful life. Two of the disciples were on their way 'to a village called Emmaus, and they talked together of all those things which had happened.' A stranger approached. “He said unto them, What manner of communications are these as ye walk and are sad ?' Then did they relate "how the chief priests and rulers delivered Jesus to be condemned to death, and crucified him.' Then, beginning at Moses

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* Reference is here made to the ancient manner of writing. There were no books then, in the common acceptation of that term, for the art of printing was not discovered till A. D. 1440. In writing, materials were selected from the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdoms. A very common mode was to write on parchment or some flexible material, and then put the whole in the form of roll, and sometimes it was sealed. CRUDEN'S Concordance and Calmer's Dictionary may be advantageously consulted by the curious on this subject.

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