And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True…
Who, then, is the being whom St. John sees in the spiritual world appearing eternally as a warrior, with his garments stained with blood, the leader of armies smiting the nations, ruling them with a rod of iron? St. John tells us that He has one name which none knew save Himself. But He tells us that He has another name which St. John did know; and that it is "the Word of God"; and He tells us, moreover, that He is called Faithful and True. And who He is all Christian men are bound to know. He it is who makes perpetual war, as King of kings and Lord of lords. He Himself is full of chivalry, full of fidelity; and, therefore, all which is base and treacherous is hateful in His eyes, and that which He hates He is both able and willing to destroy. He it is who makes perpetual war. He makes war in righteousness. Therefore, all men and things which are unrighteous and unjust are on the opposite side to Him, His enemies, and He will trample them under His feet. But the meek and gentle Jesus? That the Lord was meek and gentle when on earth, and is, therefore, meek and gentle in heaven, from all eternities to all eternities, there can be no doubt. But with that meekness and lowliness there was in Him on earth, and, therefore, there is in Him in heaven, a capacity of burning indignation against all wrong and falsehood, especially against that worst form of falsehood, hypocrisy; and that worst form of hypocrisy, covetousness, cloaking itself under the name of religion. For that He had no meek and gentle words; but, Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers I How shall ye escape the damnation of Gehenna? And because His character is perfect and eternal — because He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever — therefore we are bound to believe that He has now, and will have as long as evil exists, the same Divine indignation, the same Divine determination to cast out of His kingdom — which is simply the whole universe — all that offends, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. The wisest of living Britons has said: "Infinite pity, yet infinite rigour of law. It is so that the universe is made." I should add: It is so that the universe must needs be made, because it is made by Christ, and its laws are the reflection of His character — pitiful because Christ is pitiful; rigorous because Christ is rigorous. So pitiful is Christ that He did not hesitate to be slain for men, that mankind through Him might be saved. So rigorous is Christ that He does not hesitate to slay men, if needful, that mankind by them may be saved. I know but too well that most people find it very difficult, always have in every age and country found it most difficult to believe in such a God as Scripture sets forth — a God of boundless tenderness, and yet a God of boundless indignation. Men's notion of tenderness is too often a selfish dislike of seeing other people uncomfortable, because it makes them uncomfortable themselves. They hate and dread honest severity and stern exercise of lawful power; till it has been bitterly but truly said that public opinion will allow a man to do anything except his duty. Now this is a humour which cannot last. It breeds weakness, anarchy, and, at last, ruin to society. And then the effeminate and luxurious, terrified for their money and their comfort, fly from an unwholesome tenderness to an unwholesome indignation; and, in a panic of selfish fury, become — as cowards are too apt to do — blindly and wantonly cruel, and those who fancied God too indulgent to punish His enemies are the first and the fiercest to punish their own. "Christian," says a great genius and a great divine —
"If thou wouldst learn to love,
Thou first must learn to hate."And, if any answer: Hate? even God hateth nothing that He hath made; then the rejoinder is: And for that very reason He hates evil, because He has not made it, and it is ruinous to all that He has made. Let every man go and do likewise. Let him hate what is wrong with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, for so only will he love God with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. Let him say, day by day — aye, almost hour by hour — "Strengthen me, O Lord, to hate what Thou hatest and to love what Thou lovest"; that so when that dread day shall come, when every man shall receive the reward of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil, he may have some decent answer to give to the awful question: "On whose side hast thou been in the battle of life? On the side of God and all good beings, or on the side of all bad spirits and bad men?"
(C. Kingsley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.