The first occurrence of the Roman empire, and that a most illustrious one, is the commencement of the victory of Christ, by which the Roman gods began to be vanquished, and their worshippers to be transfixed with the arrows of the Gospel, to fail on every side, and to submit their necks to Christ the conqueror. |He went out (says he) conquering, and to conquer;| that is, he hath not yet completely conquered, but laid the foundations of victory, to he hereafter more and more fulfilled.
The index of the first seal is the first animal in the likeness of a lion, in station towards the East, and it shows that the rider, viz. the emperor, is to go forth from that quarter of the compass, from the mounting of whom on his horse for the purpose of riding, -- that is, from the beginning of his government, -- the period of the first seal was to commence, namely, from the glorious exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the guidance and auspices of which emperor from the East, this battle is waged, and this victory obtained. The beginning of the following seals is pointed out by the Roman emperors; but where the act of Christ is described, he is accounted as the sole emperor .
Now indeed, when this seal had run its course, the oracles of the gods, through the whole Roman world, became mute, and John, the last of the twelve apostles of Christ, having received the wages of his warfare, departed from this life, to receive an undecaying crown in the heavens, together with his brethren and co-apostles, ibr a conduct bravely and happily performed.
That riding on horseback is a symbol of power, and of those who hold the reins of government, may be seen even from the interpretation of the Greek translators, Psalm xlv. v.5, according to whom, prosper and ride on, is rendered, kateuodou kai basileue, Go forth prosperously and reign. Nor does the Chaldee dissent from this sense, which translates, |as horsemen on the throne of the kingdom. So the woman riding on the beast is explained by the angel to be a city having dominion, and the expression of riding is applied in the same sense in other parts of Scripture.