« PreviousContinue »
things; and which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the ancient of days came. But whereas the heads of the dragon were crowned, here, the ten horns are crowned, to shew that this beast himself is not royal, but that the supreme civil power belongs to the kings, over whose dominions (with their assistance) he has exercised his impious tyranny.
The two-horned beast" (chap. xiii. 11–13.) appears to be no other than the French despotism, as perfected by Louis XIV. If a perfect and exclusive agreement can determine what tyranny this symbolic beast signified, it must, I think, be France. Every feature answers to the picture; nor can I learn that any other tyranny comes near to the likeness. · The French despotism appears to be particularly noticed, on account of the great support which it has, from the first, and all along, afforded the papacy. To a French monarch the Popes are indebted for the patrimony of St. Peter, and for their elevation to the rank of temporal princes; from the French monarchs, of every age, Ecclesiastical corruptions and usurpations have found the most prompt and effectual support, and none have shed such rivers of blood, or slaughtered so many martyrs and prophets, as these. Even the bloody house of Austria cannot equal them. The argument church of Christ was to have a special interest, from that period to the consummation of all things. Now let us place ourselves, in imagination, in this heaven to which John was raised in spirit, that he might have shewn to him what was afterwards to be, and we shall be able to understand this vision much better than we otherwise can. It is in this heaven that Jolm sees the scenic picture of the church under the syınbol of a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, &c. but it is not at all intimated, by any circumstance, that she occupies a place in the symbolical heaven, where Jobi saw Michael and the dragon fighting. It is true, she appears clothed with the sun, &c. but this, though it displays the dignity and sublimity of her character, does not prove that she even occupies the spirilual hcaven. In this heaven, to which John was raised, is ihe throne of God, and up to whom, even to his throne, the man child was caught; to represent, apprehend, the special protection which God afforded to his persecuted servants against the rage of the imperial dragon; and not, as some have supposed, to signify, either the exaltation of Constantine to the throne of the Cæsars, or that of the Christian church to the power and dominion which has been the consequence of the Roman empire embracing Christianity; for this throne in the heaven which was the scene of John's visions, and on which one sat, who was to look upon like a jusper, and a sardine stone, is as perfectly distinct from any throne which may be supposed to have been seen in the heaven politic, as the one heaven is distinct from the other.
which supports this sentiment, respecting the two-horned beast, may be seen at large in the first part of the Signs of the Times. Let it be observed, that, though these visions of the dragon and the two beasts are placed where they are, yet, we are not, from this circumstance, to suppose they did not appear in the world till after the events prefigured in some of the former chapters. We cannot now enter into an examination of the curious machinery of this mystical Book. It must suffice to say, the visions in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters, as well as the eleventh, are to be considered as explanatory ones; or, at least, as belonging to a new set of visions, which refer more immediately to the affairs of the church of God, and which shew the occasion of some of those judgments before exbibited, and prepare the way for what follows.
We shall now go back to the ninth chapter. The fifth trumpet brought the first woe, the Saracen locusts, wbich proved so great a plague to the corrupted Christians, both in the Eastern and Western parts of the world. The sixth trumpet brought on the second woe, the Turks, whose empire was founded A. D. 1500 or 1302. They were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. The author, after Mr. Brightman, Dr. Lloyd, Dr. Cressener, Mr. Whiston, and others, has attempted to show that this time is to be calculated as prophetic, or mystical time, making altogether about three hundred and ninety-six years, terminating A. D. 1697, when a mortal blow was given to the power of the Turks, and a stop put to their progress, by the victorious arms of Prince Eugene, (Sept. 1st, (). S.) and which being followed up by the atchievements of Peter the Great, of Russia, an end was put to this plague, as
This was immediately followed by the seven thunders (chap. x. 4,); which, seeing that thunder is ever the proper symbol of war, appear to signify seven periods of war, in the Antichristịan territory; after which, delay (Xpovos) is to be no longer, but the seventh angel sounds, and the inystery of God is finished *.
These seven periods appear to be as follows: the first was from 1700 to
Chap. x. 5---7. Daubuz, in his comment on this passage, says, Xpovos signifies two very different things, length of time, or delay and “ opportunity. Most interpreters and versions understand it here, of “ the first, as if it did signify, there shall be no length of time, or there di sliall be no delay."
1721, during which long period, Europe was never freed from the ravages
' of war: the second from 1733 to 1735 inclusive; the third, from 1737 to 1748; the fourth, from 1756 to 1763; the fifth, from 1763 to 1773; the sixth, from 1778 to 1789; and the seventh and last, from 1788 to 1791, in which period the French Revolution began, and which we suppose to lead to the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
But, in chapter the eleventh, there is another set of visions representing in miniature, a'long succession of events, chiefly relative to the affairs of the church of God. Among other things, two witnesses appear, who, for twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days, that is years, torment, with their testimony, the corrupted nations. Upon these, when finishing their testimony, or towards the end of the twelve hundred and sixty years, the beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, makes war, and overcomes and kills them; they lay dead in the street (or in one of the kingdoms, particularly, and that the chief, the plutea) of the great city three days and a half, after which they rise to life; ascend to heaven; and a great earthquake follows; the tenth part of the city falls *, and
* To the number of authors who have given it as their opinion, that the fall of the tenth part of the city would be realized by a revolution in France, and whose sentiments are already stated in the Signs of the
be added the name of Sayer Rudd, M. D. who, A.D. 1734, published An Essay towards a new Explication of Doctrines of the Resurs rection, Millenium, &c. at page 281, note 6, he says, “ That the number 6 of the beast is the number of a man, I apprehend it intimates, the per
son governing in that state, in whom this number is to be completed. “ It is the number of a man, not only as the way of reckoning is the
same as men use, but, I apprehend, as it is a number included in the
name of some man. Wherefore, as the name Ludovicus (which has “ been a favourite name with the French kings,) contains the numeral “ letters, according to the ancient way of counting (and I think it " ought to be a Latin name, if any,) which amounts to six hundred and “ sixty-six, and so agrees in the strictest sense with the text, it seems “ probable to me, that the number of the beast's name is to be fixed “ here: I mean, that as the beast received his name, his full compli
ment, denomination, and power in the rise of that kingdom, so a “ period will be put to the reign of the beast (strictly taken) by a RE
VOLUTION IN FRANCE, and that under a Louis; the Holy Spirit,
seeming to decypher the person under whose government this glo“ rious event should happen, by this very number.
“ Further, to support what has been now offered, it will not be im
proper to put the reader in mind, that the original and primitive “ Antichristian beast, no where subsists but in the kingdom of the
seven thousand names of men (as it is in the original, are slain ; the remainder are affrighted, and give glory unto God, by promoting his designs, and the seventh angel sounds bis trumpet, as the signal for that war which is to destroy the enemies of Christ; the nations are angry, and God's wrath falls upon them. These syinbolic representations tre have already explained.
In the latter part of this eleventh chapter, we read, and the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of the testament. As heuren in this mystical booli, symbolically signifies the government, or ruling powers of any country; so a temple is the symbol of God's church, or of its residence; and which temple is considered as shut, during the period of twelve hundred and sixty days, or years, in which the Gentiles occupy the outward court, and tread under foot the holy city (chap. xi. 1, 2); but now, when God destroys the enemies of his church, and reforms the world, the temple is opened; that is, all the restraints of persecuting statutes are removed, conscience is set at liberty, and who will-even those in authority, as well as others-may, publicly profess the religion of Christ. The ark of the testament, being seen in the temple, appears to be a symbol not of liberty only, a mere permission to enter God's temple, but of a farther advance of the kingdom of God among men; and bespeaks some eminent discoveries of divine truth, and superior manifestations of heavenly favour. It is the perfection of religious privilege; for the high priest only was to see the ark within the vail. Heb. xi. 7. This passage,
if well considered, and compared with what we find in chap. xv. will afford a clue to enable us to trace the connection of these visions. Here is a vision of seven angels, with seven vials, or libation-bowls, full of the wrath of God, and (ver. 5.) John sees the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven opened, and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues called, in verse the first, the seven last plagues. This
“ Franks, that being the only kingdom out of the ten that has not been
yet conquered. And likewise, that the downtal of the tenth part of " the city (which tenth part can mean nothing else but France, that “ being in order of its rise, as well as interest; the té céXXton of the " Papal hierarchy) is made the immediate fore-runner, or leading event " in the universal spread of Christ's kingdom (chap. xi. 13--15.) So “ that we cannot rxpect either the destruction of Türk or Pope till that " be accomplished."
sufficiently determines the period for pouring out of the vials to follow immediately on the sounding of the seventh trumpet. But whereas, in the vision, chap. xi. 19. the temple was not only opened, but the ark of the testanient was seen; here, John only sees the temple opened, which is the tabernacle (the residence) of the testimony, that is, the ark of the testimony, or testament* The reason of this difference in the visions appears to be this, the vision in the eleventh chapter is a complete miniature picture of the whole scheme of God's providence towards his church; but this vision in chap. xv. , respecting the preparation of these seven angels for pouring out the vials of God's wrath, is but one compartment of that picture, and does not extend so far as to take in the discovery of the ark. The eighth verse will help to explain this, and inform us why it is that the ark of the testament is not yet seen. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fuba filled. Blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke, in Joel 1:30. are all symbolical representations of war.
66 Pillars of “ smoke,” says Daubuz, in his note on Rev. xix. 17.
are the instruments to darken the sun and turn the “ moon into blood, (the symbolic sun and moon)-so this " cloud of smoke, and smoky colour, may signify the
eclipsing of authority, the pulling down of the standing
government.” By the temple then being filled with smoke from the glory of God, and his power, may be signified those awful judgments of God, by which he will glorify his righteousness, justice, and truth, in that war which is to be directed against Antichristian tyrants and systems, preparatory to the kingdoms of the world becoming the kingdoms of God. And till these judgments are finished, the revival of religion, and the displays of God's peculiar favour, are not to be expected. Though the temple of God may be opened, by all restraints ou religion and conscience being removed, yet no man is able to enter into the teinple, till the seven plagues are fulfilled. --- All this is, thus far, exactly accomplished. When the witnesses rose to political life, the temple was opened; for the same law which restored them to life opened the temple; i.e. restored to the people religious : liberty : but we see no great revival of religion yet; nor shall we, till all the plagues are finished.
* Exod. xxv. 15.