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rise of Mohammedism and the conquests of the Saracens form one singular epoch in history: the rise and conquests of the Ottoman empire form another singular epoch : after these two, where shall we pitch upon a third epoch equally singular? Can any other answer be given, an answer which the passing occurrences of
every day render more and more probable, except the French revolution and its amazingly extensive consequences
? Now the Saracens and the Turks are universally allowed to be the subjects of the two first woes.
And are they more worthy of a place in prophecy, than the daring impieties, the unheard of miseries, and the vast change in the constitution of the whole European commonwealth, which have flowed from the French revolution! Since we are compelled to date a new order of things from this tremendous convulsion, is it improbable that it should have been selected by the Spirit of God as one of the great apocalyptic eras ? Is it improbable to suppose, that the third woe began to sound, when the reign of Antichrist, of anarchy, and of atheism, commenced ?
But this is not all: we have a clue afforded us by the prophecy itself. Immediately before the sounding of the third woc, a tenth part of the greut Latin city is overthrown by a violent eurthquake ; and the consequence of this earthquake is, that seven thousand names of men are slain, not merely men themselves, but names or titles of men. If therefore the application of the third woe to the commencement of the reign of Antichrist do not correspond with this particular, we may be absolutely sure, that it is erroneous: but, if on the other hand it do minutely correspond with this particular, then we have attained to at least a very high degree of probability (so high as to fall little short of moral certainty,) that it is not erroneous ; for, in that case, it will be difficult to conceive, how the prediction can ever be more minutely fulfilled, than it has already been. What then shall we say, when we find that it does exactly, and in every point, correspond with this particular? The reign of Antichrist was ushered in by the fall of monarchical France, one of the ten parts of the great city, or (what is only another mode of speaking) one of the ten horns of the Roman beast : nay more; the only one of the ten original horns then in existence, and consequently the only monarchy by the fall of which the prophecy could possibly be accomplished. Nine out of the ten original horns had fallen by conquest or other political changes previous to the era of the French revolution : when that revolution took place, the tenth original horn fell : at present therefore none of the ten original monarchical horns are standing. Hence it is manifest, that, if the prophecy has not been already accomplished, it now never can be accomplished. The result therefore of the whole is this : if the fall of the tenth part of the city be the first French revolution, and if the third woe began to sound at the commencement of the reign of Antichrist : in that case, the slaughter of the witnesses must be past, because it takes place under the second woe, and consequently previous to the sounding of the third woe.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come ; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, small and great ; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testa
The Angolo-Saxon born fell by the Norman conquest. But in France, when the crown was transferred from the Merovingians to the Carlovingians, and from the Carlovingians, to the Capets, it never ceased to be worn by a dynasty of native princes. At the revolution that ancient monarchy was first overthrown; and now that the regal form of government is restored, the 'sceptre of Pharamond the Frank, of Charlemagne the Frank, and of Hugh Capet the Frank, is wielded by Napolean Buonaparte the Corsican. Our Henry VI. was indeed crowned king of France ; but his title was never acknowledged by the Dauphin, and he was himaself speedily dispossessed of the conquests of his father. VOL. II.
ment: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
The prophet, reserving a more full account of the several important events which were to take place under this woe for the pouring out of the seven last plagues and the chapters subordinately connected with them, gives us here a general preliminary statement of them. For the consolation of the afflicted Church he inverts the order of their accomplishment, placing the triumphant establishment of the kingdom of Christ, before God's assumption to himself of his great power; before the tiine of his wrath ; before his destruction of those that destroyed the earth; before the day of the anger of the nations; before the last earthquake, which was to divide the great city into three parts, and to overthrow the cities of the nations; and before great Babylon came in remembrance before God. Anticipating the final triumph of Christianity and the commencement of the millennium, he eagerly looks forward to that blessed period when the kingdoms of this world should become the kingdoms of our Lord; and afterwards, as it were reluctantly, touches upon the calamities which yet remained to be fulfilled under the seven vials. The propriety of this interpretation of the passage will be evident, if we consider that the seventh trumpet was to introduce the third great woe which surely cannot be the conversion of the world to Christ, and if we reflect that all the seven vials of the last plagues yet remain to be poured out ere the triumphant reign of the Messiah commences. *
Thus it appears, that the eleventh chapter of the Apoealypse, or the first of the little book, extends through the whole period of the 1260 years. The three remaining chapters of the little book do the same: for all the four, in point of chronology, run parallel to each other; and jointly give us a complete history of the western Apostacy, and of all who are concerned with it whether actively or passively.
* See Mede's Works B. V. Summary view of the Apoc. p. 920—Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. xi. in loc.—Sir Isaac Newton's Observ, on the Apoc. Chap. 11. ps 254.
Concerning the war of the dragon with the woman.
The main-spring of the Apostacy is the great red drag. on, or, as the Apostle himself informs us, the devil. It was this grand deceiver of the whole world, that actuated the two-horned beast, and that employed at his instigation the ten-horned beast, to trample under foot the Gospel of Christ. Hence St. John thinks it necessary to dedicate one whole chapter of the little book to the full elucidation of his wiles.
“ And there appeared a great wonder in heaven ; a woman clothed with the Sun, and the Moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven ; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth : and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron : and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two-hundred and threescore days.”
The excellent Bp. Newton appears to me to have failed in no part of his commentary upon the Apocalypse so much as in that on the present chapter. Although he had before very justly stated, that the little book described the calamities of the western church, and as such was with good reason made a separate and distinct prophecy : and although the little book itself repeatedly declares, that it comprehends nothing but the history of the great Apostacy of 1260 years, which commenced as we have seen in the year 606 : yet he now supposes, in direct contradiction to his former statement, that St. John
resumes his subject from the beginning, from the very first propagation of Christianity. Hence he conjectures, that the dragon, which persecutes the symbolical woman or the Church is pagan Rome ; and that he is styled the red dragon, because “purple or scarlet was the distinguishing colour of the Roman emperors, consuls, and generals :” that the man-child is primarily the mystic Christ, for whom the Roman dragon laid snares to destroy him in his infancy, as Pharaoh did of old for the male children of the Hebrews : but that Constantine however, the first Christian emperor, “ was here more particularly intended, for whose life the dragon Galerius laid many snares, though he providentially escaped them all ; and, notwithstanding all opposition, was caught up unto the throne of God, was not only secured by the divine protection, but was advanced to the imperial throne ; called the throne of God ; for there is no power but of God; the powers, that be, are ordained of God.” Agreeably to this system, his Lordship thinks that the war between Michael and the dragon, mentioned in the succeeding verses, is the struggle between Christianity and Paganism ; and that the fall
of the dragon from heaven is the final overthrow of idolatry. In a similar manner, the wrath of the dragon after he is cast down to the earth is the attempt to restore paganism in the reign of Julian, and the discord excited in the Church by the followers of Arius : and the flood, which he vomited forth from his mouth, signifies the irruption of the northern barbarians, whom Stilicho, prime minister of the Emperor Honorius, invited into the Roman empire. The Bishop however, being perfectly aware that the woman's recess into the wilderness during the space of 1260 days, stood in direct opposition to the whole of his scheme, maintains, that this is said merely by way of prolepsis, or anticipation ; and that she did not flee into the wilderness at this time, but several years after during the reign of Antichrist : notwithstanding the prophet is at this very time professedly writing the history of the 1960 days : and notwithstanding the three other chapters of the little book, namely, the chapter which immediately precedes this, and the two chapters which immediately follow it,