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which John saw placed in rows like Paul, writes to the churches on each side of the river of the as an inspired EPISTOLARY CORwater of life. Now in interpret. RESPONDENT. Thus after stating ing this figurative language, the the contents and importance of reader might not be certain the subject he had to communiwhether the passage applies to cate, he proceeds with his epistle the church militant, or to the by saying, “ John to the seven church triumphant. That point, churches which are in Asia: however, is at once decided by Grace be unto you, and peace a reference to Rev. ii. 7, where from HIM WHO IS, AND WAS, we find that the blessings repre. AND IS TO COME;-and from sented by the productions of the THE SEVEN SPIRITS which are tree of life are promised to the before his throne ;--and from church militant, but enjoyed by Jesus CHRIST.” Now as the the church triumphant. “ To seven spirits are here said to be him that overcometh,” says our before the throne of the glorious Lord in vision, “ will I give to personage first mentioned, we eat of the tree of life, which is have in Rev. vii. 10, a decisive in the midst of the paradise of clue to that Divine Being in the God.” Thus John heard of the following language :
• Salvation tree of life before he saw it; and to our God who sitteth on the was prepared to understand some THRONE,' and to the Lamb." portion of the visions of God. Thus we arrive at a satisfactory
Not only, however, are illus- conclusion respecting two of the trative passages to be found in sources from which Grace and the same book, but they also Peace are invoked; namely, occur in different books of the " GOD that sitteth the Sacred Volume. We have just throne,” and “ JESUS CHRIST" seen that the apostle John had a mentioned by name in Rev. i. 2. clue to some of the visions which – Finally then, by having rehe saw;
and, in some instances, he course io another book of the has himself told us the meaning. Sacred Volume, we ascertain the For instance, in Rev. iv. 5, he only remaining souree from which first tells us that he saw “ seven such Divine benedictions are inlamps of fire burning before the voked by the Sacred Writers. throne,” and then, in the cha. Thus in 2 Cor. xiii. 14, the apose racter of an inspired NARRATOR, tle Paul, in his invocation of he tells us the meaning of the spiritual blessings, bas a referseven lamps. “ They are," says ence to THREE Divine personhe, “ the seven spirits of God.” ages in the following decisive Now this remark of John's in language: “ The grace of the close connexion with the vision- Lord Jesus Christ, and the love ary objects recorded, is an im- of God, and the communion of portant link in the chain that the Holy Ghost, be with you conducts to a right interpreta- all.” Hence by the aid of Divine tion. But the next inquiry is, truth itself, we learn that the What is meant by “ the seven seven Lamps of Fire are the Spirits of God ?”. In seeking a DJVINE SPIRÍT.--Again in Heb. satisfactory answer to this ques. xi. 10, we read that Abraham tion, we are led to another por- “ looked for THE CITY which tion of Jobn's own language con- hath THE FOUNDATIONS, whose tained in Rev, i. 4, where John, builder and maker is God." Now
the Greek article before the word we learn from Sacred History for city and also before the word that no Saviour caine within sixfor foundations, points out such teen months of that publication. a particular city as we no where --The question, however, reread of but in Rev. xxi. For turns; and we are led to ask, there, and there alone, we read “ If the period is thus evidently of THE FOUNDATIONS of the to be understood figuratively, celestial city. Hence we what is the proper interpretation clude that the passage here of such figurative language ?" quoted from the Epistle to the Now here we are again wonderHebrews has a direct reference fully aided by Scripture, for we to John's vision, or was an in- have a precedent quite in point. spired anticipation of it; and Thus in Ezek, iv. 6, we read that hence we ascertain not only that Jehovah said to Ezekiel, I have Abraham had a hope full of im- appointed thee EACH DAY FOR mortality, but that the happiness A YEAR:” and so Ezekiel was he had in view is the very thing instructed that 390 days meant represented by the Apocalyptical 390 years, and that 40 days city with the twelve foundations. meant 40 years. On this prin.,
The Sacred Volume, however, ciple, therefore, seventy weeks not only furnishes light itself, being 490 days, must be interbut it also sanctions the pérusal preted 490 years.—The Scripof other writings, and gives en- tures too carry us one step farcouragement to the study and ther, by identifying the extreme application of natural science: points of the 490 years with un-for, in fact, the Scriptures can inspired Chronology. Thus the not otherwise accomplish their commencement of the period is. design. In proof of this asser- stated to have been in the tion we need only advert to the SEVENTH YEAR of Artaxerxes;t prophecy of the seventy weeks and for the time of the public recorded by Daniel,* from which ministry of our Lord we it appears that those weeks were furnished with a clue in the acto commence with the grant of count of the passovers he attendan edict for rebuilding Jerusalem; ed, and by the precise date of and that they were to extend to the commission given by God to a time when the Messiah should John the Baptist, as in Luke iii. perform the great work of re- 1, 2, we read,
“ In the FIFdemption. Now the volume of TEENTH YEAR of Tiberius Ceinspiration furnishes us with three sar the word of God came to particulars to aid us in the inter- John the son of Zacharias in the pretation of this prophecy; and wilderness."- Wben, however, we then it leaves us to the aid of proceed to the elucidation of the uninspired writers.
prophecy by ascertaining the In the first place, we learn interval ihat elapsed between the from the Sacred Scriptures that extreme points of time here spe. the seventy weeks were not ful- cified, the Scriptures furnish us filled LITERALLY. For seventy with no materials. Witbout the weeks comprise only about a aid of uninspired writers, there, year and four months: and fore, there is no man upon earth though we read of the publica- who can show that the prophecy tion of the edict in question, yet of the seventy weeks was fulfilled. * See Dan, ix. 24.
+ See Ezra vii. 8, 9, and 11-26,
To proceed then to uninspired darkness, however, could not be Chronology, we find that the the result of an eclipse of the seventh year of Artaxerxes began sun, as such an eclipse cannot on the 16th of December in the produce darkness for more than year 459 before the Christian a few minutes.f Nor could even Era, according to a computation such an eclipse happen when of the Era of Nabouassar, which Jesus was crucified, for we aswas adopted by Heathen Nations certain from the Evangelists that in that age of the world. It that event happened at the time should be observed too that the of Passover: and we learn from Chronology derived from this Josepbus that the sacrifices for Era of Nabonassar is so verified that feast were slain on the fourby Eclipses and Occultations teenth day of the moon, or when which we ourselves may calcu- she was near the full, as Philo late, that we feel as much cer- expresses the same fact. As tainty in computing the years of therefore no Solar Eclipse can the kings of Babylon or Persia happen but at the New Moon, as in reckoning those of his late we are irresistibly led to assert Majesty George the third. On that the DARKNESS at the crucisuch grounds we conclude that fixion, was an extraordinary opethe 490 years began in the year ration of Divine power: and we 458.; for Ezra commenced his are still further informed that the journey to Jerusalem on the first darkuess was accompanied by day of the first Jewish month, an EARTHQUAKE.1-Now, by which month conld not receive a reference to uninspired history, its existence till the Spring of the we find a remarkable coincidence Year. Reckoning, therefore, on with the accounts recorded in the principle that the Year One the New Testament. For Phlegon, before the Christian Era intro- a Heathen Chronologer, in the duced the Year of our Lord ONE, 13th Book of his Chronicle has the 490 years must bave been written to this effect: “ In the coinpleted at the beginning of " FOURTH YEAR of the 102nd the first Jewish Month in the Olympiad there was a GREATER yearofour Lord THIRTY-THREE; ECLIPSE OF THE SUN than any or, according to the Greek Chro that had happened previous to nology, the 490 years must have that time; and it became NIGHT expired in the FOURTH YEAR at the sixth Hour of the day, of the 102nd Olympiad, which insomuch that the stars appeared year began about Midsummer in the year of our Lord THIRTY
+ From a computation of the effect two, and ended about Midsum- the greatest possible duration of a
of all real possibilities, it appears that mer in the year THIRTY-THREE. total eclipse of the sun on our globe is Now the seventy weeks of Daniel four minutes and nineteen seconds at were to terminate with the Mes- the Poles, and seven minutes and siah’s bringing in “ everlasting between these extremes in the other
fifty-one seconds at the Equator, and righteousness;" and the Sacred parts of the earth. Before the totality, Writers inform us that at this indeed, there is a great diminution of momentous crisis there was light for two or three minutes, and DARKNESS over all the land also for the same length of time after from the sixth hour (or mid- visible portion of the sun's disc has a
the sun's re-appearance: but the least day) till the vinih hour.* This tendency to produce day-light. * See Matt. xxvii. 45.
# See Matt. xxvii. 61.
in the sky. There was also a that the Paschal Lamb was slain GREAT EARTHQUAKE in Bithy on the FOURTEENTH DAY acnia, and it threw down a great cording to the Moon when the number of buildings in the city Sun was in ARIEs. In the next of Nice.”
place then, we must have recourse Thus then there is a striking to Astronomical Tables, * from harmony between the Sacred which we compute that, in the Oracles and uninspired history, year of our Lord thirty-three, the with respect to the hour at which Sun entered Aries on ihe 22nd of the darkness commenced, and to March at one minute past four the earthquake which accom- in the afternoon, according to panied that darkness, and also Solar or Apparent Time at Greento the unprecedented character of wich; and we also find that the the phenomenon. But in esta - Sun continued in Aries till the blishing the identity of the re- 22nd of April, on which day he spective accounts, it is proper to entered Taurus at 19 minutes proceed still further. It may be after five in the afternoon. After observed, therefore, that by com- obtaining these results we find puting from our Modern Astro- that the New Moon preceding nomical Tables which have been the passover happened on March brought to an unprecedented ap- the 19th at 48 minutes after ten proximation towards perfection, in the forenoon. According to it appears that there was no total our mode of reckoning, therefore, eclipse of the sun at mid-day, or the fourteenth day of the moon at any other time of the day, when the sun was in Aries, coineither at Jerusalem or in Bithynia, cided with Wednesday the first in any part of the fourth year of of April
. But by referring to the 102nd Olympiad. Nor can the Gospels we learn that our it be said that the darkness was Lord was crucified on a Friday, occasioned by a thick fog, or by or the day before the Jewish exceedingly dense clouds; for Sabbath. Now as it is also Phlegon says, “ the stars appear. evident that the Jews attended ed.” Hence we are led to con- to the passover on that day,f it clude that what this Greek wri- follows that the reckoning to ter calls a great eclipse of the which Josephus refers, began sun was an obscuration of that from the first re-appearance of luminary by causes that consti- the moon after the change: and, tuted the event a prodigy: and in the land of Judæa, the passfrom the astonishing coincidence over moon in the year 33, would of Scripture with profane records, be first visible on Friday evening, we are at once led to consider March the 20th. For on that the respective accounts as apply evening the Moon did not set at ing to one and the same event. Jerusalem till 19 minutes after
As Phlegon, therefore, points seven, apparent time at Jerusaout the year, and the Evangelists the time of the year, we
* The Tables used in these compu.
tations are Delambre's Solar Tables, brought to the time of PASSOVER and Burckhardt's Lunar Tables, the in the year THIRTY-THREE, as Secular Equations being computed for the time of the three hours' dark. the particular times according to the For additional particulars, formulæ of Laplace.
+ See Mark xv. 42.- Luke xxiii. 54. however, we must have recourse
John xix, 31. to Josephus, from whom we learn # See John xviii. 28, and xix. 14,
lem, when the sun was seventeen or two; and, therefore, if we degrees and one minute below were to give up the point of exthe horizon. The darkness, there. treme accuracy, we should still fore, was sufficient not only to have such an approximation to render the Moon's crescent visi-, the 490 years as no competent ble, but also to allow the other and impartial judge can "gainpart of her disc to be seen, which say or resist :” and it should be part, on the moon's first re-ap- also remarked that the prophecy pearance, is enlightened by al. will suffer nothing by our arriving most the whole of the earth's at a near approximation instead enlightened (or sunshiny) hemi- of the very acme of accuracy: sphere. On the supposition, For-such is the nature of round therefore, that the Jewish day of numbers that we ourselves should the month began at the going speak of seventy weeks, even if down of the sun, the first day of the period so denominated should Nisan would begin on the Friday be a day or two deficient or reevening; and consequently the dundant: and that this principle fourteenth of Nisan would begin obtains in Holy Writ is evident on THURSDAY EVENING, April from the respective periods asthe 2nd and end on FRIDAY signed for the sojourning of the EVENING,* April the 3rd. Thus Israelites. Thus in Gen. xv. 13, “the NIGHT in which Jesus we read that the Israelites were took bread,” (1 Cor. xi. 23,) and to be sojourners in a foreign land the DAY-TIME in which he was till 400 years were expired, reccrucified, were each on the four: koning not from their going into teenth of Abib or Nisan, both Egypt but from the time in which periods having elapsed between the prediction was first given. ibe two evenings.
But the real time was 430 years, From the preceding premises as we learn from Exod. xii. 40, we conclude inat our Lord was and Gal. iii. 17. crucified on FRIDAY the THIRD Having thus glanced at the of April, in the year of our Lord sources of illustration which afTHIRTY-THREE, and thus we fect the figurative language of are furnished with 490 years ex. Scripture in common with what actly for Daniel's seventy weeks. is literal, it is now proper to con-But even if this reasoning re- sider the range and limits of inspecting the year of the cruci- terpretation when the language fixion were altogether incorrect, is figurative, yet we have other sources of in
Tù the first place then, we formation that will make us may observe that when the figuabsolutely certain within a year rative language is founded on the
relationship of ideas, the grand * Conformably to these boundaries clue to the interpretation is furassigned to one of the seven days, we nished by the CONNEXION. Thus learn from Josephus, that the Jewish when our Lord said, “ The law Sabbath began on the evening of Fri-, and the prophets were until day, and ended on the evening of Saturday. From the Scriptures also John,” (Luke xvi. 16,) it is eviwe learn that the day for‘killing the dent that the TIME or DAYS of Passover included a part of the day John were intended; for it is before our Lord's crucifixion, (Luke immediately added, SINCE xxii. 7.)-as well as the greater part of the day on which he was crucified. THAT TIME the kingdom of God (John xix. 14.)