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passage, I allow, used literally; or at least a word is used, which conveys the same idea: but here we have no difficulty in understanding what is meant, because those crimes which exclude a man from the kingdom of heaven are enumerated, and among them both wboredom and idolatry. In the passage however in which Mr. Whitaker says it is used literally, it plainly appears to me to be used figuratively; and I have not scrupled to interpret it accordingly in my Dissertationt. The Apostle is speaking of crimes peculiarly distinctive of the corrupt church of Rome. He first therefore gives a very full literal account of her manifold idolatriest; and afterwards he adds, “ Neither repented they of “ their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their “ fornication, nor of their thefts.” Now, whatever may be the precise meaning which he designs we should annex to these different terms, it is plain that they must denote certain enormities for which the Church of Rome is singularly notorious. I fear however, that protestants must not venture to assert, that common murder, impious attempts to exercise the art of sorcery, literal fornication, and ordinary tbeft, are the exclusive characteristics of popish
* Rev. xxi. 8. I can direct Mr. Whitaker likewise to a passage in the Apocalypse, wherein the context as positively determines the word sea to be understood literally, as any context can teach us the meaning of the word sow. (Rev. xx. 13.) Let him produce as clear a context for his interpretation of the sea in the second vial, and I faithfully promise to adopt his interpretation. This was one of the excepted cases to which I alluded in my Preface, p. xiii.
+ Vol. i. p. 131. | Rev. ix. 20.
countries. countries. How then do the terms, according to such an interpretation, exhibit to us any crimes, for which the Church of Rome is remarkable? Hence it is plain that we must either look out for some other interpretation, or cease to apply the passage in question to the abominations of Popery. I suppose therefore, that the murders here spoken of denote murders perpetrated in the way of persecution; the sorceries, the various pious frauds and juggling delusions of the monastic orders*; the fornication, spiritual fornication or idolatry; and the thefts, the various iniquitous modes by which the laity were robbed of their money, such for instance as the sale of indulgences and the like,
He further observes, in somewhat more guarded language indeed, that "it seems to be the same with ^ regard to the river Euphrates, which appears to 66 be spoken of metaphorically in Rev. xvi. 12, 6 and literally in ix. 14"-To me, I must confess, nothing of the kind appears to be the case. The Euphrates in both passages symbolizes the Turkish empire; with this difference indeed, that in the latter it denotes the comparatively small kingdom in its immediate vicinity which was the cradle of the Ottoman monarchy, while in the former it denotes the immense empire afterwards subject to the Turkish sceptre. Thus the Tiber might be used to represent the Roman empire from beginning to end. The truth of this observation will appear simply by paraphrasing in both passages the great river Euphrates, by the kingdom symbolized by the great river Euphrates. In the language of symbols a
" and lifken, of meta kuphrates."
* See my Dissertation on the 1260 years. Vol. ii. p. 256–270.
river denotes a kingdom; but, in the application of this language, if nothing more than simply a river were said, the prophecy would leave us just as wise as it found us; for how should we know what river or (in other words) wbat kingdom was intended ? In the Apocalypse therefore the river Euphrates undoubtedly means the true and proper river Euphrates as contradistinguished from all other rivers; but then this Euphrates is used to symbolize the empire wbicb sprung from its vicinity, and through the territories of which it still continues to flow. In the infant empire symbolized by the Euphrates the four allegorical angels were bound till their allotted hour of conquest arrived; and, in God's own appointed season, the mystic waters of the same empire in its adult state, symbolized by the same river Euphrates, will be dried up. But, says Mr. Whitaker, “ As to the four sultanies being " the mystic waters of the Euphrates which deluged " the eastern empire, this is all introduced by the “ exuberant fancy of the ingenious expositor: in “ the unvarnished declaration of the prophecy they " are not the waters, but the four angels bound at
the river, that are loosed; and it is not by a • deluge, but by the fire, the smoke, and the brim“ stone which issued out of their mouths, that the • eastern empire was overthrown". I am fully sensible of the value of this highly flattering compliment, far too flattering for my deserts; but, in truth, neither my modesty nor my honesty will permit me to appropriate it to myself. However I may have differed from Mr. Mede in many points, in this particular at least I claim no higher merit than that of being his humble copyist: and I cannot
but but wonder that Mr. Whitaker, who represents himself as being so conversant with the works of our truly venerable predecessor*, should bestow a compliment upon me, which is due only to himt. After all, highly as I value the works of Mr. Mede, I can discover neither much exuberance of fancy, nor any peculiar ingenuity of exposition, in his considering the Turkish armies to be those waters of the mystic Euphrates which inundated the eastern empire. If the Euphrates denote the Ottoman power, I know not what its waters can be except tbe Ottoman people In Isaiah xix, the subversion of the Egyptian government is exhibited to us under the imagery of the drying up of the waters of the Nile. The prophet no where tells us, that by its waters he means the Egyptians, whom he represents the Lord as giving over into the hand of a fierce king; yet Mr. Whitaker will scarcely deny that
* Letter, p. 2. + “Quidni jam pari ratione Euphrates iste phialarum de “ Turcis acciperetur ? non minus utique quam Assyrii, « Euphratis, ante exundationem suam, accolis, imo ejusdem " tractûs incolis, Huc non parum facit, quod solutionem « ingentis illiùs et diu vincti ad magnum Aumen Eupbratem " exercitûs equestris, ad sextæ tuhæ clangorem, de Turcis inde " in orbem Romanum exundaturis, tubarum seriem reique con"..cinnam veritatem secuti, interpretati sumus. Per sextam " igitur phialam exsiccabitur diluvium isthoc Euphrateum". (Com. ment. Apoc. in Phial, vi.). Unless I greatly mistake the meaning of this passage, Mr. Mede considers The Turks of the sixth trumpet as the waters of the mystic Euphrates which deluged the Roman world; and thence very forcibly, I think indeed incontrovertibly, argues, that the exhaustion of those same waters under the sixth vial must, upon every principle of symbolical analogy, denote the overthrow of the Turkish monarchy.
he does mean them. So St. John no where tells us, that by the waters of the Eupbrates he means the armies of the four sultanies: yet Mr. Mede did not conceive himself to depart very remotely from the unvarnished declaration of the prophecy in speaking of them as a vast flood exundated from the Euphrates into the eastern empire.
3. Since Mr. Whitaker very handsomely acknowledges, that, in bringing forward some specific numbers connected with the 8th chapter of Daniel, I have been happier than himself, and offers me his sincere thanks for the information and satisfaction I have therein given him; it will be sufficient for me to return him mine for his politeness, which I here with much pleasure do*.
4. But, when he maintains that the boly city and the great city, mentioned in the 11th chapter of the Revelation, both mean alike the literal Jerusalem, I am compelled to adhere to my former positive dissent from this position. The treading of the apocalyptic holy city under foot is limited to 1260 years; and therefore plainly synchronizes (as Mr. Whitaker himself very justly, observes) with the times of the ten-borned beast, the prophesying of the witnesses, and the abode of the woman in the wildernesst. But the treading of the literal Jerusalem under foot is not limited to 1260 years, nor did it begin to be trodden down by the Persians; on the contrary our Lord himself plainly teaches us, that we are to consider it as beginning to be trodden down when sacked by the Romans under Titus, which took place upwards of seventeen centuries ago;