Page images

the chronology of the larger book of the Apocalypse. The contents of the little book, as Bp. Newton has admirably shewn, constitute a parenthetical episode. This episode extends from the last verse of the 9th chap. to the first verse of the 15th chap. and comprehends all the intermediate chapters, being as he justly observes a complete bistory of the calamities of the western church. Such being the case, it is plain, that in point of chronology, tbe 15th chapter succeeds the 9th: for the intermediate chapters of the little book, being parenthetical, do not affect the general stream of chronology of the larger book. Whether indeed the contents of the 15th and 16th chapters instantaneously or with some indefinite interval succeed the 9th chapter, does not appear: but, unless we entirely violate the chronology of the larger book, they are at any rate posterior to the sounding of the two first woes; and not only this, but posterior likewise to the termination of the bour, the day, the month, and the year. That period however terminated in the year 1672 with the siege of Cameniec*: therefore the effusion of the first vial must be posterior to the year 1672. In this year then, both the sounding of the third woe, and the affusion of all the seven vials, were future. And in what manner ought we most probably to arrange them? Analogy has ordinarily been esteemed a very safe guide in such matters. So thought Bp. Newton. Hence, as the seven trumpets are all included in the seventb seal, he argued that all the seven vials were included in the seventh trumpet: and this is what Mr. Whitaker styles my mistaken arrangement. But I do not depend on mere analogy alone. In the year 1672, both the sounding of the third woe, and the effusion of all the seven vials, were future. Taking the matter then in this chronological point of view, while analogy now with double force requires us to arrange the seven vials under the seventb trumpet, the definite language of the apostle imperiously commands it. s He styles the three concluding trumpets three woes: therefore the last trumpet is the last woe. : He further declares, that the seven vials are the seven last plagues; and, if in his description of these last plagues he: do not give us a description of the last woe, he gives it no where. The very terms indeed plainly shew that this must necessarily be the case:) for, on the one hand, how can the seventb-trumpet be the last woe if it be so succeeded by the seven last plagues, as that they are to be considered altogether distinct from it, and as not forming so many constituent parts of it? and, on the other hand how can the seven vials be the seven last plagues, if they be succeeded by the last woe? There cannot be two lasts. The seventh trumpet therefore can only be the last woe by synchronizing with the seven last plagues ; and the seven vials can only be the last plagues by synchronizing with the last woe

* See Dissert. Vol. II. p. 317.

arrangement. Kohod ,

But Mr. Whitaker says, that I bring a strange charge" against him. I will give both the charge, and the passage upon which it is founded; and the reader shall judge between us. The charge was this: "Mr. Whitaker attempts to prove in direct

opposition to the plain language of St. John, that " the seven last plagues are not the last plagues; and " most singularly brings forward as an argument * what effectually demonstrates the very reverse: " namely, that they cannot be the last in point of time, because it is particularly stated, that in " them is filled up the wrath of God”*. I have given the charge verbatim: I will give the passage on which it is founded verbatim. 1o“ The apostle “ here suggests, in a manner easy to be understood, " that the sign he is going next to mention relates " to the same period which some of those already described respect; And I saw anotber sign. The

66 what Dissert. Vol. II. p. 318. + Mr. Whitaker complains of my overlooking this word merely, as being of prime consequence. I did not perceive its consequence, when I wrote; and I am still equally unable to discover it, even with all the assistance which he has afforded me. Does he mean to say, that the plagues of the vials are the last in point of time or mor the last in point of time? If they be the last, then they must coincide with the last woe-trumpet, precisely as I suppose; otherwise there are two lasts: if they be not the last, I cannot discover the use of the qualifying word merely. They must either be the last, or not the last, in point of time, putting the word merely entirely out of the question. Which does he mean to say, that they are? It appears to me, that the vials are called plagues, because they are vehicles of God's wrath; and that they are said to be last plagues, because the wrath of God is filled up in them, which it would not be if they were followed by more plagues. What other distinction the word merely can make, I do not see. Mr. Whitaker however does not make the seven vials to be the

sign itself was that of the infliction of seven * particular judgments, denominated the seven last " plagues; and that, it is particularly stated, because $ in them is filled up the wrath of God, as if it 64 were intended hereby to caution us against con" sidering them as termed last merelyt in point of

s time,



[ocr errors]

"time, and consequently to give some latitude to " the season in which the completion of them inay “ be looked for*". Now, unless I very greatly misunderstand Mr. Whitaker, and if I do I sincerely beg his forgiveness, he argues, that the vials are not the last plagues in point of time, because it is particularly stated that in them the wrath of God is filled up. How this reasoning may strike the reader, I know not: for myself, I am as much at a loss ås ever I was to comprehend the force of it. It appears to me, that, so far from concluding the seven last plagues not to be the last in point of time because it is said that the wrath of God is filled up : in them, we ought for that very reason to conclude that they are the last in point of time. For, it any other plagues succeed them, then the wrath of God is not filled up in them, but in the plagues which do succeed them; and if, on the other hand, the wrath of God be filled up in them, then they must be the last in point of time, because if they be followed by any otber plagues the wrath of God is plainly not filled up in them but in their successors. If the reader can conceive how the wrath of God, can be completely filled up in plagues, which are not the last in point of time, and are therefore to be succeeded by ötber plagues, he certainly possesses a power of comprehension which I cannot boast of.

Let the reader now compare Mr. Whitaker's confused arrangement of tbe seven vials, with the

last plagues in point of time, because he considers them all as preceding the third woe: with what propriety shall presently be considered.

* Comment. p. 445.

K 2


luminous statement of Bp. Newton; and he will not, I think, blame me for adopting the system

of that eminent expositor in preference to that of my learned antagonist. :: " God's judgments on the “kingdom of the beast or Antichristian empire*, says his Lordship, “are hitherto denounced and “ described only in general terms under the figures “ of harvest and vintage. A more particular "G'account of them follows under the emblem of « seven vials, which are called the seven last plagues,

for in them is filled up the wrath of God. These seven last plagues must necessarily fall under " the seventh and last trumpet; so that, as the seventh seal contained the seven trumpets, the " seventh trumpet comprehends the seven vials, "Not only the concinnity of the prophecy requires “ this order; for otherwise there would be great “ confusion, and the vials would interfere with the

trumpets, some falling under one trumpet and

some under another: but moreover, if these seven «. last plagues and the consequent destruction of Babylon be not the subject of the third woe, the " third woe is no where described particularly as “ are the two former? woes. When four of the "seven trumpets had sounded, it was declared, Woe, "'Woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason .! of the other voices of the trumpet of the three

[ocr errors]

It is remarkable, that both here and in various other passages which I have noticed in my Dissertation the Bishop considers the beast as being what he really is, namely the Roman empire in its papal state, although he elsewhere makes him the same as his own little born or the papacy.' Thus does the truth perpetually, as it were, force itself upon him. But of this more hereafter in its proper place.

' angels

« PreviousContinue »