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are contemporary) furnished the occasion of shutting up the two prophecies together in one common term : which, however, had the appearance of being misplaced, till the detection of this fingular contrivance, by means of the synchronisms, pointed out the use and end of the present disposition( y].
 The reader may form a diftinet idea of the method, in which the whole book of the Apocalypse is disposed, by observing that it is refolvible into THREE great parts.
The FIRST part, is that of the Epistles to the feven churches, contained in the three first chapters, and is not at all considered by Mr. Mede.
The second part (with which Mr. Mede begins his commentary) is that of the Sealed Book, froin ch.iv. to ch.x; and contains the fates of the Empire, or its civil revolutions, yet, with a reference, itill, to the state and fortune of the Christian Church.
The THIRD part; is that of the OPEN BOOK, with what follows to the end; and exhibits, in a more mi, nute and extended view, the fates of the Christian Church, especially during its Apoitacy, and after its recovery from it.
This THIRD divifion may, further, be considered as confisting of two parts. The FIRST contains, in ch. xi, a summary view of what should befal the
Another cause of the seeming perplexity in which this Prophecy is involved, is, Christian Church, contemporary with the events de duced in the second part concerning the Empire; and is given in this place, in order to connect the second and third parts, and to thew their correspondence and contemporaneity. See Mr. Mede's Clavis, p. 424; and Comment. Apocalypt. p. 476.
The second part of the last division, from ch. xii to the end, gives a detailed account of what should befal the Christian church in distinct, and, feveral of them, fynchronical visions.
It has been thought by some an objection to Mr. Mede's scheme, “ That the prophecy of the open book, (which contains, according to him, all the remaining vifions to the end of the Revelations) is not only, for the subject, more considerable, but, for the fize of the volume, larger, than the Prophecy of the sealed book ; whereas, the name given to it, B.Gazepidor, or little book, feems very clearly to express the contrary.”
If this objection be thought material (for I do not find that Mr. Mede condescends to take any notice of it) it might, perhaps, be obviated by supposing, That the little book contains the with chapter, only, being a compendium of the third divifion, and inserted in this place to shew the contemporaneity of the two laft and principal parts; and that all which follows to the end, is to be regarded as a fort of comment on the little book, or larger explication of its contents: As if the detign had been to consult our weakness, in presenting us, forf,
That, it being expedient to treat the fame subject in different respects, and to give with an abridged view of a great scheme, and, then, in drawing it out at large, for our more distinct inforination.
But the truer answer to the difficulty I take to be That the sealed book is represented under the idea of a book, properly so called, which, upon being opened, presents to the eye the several objects and schemes of the prophecy, diftinctly delineated on the roll, or volume, when it comes to be unfolded, and which, therefore, must needs be considered as a large one. The open book, on the other hand, is to be regarded, not as a seal, but metaphorical book; and is not produced to be read or contemplated, after a gradual evolution of it, but to be eaten, at once, by the prophet; like that book to which it alludes, and from which the imagery is taken, in the visions of Ezekiel [ii. 8. and ii. 1, 23.] --to eat a book, being, in the hieroglyphics, to meditate upon, and to digeft, its contents. So that this book, no distinguish it from the other, is named a little book : not, that the revelations, conveyed by it, are less con. siderable, or less numerous, than the other, but that the hlē, to which it is put, required only that it should be spoken of, as a book fimply; the diminutive form being here suggested in the term Bobacpédion, that the metaphor of eating it might seem the easier; and (because the former fealed book was of an immense fize) might, under this idea, present itself the more naturally, and give less offence, to the imagination.
different views of it, according as two sets of men, the true worshipers and the false, were affected by the fortunes of the Christian Church, this shifting and opposite face of things could not be exhibited together ; but was to be set forth in several and fucceflive, though contemporary, visions, Hence, the prophecy is thought to proceed, when, in fact, it stands ftill, and only presents another prospect of the same transactions.
But I enter no farther into the mysterious contexture of this book ; through which, however, the clue of the synchronisms, if well purfued, would safely conduct ús. It is enough to my purpose to have shewn, That, as the Language of the Revelations is intelligible, so the Method is not involved in such intricacies, but that, in general, a regular, a consistent, and, what is more, a true [z] conception may be formed of it.
[x] I am not ignorant that many interpreters have thought otherwise. But poffibly they have not enough attended to the advice, which Mr. Mede used to give to
Whence no sober man needs be discouraged from reading this book; or will be in danger, I think, of losing either his wits, or his reputation, in the study of it.' For what should hinder a book, though of prophecies, from being understood, when its method may be clearly defined, and its language decypbered? Provided always, that we only interpret a prophecy by the event, and do not take upon us to determine the event by a premature construction of the prophecy,
With this Apocalyptic key then (of which so much has been said), this key of knowledge, in my hands, it may, now, be expected that I should open this dark parable of the Revelation, by applying so much of it, at least, as respects Antichrist, to Apostate Papal Rome. But, besides that there would not, in what remains of this course, be fuch of his friends as did not enter into his ideas EXPENDE. My meaning is, that, if they had poffefled the patience, or the fagacity, to understand this gteat Inventor, before they objected to him, they would perhaps have seen cause to acquiesce in the Method, pointed out by him, instead of attempting in various ways, and to little purpose, to improve upon it,