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A P P E N D I X.

VOL. IV.

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APPENDI X.

PART I.

A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF APOCALYPTIC

INTERPRETATION.

It will, I think, conduce to clearness, if we classify the Apocalyptic expositors whom we shall have to notice under the chronological divisions following :- 1. those between St. John's publication of the Apocalypse, and Constantine's establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire ;—2. those between Constantine, and the completion of the fall of the Empire, and rise of the new Romano-Gothic kingdoms, at the close of the 5th century ;-3. those between the epoch last-mentioned and the middle or end of the 10th century ;-4. those from the 10th century to the Reformation ;—5. those of the æra and century of the Reformation ;-6. those of a yet later date, down to the present time.

§ 1. FROM ST. JOHN TO CONSTANTINE.

The earliest profest Apocalyptic Commentary extant is that by Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau in Pannonia; who was martyred in the Diocletian persecution, just at the very ending of the period now under review. Before that time, however, various brief hermeneutic notices of certain parts of the Apocalypse had been given to the Christian world by the earlier fathers Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus, ranging in date from the middle of the second to near the middle of the third century, too interesting to be past over by any careful inquirer into the history of Apocalyptic interpretation. And, though I have already partially noted them in my sketches either of the æra or the topics concerned, in the foregoing Commentary, yet I think it will be well here to present them again somewhat more in full, connectedly and in one point of view, as the fittest introduction to our whole subject.

In Justin Martyr the chief direct reference to the Apocalypse is on the Millennium announced by it ; which, as we have seen, he interpreted literally :-how St. John prophesied that believers in Christ would reign 1000 years with Him in Jerusalem, Jerusalem having been restored, enlarged, and beautified, agreeably with the Old Testament prophecies of the latter day; after which would follow the general resurrection and judgment. Further, in regard to Antichrist, though referring for authority more directly to Daniel, yet it is evident that he considered the Apocalyptic ten-horned Beast, or rather its ruling head, as identical with Daniel's little horn of the fourth wild Beast, and each and either identical with St. Paul's Man of sin and St. John's Antichrist: also that he regarded this Antichrist as still future, though at the very doors; as destined to reign literally three and a half years; and as to be destroyed by Christ's glorious advent.

In Irenæus too these are the two chief Apocalyptic subjects commented on; and with just the same opinions respecting them as Justin Martyr's. But his comments are fuller. With reference to the Apocalyptic Beast, Antichrist, he directed his readers, as we saw long since, to look out for the division of the Roman empire into ten kingdoms, as that which was immediately to precede and be followed by Antichrist's manifestation : also how that he, being some way

of Roman polity or connexion, (though by birth, Irenæus thought, a Jew,) his characteristic title, in fulfilment of the Apocalyptic enigma, might very probably be A Teivos, the Latin Man, a name numerally equivalent to 666.—Besides which I may observe that there occurs in his Book iv a passing notice of the White Horse and its Rider, of

See the Note, pp. 177, suprà.

2 See the Note, Vol. i. p. 204. 3 Because the millennium of the risen saints' reign with Christ, which in the Apocalypse is made to follow immediately on the destruction of the Apocalyptic Beast, by some interposition of Christ from heaven, is by Justin stated to follow immediately on the destruction of Daniel's Little Horn, or Antichrist.

* See Vol. i. p. 205, Note ?. 5 See the quotations in my Note Vol. i. p. 204.

the first Apocalyptic Seal; and explanation of it as signifying Christ born to victory, and going forth conquering and to conquer.!

Next, turning to Tertullian, his general view both as to the Apocalyptic Beast and the Apocalyptic Millennium appears to have been precisely similar to that of the two preceding fathers. The symbol of the first Seal too he seems to have explained like Irenæus. But by far the most interesting to my mind of his passing Apocalyptic comments, are those on the fifth Seal's vision of the Souls under the altar, and that of the palm-bearing company, figured before the opening of the seventh Seal. The martyrs of the former vision, he explains as martyrs then in course of being slain under Pagan Rome for the testimony of Christ : thereby distinctly assigning to the then

i “Ad hoc enim nascebatur Dominus ;" (viz. to overthrow his adversary, like his . antitype Jacob ;) “ de quo et Joannes in Apocalypsi ait, Exivit vincens ut vinceret.

* See the Notes, Vol. i. pp. 204, 205, for Tertullian's view of Antichrist, and the imminence of his manifestation on the breaking up of the Roman empire: also, on his Millennary view, the abbreviated extract given in the Note p. 177 suprà. But it will be quite worth the reader's while to read the whole passage from which this extract is taken; which passage, I see, is given by Bishop Kaye in his Tertullian, p. 362.Respecting the New Jerusalem, it will be there seen, his idea was that it was to be of heavenly fabric, and would descend from heaven to be the abode of the resurrection saints during the Millennium ; while the converted Jews, still in a mortal state, were restored to, and occupied their own land of Judah adjoining. So he distinguished between the earthly promise to the Jewish people, and the heavenly (typified by the other) to the saints of the Christian Church : and so too expected, very much as I have myself exprest it at pp. 202—208 suprà, that the fulfilment of the two promises would coincide in time. He tells too of a glorious city which had been seen shortly before in Judæa for forty successive days, suspended in the air at break of morning; the image, it was supposed, and he believed it, of the New Jerusalem.

" Accepit et Angelus victoriæ coronam, procedens in candido equo ut vinceret." De Cor. Mil.ch. 15. The context shows that Christ the Covenant-Angel is meant.

* The passages are given in my Vol. i. p. 207; but they are so illustrative that I must beg to bring them here again distinctly under the reader's eye.

1. De Res. Carn. ch. 25. “ Etiam in Apocalypsi Johannis ordo temporum sternitur, quem martyrum quoque animæ sub altari, ultionem et judicium flagitantes, sustinere didicerunt: ut prius et orbis de pateris angelorum plagas suas edibat, et prostituta illa civitas a decem regibus dignos exitus referat, et bestia Antichristus, cùm suo pseudo-prophetâ certamen ecclesiæ Dei inferat ; atque ita, Diabolo in abyssum interim relegato, primæ resurrectionis prærogativa de soliis ordinetur debine, et igni dato universalis resurrectionis censura de libris judicetur."

2. Scorp. adv. Gnost. ch. 12. Quinam isti tam beati victores (Apoc. ii. 7) nisi propriè martyres? Illorum etenim victoriæ quorum et pugnæ; eorum vero pugnæ quorum et sanguis. Sed et interim sub altari martyrum animæ placidè quiescunt; et fiduciâ ultionis candidam claritatis usurpant, donec et alii consortium illorum gloriæ impleant. Nam et rursus innumera multitudo albati, et palmis victoriæ insignes, revelantur; (Apoc. vii. 9, &c;) scilicet de Antichristo triumphales."

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