Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

forth Christ in his members : the Dragon, the Devil seeking to devour; his seven heads and ten horns indicating all the world's kingdoms ruled by him ;' his dejection from heaven to earth by Michael, i. e. Christ, his being cast out of the Church, or hearts of saints, into the hearts of earthly men :-the woman's wilderness-dwelling, the Church's desolate state in this world ; the time times and half a time measuring it, a period on the scale perhaps of a year, perhaps of a hundred years to a time :(on the smaller scale, I presume, the term of special suffering under Antichrist, on the larger that of the Church's whole tribulation, from Christ's first to his second coming :)the Dragon's rage against the woman's seed, after the absorption of the floods from his mouth, the Devil's plan to raise up heresies against it, after the failure of the Roman Pagan persecutions ; floods absorbed however “ore sanctæ terræ ;" i. e. through the prayers of the saints.

Further, as before, the Beast he expounds as the impious of the Devil's

's body; 4 its seven heads and ten horns as the same with those on the Dragon figured previously : the Dragon's giving the Beast his authority, what now we see ; viz. heretics, especially Arians. vexing the Church, (the Devil's influence aiding them,) as formerly did the Pagans : a partial adoption, (as also on Apoc. xii.) contrary to his usual generalizing system, of the Constantinian explanation of the Dragon's dejection and discomfiture in the fall of Paganism.5 Further, the second Beast he interprets to be an heretical church,6 feigning Christianity, in order thereby the better to deceive ; and setting up for adoration” the Beast's Image, or masked impersona

[ocr errors]

ܪ

Capita reges sunt, cornua vero regna :-in septem capitibus omnes reges ; in decem cornibus omnia regna mundi dicit.”

2 " Tempus et annus intelligitur et centum anni.” A statement this last, peculiar to Tichonius, among the Christian fathers ; and borrowed probably from the Jews. (See my Vol. iii. p. 234, Note 5.) There is no Scripture authority for it, as for the yearday.

3 On the one hundred year scale the end of the Church's 3} times, just as of that of the Witnesses, (see p. 334, Note %) would occur not very long after Tichonius' own time, about the end (as was then thought) of the sixth millennary.

4 Compare Tichonius' seventh Rule, p. 330. 6 See the Notes in my Vol. iii. pp. 21--24 ; also p. 322, note'. 6 “ Habebat duo cornua similia agni, id est duo Testamenta ad similitudinem Agni, quod est Ecclesia.” And again : “Sub nomine Christiano Agnum præfert, ut draconis venena latenter infundat : hæc est heretica Ecclesia."

tion of Satan, under a Christian guise. The Beast's mark and number is stated as X15's=616 numerally ;? and which also indicated an affection of likeness to Christ; (whose monogram, we may observe, was xp5') the Beast boasting to be of Christ, when persecuting him.

As to the Woman on the Beast it is explained thus. Corruptelam dicit sedere super populos in eremo. Meretrix, bestia, eremus, unum sunt; quod totum Babylonia intelligitur :" and Babylonia, the great City, is expounded as the world and its evil population. (Of the seven hills nothing is said.) The Beast that was and is not and shall be,4 is explained in the sense that bad people rise from bad, in perpetual succession. The ten horns hating the woman, means that the wicked will hate and tear themselves; and, under God's permissive anger, make the world desolate. Further, the cry “Come out of her, my people," is one daily fulfilled in the passage of some from out of Babylon to Jerusalem ; (while others pass from out of Jerusalem to Babylon :) and again, the cry to the birds to congregate to the supper of the great God, figures out the conversion of nations ; seeing that when they are incorporated into the Church, they are spiritually eaten by it.5—As to the Beast's destruction, Tichonius makes it (agreeably with his system) that of the wicked, or constitutents of the Devil's body, not of Antichrist.

So we advance towards the conclusion.—Omitting lesser points,” I

Such, I think, is his meaning. ? A reading observable ; though unquestionably not the true one. See my extract from Irenæus, Vol. iii. p. 208, Note!. Tichonius does not notice the other and truer reading. xěs', 666. Nor does he offer any name containing the number.

36 Græcis literis 666 fiunt xıs': quæ notæ solutæ numerus est : redactæ autem in monogrammum, et notam faciunt, et numerum, et nomen. Hoc signum Christi intelligitur : et ipsius ostenditur similitudo, quam in veritate colit ecclesia ; cui se similem facit hæreticorum adversitas : qui cùm Christum spiritualiter persequantur, tamen de signo crucis Christi gloriari videntur." "So Tichonius reads, kai tapeotai.

5 “Hoc in ecclesiâ fieri in veritate cognoscimus: nam quando gentes ecclesiæ incorporantur, spiritualiter comeduntur.”

6 Let me notice one. On Apoc. xvi. 14, speaking of the kings of the world as gathered to the war of the great day of the Lord, a primary explanation is given of the Lord's great day, as meaning “ the whole time from Christ's death to the end of the world.” Then, as an alternative, there is added a reference to the day of Jerusalem's destruction ; which however I take to be an interpolation. “Potest hoc loco dies magnus intelligi illa desolatio, quando à Tito et Vespasiano obsessa est Hierosolyma ; ubi, exceptis his qui in captivitatem ducti sunt, quindecies centena millia mortua referuntur."

may observe that in Apoc. xx the millennium is explained, on the Augustinian principle, as commenced at Christ's first coming and ministry; the strong man being ejected out of the hearts of his people by one stronger, and bound from ruling over them : the first resurrection as meaning that by baptism ; the thousand years, as the whole for the part yet remaining ? of the sixth chiliad of the world; and the little whilesubsequent of Satan's loosing, as the three and a half

years

of Antichrist. As to the New Jerusalem, alike in Apoc. xxi and in Apoc. iii, it is explained of the Church in its present state : (though not without a passing counter-view, given apparently by another hand, which applies it to the glorified Church after the resurrection :') its four gates towards the four winds marking its diffusion over the world ; the tree of life meaning the cross, and the river of life the waters of baptism.-Agreeably with which view the palm-bearers' blessedness in Apoc. vii is also explained distinctly of the Church in its present state. “Omnia hæc (viz. what is said of the living fountains of water) etiam in præsenti sæculo, et his diebus, spiritualiter ecclesiæ eveniunt."'5

To this last expository view I must direct particular attention ; as being now for the first time put forth in an Apocalyptic commentary ; though not without a partial precedent, as we saw, in Eusebius. At the same time it is to be observed that by the Church Tichonius meant Christ's true Church; perpetually distinguishing between it and the ficti et mali within, as well as heretics and Pagans without it.-In his explaining away of Babylon the great city, as merely meaning the world, though expressly declared by the Angel to mean Rome,

See p. 328 suprà.

? So the Tichonian Rule 5. 3 This occurs in Hom. xvii, after a quotation from Apoc. xxi. I, “ I saw the New Jerusalem descending as a bride,” &c : the brief comment being thus added, “ Hoc totum de gloriâ ecclesiæ dixit qualem habebit post resurrectionem.” But this is an insulated sentence : and in three other different places the prophecy is distinctly referred to the Church on earth. See for example the next Note.

* So in the Homily xix, where all the particular figures are gone into.-Similarly in Homily iii, on Apoc. iii. 12, " I will write on him the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which descendeth from heaven from my God," the Comment is; " Novam Jerusalem cælestem ecclesiam dicit quæ à Domino nascitur. Novam autem propter novitatem nominis Christiani ; et quia ex veteribus novi efficimur." 5 Homily vi.

6 See p. 326 suprà. VOL. IV.

z

he was partly followed, as we saw, by Augustine and Jerome : i. e. supposing that their predecessor the real Tichonius originated it, not a later interpolator. It is another of the characteristic and notable points of Tichonius' commentary.

$ 3. FROM THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, A.D. 500, TO A.D. 1000.

The period included in this Section comprises that of the early establishment, and growth to mature strength, of the Papal supremacy over the ten Romano-Gothic kingdoms of the revived Western Empire; also in Eastern Christendom the reign of Justinian, and rise, conquests and decay of the Saracens. Its commencement is sketched in my Part II, chapter ii ; its later half in the chapter v, next but one succeeding the former. The end of the tenth millennary of the Christian æra constituted, as is obvious, and will be afterwards remarked on, an important epoch in the history of Apocalyptic interpretation. It furnishes therefore a fit ending to the present Section.

The Latin expositors that I shall first notice under this division are Primasius and Ambrosius Ansbertus, of the sixth and eighth centuries : then (after a passing word on Bede and Haymo) the Greek expositors Andreas and Arethas, also of the sixth and eighth or ninth centuries, respectively. And I shall close with another Latin expositor of rather peculiar character, who flourished somewhat later, about the beginning of the tenth century; I mean Berengaud.

1. Beginning with Primasius, his name appears in the second Conference of the fifth General Council, held at Constantinople A. D. 553 ;1 where he is noted as a Bishop of the Byzacene or Carthaginian province; in which province he is supposed to have been Bishop of Adrumetum. The manuscript of his works was discovered in a monastery near Lyons, in the sixteenth century ;3 and was published, with a high eulogy on the author, in the Dedication to the French king Francis, by the learned Gagnæus. These Works are all given in the xth volume of the B. P. M. ; that on the Apocalypse occupying from p. 289 to p. 339.

There is so much of general resemblance in this Apocalyptic Commentary to that of Tichonius, (to which indeed he refers as an exemplar before him at the outset,') that there will be no need to enter sb much at large into it, after the full sketch just given of Tichonius. His mention of Jerome's Origenistic saying at the outset, that the Apocalypse has as many mysteries as words, and many hidden meanings too in each word, is ominous ; and might well prepare us for the kind of commentary following. Indeed his seeking for mysteries has imparted an air of mysteriousness and obscurity to parts of it, such that I do not wonder at Ambrose Ansbert complaining of its frequent unintelligibility. What follows will give a sufficient notion of his general views, and of his more remarkable particular explanations.

1 Harduin iïi. 68.

* So Mosheim, &c.

3 So in the Dedication.

He begins with stating the objects of the Apocalypse. It needed to be revealed how the Church, then recently founded by the apostles, was to be extended, and how destined to be limited; (limited temporarily, I suppose ; for he adds that it was to have the world for an inheritance :) that so the preachers of the truth might more boldly, though few, make aggression on the many. Which Church, its great subject, was in different parts of the Apocalypse ever prominently though variously depicted : alike, he says, by the seven Asiatic Churches, seven candlesticks, and seven stars; (the fitness of the septenary to signify unity being fancifully accounted for ; 3) by Christ himself too, as figured on the scene, the Church being Christ's body;4 and yet more by St. John as a representative :5 (even his opening act of falling as one dead before Christ, being but a type of the Church dead to the world :) also, in the other and higher visions next vouchsafed, alike by the heaven, by the figured throne placed in it, by Him that sate on the throne, by the twenty-four elders, and by the four living creatures.6 « Quod est thronus hoc animalia ; hoc et seniores ;

1 Ambrose Ansbert nocices this also. 6 Post quem (Tichonium) Primasius, Africanæ Ecclesiæ Antistes, quinque prædictam Apocalypsim enodavit libris. In quibus, ut ipse asserit, non tam propria quàm aliena contexuit; ejusdem scilicet Tichonii bene intellecta deflorans." B. P. M. xiii. 404.

?“ Fateor multa me in ejus dictis sæpissimè legendo scrutatum esse, nec intellexisse." Ibid.

3 B. P. M. x. 289.- Seven being a complete number : as man is made up of body and soul ; the soul with its three parts, heart, soul, mind; the body with its four, hot and cold, moist and dry !

* So Tichonius, Rule l. 5 So Victorinus and Tichonius.

B. P. M. 294, 295.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »