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that it was hence that the vulgar opinion arose that John was to live to the end of the world, and then to prophesy with Enoch and Elias in the time of Antichrist.'-In the first part of Apoc. xii he interprets the travailing woman to mean the Virgin Mary; and the woman's flight of three and a half years into the wilderness to have been fulfilled in the Virgin's flight into Egypt, and stay there near three and a half years till Herod's death: adding however the alternative solution also of the Woman signifying the Church; and the wilderness flight her retirement from the world during the three and a half years of Antichrist's reign; some of the chief bishops and ministers acting like sustaining wings to her. With regard to the Beast of Apoc. xiii, or Antichrist, he suggests the following as possible solutions of his name with the number 666; λαμπετις, τειταν, λατεινος, ὁ νικητης, κακος οδηγος, αληθης βλαβερος, παλαι βασκανος, αμνός adikos: and suggests that the second Beast would act the same part to Antichrist that John the Baptist did to Christ.-On the declaration that the great city was to be divided into three parts, he notices Andreas' idea, that it was the literal Jerusalem that was to be so tripartited; and that of others, that it meant the world and its empire, as subjected successively after Christ to Pagan kings, Christian kings, and Antichrist: but he prefers to understand it of Constantinople; with reference to some apparently recent domineering of the civil power over the ecclesiastical, which made that city in his eye preeminently Babylon.2-On the summons to the birds in Apoc. xix, to gather to God's great supper, he strangely explains them to mean the souls of saints, called from a state of depression to meet Christ in the air.3-And, finally, he makes the New Jerusalem to represent the habitation of the saints after the resurrection, conjunctively with
1 I think Ephrem Syrus broached this opinion in an earlier age, of John being one of the witnesses. That of his living to the end of the world arose, we know, from Christ's saying, (John xxi. 22,)" If I will that he tarry till I come, &c."
"Et quænam hæc Babylon? Nulla sane alia quàm Constantinopolis: in quâ olim colebatur justitia, nunc autem in eâ homicidæ habitant, ex mutuâ contentione, dum cives laici Ecclesiasticis æquari contendunt; imo ne æquales quidem fieri contenti sunt, nisi aliquis etiam ex eis præmium referat, ad majorem divinæ indignationis accensionem." B. P. M. 778.
3 Aves quæ per medium cœli volant animas dicit sanctorum; quæ, à depressis humi rebus emergentes, juxta magnum Paulum procedunt ad occurrendum obviæ Domino in aera.' B. P. M. 783.
Angels : "Civitas quod omnium tum Angelorum tum hominum futura sit domicilium."
I now return back to the West from Greek Christendom, to note a somewhat later Latin Expositor of the Apocalypse, attaching to the period included in this Section ;-I mean Berengaud.
In my third Volume, at p. 236, I noticed this Commentary; and that the writer (probably, from his reference to the Rules of that order, a Benedictine monk) had in a singular manner intimated his name under the enigmatic form of Greek numerals: also that by his mentioning the fact of the Saracens that had overrun Asia, as well as the Lombards that had conquered Italy, having had their kingdom overthrown when he wrote, his æra seemed fixed as not earlier than the end of the ninth century. This agrees with the approximation to his real age that has been drawn by the Benedictine editors of Ambrose, from his specification of archdeacons receiving hush-money for over-looking the fornication of the priesthood, as a sin of the times: 3 this crime being prominently noticed in Synods held at Paris, Chalons, and Aquis-Granum, in the same ninth century.4
The Commentary is one too original to omit noticing; and goes on a regular connected chronological plan, which (however unsatisfactory it may be as an exposition) makes it easy to read, in comparison with the other Latin Commentaries of the æra under review. This chronological plan is sketched at the outset, and adduced repeatedly, even to the end. It is founded on the frequent septenary division of the apocalyptic figurations: to all which sevens (except the seven epistles to the churches) Berengaud supposes that substantially the same chronological reference and order attaches; a chronology commencing from the Creation, and reaching to the consummation.
1 "Quisquis nomen auctoris scire desideras, literas expositionum in capitibus septem visionum primas attende. Numerus quatuor vocalium quæ desunt, si Græcas posueris, est 81." Now the first letters of these seven parts, or visions, are BRNGV DS: and if e e a o be inserted, which together make up (5 + 5 + 1 + 70 = ) 81, the name will result,-Berengaudus.
2 "Saraceni totam Asiam subegerunt, Gothi Hispaniam, Longobardi Italiam, &c. Hæc regna eo tempore quo visio ista Johanni demonstrata est potestatem nondum acceperant sed unâ horâ tanquam reges potestatem acceperant, quia singularum istarum gentium potestas pauco tempore permansit." So on Apoc. xvii.
3 See my Vol. i. p. 447.
Compare Haymo's notice of the purchase of bishopricks, as a characteristic sin of his time; noted p. 347 suprà.
Thus in the opening figuration of Christ, he remarks on eight particulars as given in the description; his priestly garment, his zone, his head, his eyes, his feet, his voice, his sword, and his face as the sun: and of these the first seven are expounded as typical of that 'Civitas Dei quæ ex omnibus electis constat ; et quæ ab initio usque ad finem tendit, in septem partes divisa." Which seven parts are, 1. the elect from the Creation till the Flood; 2. the patriarchs and saints from the Flood to the giving of the Law; 3. the multitudes saved under the ministry of the Mosaic Law; 4. the prophets; 5. the apostles; 6. the multitude of the Gentiles that believed in Christ; 7. the saints that are to conflict with Antichrist at the end of the world. The 8th particular noted in the symbol, viz. Christ's face as the sun, he makes to prefigure the Church of the elect after the resurrection; when they too shall all shine as the sun in the firmament. The testifyings of the saints in these seven ages of the world would be, he suggests after Ansbert, like Israel's seven days' compassings of Jericho; and that during their preachings in the seventh age its end would come suddenly.
After this, the seven Epistles to the Churches having been expounded as lessons of warning and instruction to the Church in general,2 Berengaud explains the heaven that was afterwards opened to St. John as the Church, Christ being the door to it; the twenty-four elders as the twenty-four fathers of the Old Testament dispensation; the four living creatures as all the doctors of the Church; (Victorinus' explanation of their twenty-four wings being here, though without mention of him, adopted :) the seven-sealed Book as the Old and New Testament; (the New that written within ;) and the seven horns of the Lamb that opened it, as the elect of the same seven ages of the world that were before enumerated. The
1 Observe how Augustine's view of the Civitas Dei, as made up only of the elect, had travelled influentially downward.
On the promise, "I will write on him the name of the New Jerusalem,"&c, Berengaud observes, that it may seem marvellous that this New Jerusalem should be described as descending from heaven, when it is known that the elect continually ascend from earth to heaven, instead of descending. But he solves the enigna by explaining it of Christ's descent; in whom all the saints (the constituency of the New Jerusalem) were even then federally existent.
* See p. 316. Here Berenguad contrasts the incessant occupation in divine worship of the twenty-four elders and four living creatures, with the earthly-mindedness and earthly occupation of many in monasteries.
Lamb's opening the seals of the book signified his opening, or explaining to the faithful, the spiritual meaning of the same successive æras and histories. A very characteristic feature this in Berengaud's Commentary; and which what follows will sufficiently explain to the Reader.
Ist Seal. The White Horse meant the righteous before the Flood, white in token of innocence; the rider God; the bow in hand his token of vengeance and conquering, as against Adam, Cain, and the world destroyed by the flood.-The Lamb having opened the Seal, it became understood how Adam typified Christ, Eve the Church, Cain the Jews, Abel the Christians; and so on.
2nd Seal. The Red Horse meant the righteous from the Flood to the Law: red, as the golden colour, with reference to their wisdom; red as blood, because of their persecutions: the peace broken being that evil peace with the heathen which God put aside; the killed alike the just and unjust in their mutual contentions.-By Christ's opening this Seal the spiritual mysteries of the ark were unfolded; and those also of the patriarchal histories, as of Abraham offering Isaac, Jacob's vision at Bethel, &c: on each of which mysteries Berengaud dilates.
3rd Seal. The Black Horse was the Doctors of the Law till the rise of the Prophets: the black marking the severity of the Mosaic law; the balance its rigid requirements of justice, as of eye for eye, &c. The intent of the wheat and barley was very obscure. Perhaps the choenix (or bilibres) of wheat meant the two Testaments, the food for souls; the denarius marking its connexion with Christ; while the barley might signify the good works of saints. Or the wheaten bilibres might be the two precepts of love to God and man; the denarius the eternal life that is their reward, as in Christ's parable of the workmen in the vineyard, Matt. xx; the Church (in the voice from the four living Creatures) praying Christ to give the denarius of eternal life to them that observe those precepts. By the wine guaranteed from hurt might be meant Christians of active life; by the oil those given to contemplation.
4th Seal. The Pale Horse symbolized the Prophets; pale through
"Denarius Dominum designat. Binæ ergo libræ tritici denario copulantur; quia quod sancta Scriptura loquitur ad unius Dei omnipotentiam, magnitudinem, bonitatem, atque severitatem pertinet." I do not understand how Berengaud means the denarius to figure Christ.
fear of the evils they denounced on sinners: the rider still Jehovah Jesus; He being Death to the reprobate. (A rather harsh appellative for Christ, Berengaud allows; and that, but for the requirements of the Seal's chronological place and order, its symbol might naturally have been expounded rather of Antichrist.)-By Christ's apostles the prophets' writings had been spiritually explained. Therefore, it being needless to enter on that, Berengaud confined his spiritualizing illustrations to the history and doings of the prophets; as of David, Elijah, and Elisha; &c.
5th Seal. Souls under the Altar. This vision referring to the martyrs under the New Testament dispensation, Christ opened its seal, when he explained to the doctors of the Church his parables and dark sayings about the sufferings of such his disciples, and their after glory.
6th Seal. The elemental convulsions, &c, here enacted, figured the destruction of Jerusalem, falling of its priests and governors, darkening of its nation, once bright by the revelation granted it, even as the sun in the world's system, and passing away of God's covenant and the Old Testament dispensation from the Jews to the Gentiles. The cry to the hills and rocks for covering was illustrated by the actual hiding of many of the Jews in the cloace from the Romans' fury: as Christ had said, "Then shall ye begin to call upon the hills," &c.
In the Sealing Vision the four angels are explained to mean the four great empires, combined at length into the Roman, which desolated other lands, restraining the winds of life and happiness: Christ being the sealing angel; and the 144,000 the number of elect alive at one and the same time.' Berengaud expounds the Christianized meaning of each of the names of the twelve Jewish tribes; last of all that of Benjamin, meaning the son of my right hand. Whence, says he, a natural transition to the palm-bearing vision. "Having brought down the saints' history in their mystical names to this point of their collocation at God's right hand in heaven, it is fit that this vision should next, or 7thly, represent their heavenly blessedness."
His first chronological septenary thus ended, Berengaud makes a singular break between it and the next, by interpreting the 7th Seal as a kind of parenthetic notice of Christ's first advent: the half
This explanation of Berengaud's is cited by me in support of my own, Vol. i. p. 274.