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tified, even primâ facie, on the hypotheses that Daniel's four great successive empires had each its peculiar and distinct territory, and that the territories of all four united together, reaching from the Atlantic to beyond the Indus, constituted the Apocalyptic earth. It scarcely needs to say that not only is there no evidence in favour of such hypotheses, but abundant evidence against them. If we look but at the context, we shall find that both in the Seal next but one preceding, and in that too next following," the earth," used integrally, means, according to Mr. B. himself, simply Western Christendom; that is to say, has the same sense that he now attaches to the fourth part of the earth. And as to the third part, no sooner has he laid it down as an axiom in his prophetic scheme that it always signifies (i.e. territorially) the Greek, or third of Daniel's great empires,? than he contradicts his own statement: explaining the judgment on the third part of the sea, figured under the second Trumpet, as "the fall of the Latin Emperorship of Rome.”
After this it will not need, I am sure, that I enter at any length on their explanations of the other three Seals. Suffice it to say that they are all clogged with difficulties and inconsistencies, just like those before. For example, who can believe that the vision of the souls under the altar in the fifth Seal, crying for vengeance against the earth's inhabitants, and then having white robes given them, and being told to rest till other martyrs were slain like themselves, can be meant in its latter part as a picture of the Reformation :—that glorious event which was elsewhere partly prefigured, as we have seen, (and Mr. Bickersteth owns the correctness of that part of my exposition, 3) by the living representative of living Christians taking
1 ist. I know not what territory could be assigned to the Babylonian empire, (except that of North Africa, of which Berosus speaks, reaching to the straits of Gades) that did not belong also as properly to the Persian : which latter empire began with, and dates from, its subjugation and incorporation of Babylon.
2nd. No evidence whatever exists of the Apocalyptic earth, in its original and largest extent, having reached beyond the Euphrates or Tigris; the limits of the old Roman Empire in the East.
Axiom 52: “The third part denotes uniformly the third or Eastern empire.”— Axiom 54 : “ The second Trumpet (i. e. “The third part of the sea became blood, and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died, ') relates to the fall of the Latin emperorship of Rome.” Ibid. p. 365.
3 It having been communicated confidentially to Mr. B. So in the Sermon before the Homily Society, before quoted, p. 29; where he refers to it with entire approbation.
possession of that mystic altar-court, and casting out their enemies? Not to add that the enemies of the Reformation, occupying still ninetenths of Roman Christendom, instead of thenceforth recognizing the earlier Protestant martyrs' innocence, (according to the import of the white robing in the symbol,) have ever since blasphemed them as much as before.—As to the sixth Seal, it is hard to see what its earthquake and revolutionary convulsion of earth, sun, and stars,-the prototype, they say, of the French Revolution,-had to do with the spiritual state of the Church visible; which spiritual state they affirm to be the great subject of the Seals :—not to add that, so far as we have yet seen, there has appeared nothing in the feelings of the nations judged under the French Revolution, to answer to that consciousness of suffering under the wrath of the Lamb, which was expressed by the parties judged under the Sixth Seal.
And then, as to the notable sealing vision which follows,-introduced by the Evangelist with the note of time, “ After these things I saw," and which consists of two contemporary and parallel parts, viz. Angels of the winds standing prepared to desolate the earth, but temporarily restrained from it, and the sealing of God's servants, as a safeguard from the winds, by God's seal-bearing Angel,—does it need my suggesting that it adds its own strong evidence, alike from either of its two great subjects of figuration, against the scheme in question ? 1. With regard to the tempest-angels, if their temporary restraining was of importance such as to call for particular symbolization, (an importance strongly dwelt on by Messrs. C. and B.') much more must their letting loose the tempests have been of importance to call for it. Yet, in the scheme under review, the prophecy is made to pass at once from the vision of these tempest-angels' restraint, and the cotemporary sealing by the other Angel, to the palmbearing vision figuring (they say) the Millennium, without the slightest
· Mr. C. Pref. p. x. (4th Ed.), speaks of this as the key to our present position in the prophecy : that is, on the understanding (in which Mr. B. agrees with him) of its signifying the restraining of the European nations from war since the Peace of 1815.-I must observe that, whereas in the vision the sealing-angel is plainly from the time of his rising the restrainer, and the four tempest-angels the prepared inflictors of the judgment, Mr. C. strangely makes these last the restrainers : applying it to the four allied powers, England, Austria, Russia, Prussia ; and their endeavours, ever since 1815, to preserve the peace of Europe.--Vitringa makes the four angels the desolators of the earth, as I do.
figuration in vision of the outbursts of the tempests; which, how. ever, must notwithstanding necessarily have happened in the interval. -2. With regard to the sealing and the sealed ones, here first depicted to St. John in vision, there is a very observable notice in the figura. tion of the 5th Trumpet,' of a certain few then visible, or at least then existing, on the Apocalyptic scene, not only of the same general character as these sealed ones, but that bore, and were to be recog. nized by, the precise mark and stamp here described as impressed by the Angel : whence the natural, might I not say necessary inference, that the chronological æra of the 5th Trumpet-vision (just according to its position in the Apocalyptic record) is subsequently to that of this sealing vision. Whereas the Church-scheme of the Seals inverts this order; making the date of what the sealing vision figures no less than 1200 years later than that which is figured under the fifth Trumpet ;--nor do either Messrs. B or C. seem to me to offer any explanation of the anachronism.
And thus at length, and through all these difficulties and inconsistencies, the interpreters in question come to the seventh Seal : which however they can ill agree what to do with. Mr. C. feeling justly that at any rate this Seal ought to contain something, and also that the palm-bearing vision, symbolizing the Millennium, is the fittest possible termination to his first prophetic series, makes it embrace the seven Trumpets, and so begin the figurations de novo ; with the same commencing chronology as the first Seal. On the other hand, Mr. B. dissatisfied with this inversion of order, makes the seventh Seal the termination of his first series, like Vitringa before him ; and, like Vitringa, finding no other subject matter for it (as it is not to contain the Trumpets) but the half-hour's silence before the Trumpets' preparation, is fain to make something sufficient out of this,
· Apoc. ix. 4.-I might refer too to the mention of the 144,000 sealed ones seen en Mount Zion with the Lamb, Apoc. xiv. 1; since, according to the most natural sig. nification of that vision, it seems to be one in general opposition to that of the Beast's kingdom and followers, during the 1260 years. But Mr. C. makes its chronological position identical with that of the seventh Trumpet's sounding; and is therefore dot necessarily chargcable on this head of his scheme with inconsistency.
See the Diagram prefixed to his Work :-a Diagram which (like the cycles and epicycles of the old astronomers) strikingly marks to the eye the want of simplicity, and consequently (I should say) of probability, in the scheme depicted.
and, after first supposing it identical with the pause on the restraining of the tempest-angels,' has finally (I have reason to know)2 settled down into the view of its being some “pause at the return of Christ,” as in Apoc. xix, xx; whether in Vitringa's sense of its figuring the millennial rest, or what else precisely, I do not understand. Now that one of the Seals should simply reveal a pause, seems to me very incredible; above all when the Scriptural evidence for such a pause existing is so wanting, that we are given the large margin of Apoc. xix, xx, in which to seek it.
Thus, on the whole, our full examination of the Scheme of the Seals has issued, I believe, in its full refutation. Its total failure seems evident, not as regards one Seal only, but every Seal; not as tried by one test only, but by multiplied tests : and, if I mistake not, without one single strong point of evidence appearing in its favour.
$ 5. EXAMINATION OF DR. ARNOLD'S INTERPRETATIVE PRINCIPLE.
In the foregoing four Sections I have, I believe, considered all the main counter-systems of Apocalyptic Interpretation that have been actually drawn out, and that have attached to them any considerable number of adherents. It only remains to add a word or two on a fifth and different view from any of these three, as well as from that given in the Horæ : a view not drawn out into detailed exposition, and which cannot consequently be said to advance pretensions to being regarded as an Apocalyptic system; but which, as directly affecting the most prominent point perhaps of all in the figurations of our prophecy, I mean the Apocalyptic Beast and Babylon, and as having had for its advocates names of no inconsiderable authority,-among others that of Tholuck in Germany, and in England, that of the late admirable though surely sometimes rash and
· So in his work on Prophecy, p. 363 ; “Seal vii, Apoc. viii. 1, Pause before judgment, A. D. 1815,"
? So in a corrected copy of his scheme, communicated to me. 3 So Dr. Arnold, p. 8; referring to Tholuck's first Appendix to his Edition of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
speculative Dr. Arnold,'—it might seem unwise and wrong to pass over altogether without notice.
The prophetic interpretative principle asserted by these writers. and the declared grounds of it, are, as expounded by Dr. Arnold, to the effect following :—that there attaches uniformly to Prophecy a lower historical sense, and a higher spiritual sense, the latter only being its full and adequate accomplishment ;? insomuch that it is a very misleading notion to regard Prophecy as an anticipation of His tory:"3—the proof of this arising out of the fact of many prophecies of promise, spoken in the first instance apparently of the national Israel, or of some one of its kings or prophets, as David, being in the New Testament appropriated to Christ and his believing people, as their truest and chief owners ;4 also of certain prophecies of judgment, for example those on Amalek, Edom, Moab, and the Chaldean Babylon, appearing from history to have been but inadequately falfilled in the fortunes of those nations :5 and the reason being that, whereas history deals with particular nations and persons, prophecy deals with the idea itself and principle of good and evil; which in either case is represented but imperfectly in any individual man or nation. Hence that, although a nation or individual man may be imperfectly the subject of prophetic promise or denunciation, as being imperfectly the representative of the idea, the only adequate fulfilment of prophetic promise is in Christ, who was the perfect personification of all good : (albeit embracing his true people, as being in Him, for his worthiness-sake, not their own ; 7) while the only full and adequate accomplishment of the threatened judgments of prophecy is to be in the final destruction of the world, as opposed to the Church : for “the utter extremity of suffering, which belongs to God's enemy,
1 I refer to his “ Two Sermons on the Interpretation of Prophecy." The refer ences in the Notes that follow are to the Second Edition of the Pamphlet.
. So p. 7; “The general principle of interpretation here maintained, that of an uniform historical or lower, and also of a spiritual or higher sense,” &c:—where mark the word uniform. So again, pp. 42, 70, &c. At p. 31 he compares St. Peter's decis ration, 2 Pet. i. 20, 21, as probably of the same purport. “ Knowing that all Scripture prophecy idias etIMUO EWS 8 givetai, is not of private interpretation ;" i.e. says he, was private, as if relating exclusively or principally to the historic subject; but of larger meaning, as referring mainly to that of which the historic subject was but the imper fect representative.
3 p. 11. pp. 3, 22–28.
7 Ib. pp. 27,2
pp. 12, 13, 19.