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him out as the representative of Emperors, and the bow in his hand (strange as this might appear) as the representative, according to clear antiquarian evidence, of persons of Cretan provincial origin :—2nd the sword given to the rider of the red horse (the word given, where used and where omitted, should not be unnoticed)' marked him out as the representative of the soldiery generally, and more particularly of the Prætorian Prefects and Imperial Lieutenants ; these being at Rome and in the provinces respectively the only functionaries invested with the judicial power of the sword, over the soldiers, as well as military use of it against the enemy, and in token thereof solemnly presented with a sword, within or outside of the walls of Rome :-- 3rd, the holding of the balance, and the words addressed to him from the throne respecting the corn, wine, and oil, did as distinctively mark out the rider of the black horse to be the representative of Roman Provincial Governors : the balance being the emblem struck by them frequently on their own coins, in promise of equity of administration, upon their appointment to office, (on which, as on other points, medals were exhibited to the reader's eye in evidence,) and the words from the throne almost the very words addressed by the Roman law (as well as by that equity which is ascribed to God's throne in Scripture) to these provincial administrators.-- As to the rider of the fourth horse, his name and appearance Death, might have been supposed sufficient of itself to indicate that he was the personifi
In the vision of the first Seal the rider, as first seen, held a bow : then a crown was given him. Agreeably with which, the badge of the bow attached to Nerva from his birth, as being of Cretan family; and of course while yet a mere general in the Roman army, so as during St. John's imprisonment under Domitian. Then presently a crown was given him : he being not born to the empire, and so possessor of the crown, on Domitian's decease, by hereditary right; but presented with it by the senate and army.
In the vision of the second Seal the sword was given to the rider; so as, we have seen, the emperors gave it to the Imperial Lieutenants and Prætorian Prefects. The which receiving it was a distinctive by comparison with the emperors themselves : forasmuch as the latter had of course the power of the sword also ; only this not as presented them by another, but as attached to their imperial office.
Once more, in the vision of the third Seal the balance is spoken of as held by the rider, not given him :—this being a symbol assumed and held forth by the provincial governors themselves.
cation of every destroying power of human life. As if however to guard against the view of him as a mere destroyer of political life, Hades, or the Grave, was seen to follow as his badge; the gaping recipient of the spoil of corpses.?
Such was the conclusive, I may say the extraordinary, evidence, (with above twenty searching tests to try it,) on which our interpretation of these first four Seals rested ; and by them we were brought down, in the Apocalyptic figuration of the fortunes of the Roman Empire, to within a very few years of Diocletian's accession : of Diocletian, the restorer of the fallen and all but dissolved empire; though with a new form of government thenceforward, and under a tetrarchy of emperors, not (as before) imperial monarchy. And still the same conclusive evidence from history attended us in our exposition of the visions of the two Seals remaining. For as, on the fifth prophetic Seal opening, the cry of souls under the altar betokened an ara of martyrdom and bloody persecution of Christians, to follow quickly after the mortality of the seal preceding, so we found from history that Diocletian's reign was famous (or rather infamous) for the most terrible, bloody, and effective of all the imperial persecutions of Christianity : insomuch that its æra was named and celebrated in after ages as the "ara of martyrs ;” and that imperial monuments of the day, still extant, boasted its success in the extermination of Christianity.—And whereas the vision of the sixth Seal prefigured, as next to follow, a revolution in the Roman world, whereby the enemies of Christ and their whole supremacy and polity would be swept away, so,
Compare Apoc. xx. 13, “Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them.”
Including the emblems of bow, crown, sword, balance,—the several colours of the four horses,-the various characteristic words, both as to the articles of food and the price, addressed to the rider of the black horse,-the different agencies of destruction noted under the fourth horse,—and order of succession of the four symbols.—What would mathematicians say of the probability, on the doctrine of chances, of such a series of things all falling out precisely according to the prediction ?
Mr. Arnold's partial attack on this evidence, since the publication of my lst Edition, compared with my Reply, has I believe only shewn more strikingly in the result, its unimpeachableness and strength.
immediately after Diocletian's persecution, the ever-memorable revolution took place under Constantine :-a revolution sudden, and accomplished through fierce wars, in which the forces on either side were recognized as respectively the champions of Paganism and Christianity : the result of which was, that within some ten or fifteen years after, the whole power of Paganism was swept from its elevation in the political heavens; and ere the lapse of a half century more, nearly the whole Roman Empire, in respect of religious profession, converted into a Christianized kingdom.
On the whole I can scarcely conceive any thing more perfect and complete than the direct evidence on which our interpretation of these six Seals, constituting the FIRST Act of the Apocalyptic drama, was founded. And the proof by exhaustions will only appear in every way confirmatory and corroborative. For (not to speak of the other Seals) I will venture to say there can be found no empire, or political body, in the whole history of the world, to which the emblems of even the one first Seal can with strict propriety be applied but the Roman; nor any one æra in Roman history, but that to which I have applied them. And if, turning aside from the Roman application, we consider the attempts made by some (in the want of a satisfactory Roman solution, heretofore unknown) to explain the visions of the six first Seals as prefigurations of the fortunes of the Church, there will be found in all the attempted solutions such disagreement with fact, such inconclusiveness of reasoning, such a perversion of the plain meaning of the symbols, such self-contradiction, and even, it may be added, such unsound and hazardous theology,—that a reasonable mind will only, I think, turn back the more deeply convinced from them, that the Roman solution which I have given is, and can alone be, the intended and true solution of the six first Seals of the Apocalypse.'
" See my critical notice of this scheme of interpretation of the Seals in the Appendix. My respect for the expositors who have advocated it, while requiring that it should not be overlooked, might also have induced me to avoid any very
The evidence of our FIRST PART having appeared thus convincing, and the fulfilment of the Apocalyptic prefigurations been thus clearly traced down in history to the memorable epoch of Constantine and his successors overthrowing the before-dominant Paganism, and Christianity becoming established in the Roman Empire, -we were immediately after it called to consider another very different and most remarkable vision ; without the right understanding and constant recollection of which, it will be impossible to enter fully into the meaning, spirit, and (if I may so say) philosophy, of the series of prefigurations following. The inhabitants of the Apocalyptic or Roman world were now alluded to under the emblematic appellation of the twelve tribes of Israel ; (the one designation and the other being applied indifferently to the people marked out as the object of the coming judgments ?;) and at the same time the Angels of the four winds depicted before St. John, as agencies charged with a destroying commission (destruction from abroad, it might seem from the figure of the winds) against them of the former of which intimations the obvious explanation was seen in the historic fact of the Roman world having become Christianized in profession, in the course of the wonderful previously-depicted revolution : of the latter in the fact of a notable departure from the Christian life and faith occurring in the Church, soon after its establishment on the ruins of paganism in the Roman Empire ; such indeed as to constitute an incipient apostacy.
- And then, ere the Angels could let loose their tempests, another and greater Angel, described as having the seal of the life-giving God, appeared rising from the East; who, after charge to the destroyers to refrain till the sealing work was done, proceeded to seal a certain small, but perfect number, 144,000; as an election, not out of the heathen world, but out of the mass (so it was proved on grammatic evidence 2) of the professing
searching examination into it. But a deep sense of the injury it has done, and still does, to Apocalyptic interpretation, has determined me to make it fully and at large. | Vol. i. p. 233-237.
» Ibid, p. 237. .
Israel. Consequent on which there was added another evidently connected, and as evidently prospective or anticipative vision, respecting the ultimate salvation and introduction into paradisiacal blessedness of a certain palm-bearing company; depicted as a multitude innumerable, out of every nation and kindred and tongue, that had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: the which company, it was evident, was of the same class as the sealed oncs ; only made up, as would seem from its number, of their many successive generations, and gathered (in part at least) out of a world larger and more various in its population than the then world of vision. So the continuous preservation of this election of grace was foreshown to the Evangelist, through all the seductions of the apostacy within, and the desolating judgments from without, even to the final consummation :-it being further intimated however, that they would be thus preserved to blessedness, only as saved ones out of a great, -indeed the great tribulation ; the same that had been predicted to the souls of the martyrs under the fifth Seal, and which was to be greater even than that experienced by those martyrs themselves.—These three points, viz. the early apostatizing of the Christianized Roman Empire, - the consequent issuing forth of Providential judgments against it,—and the preservation of a faithful remnant through them all, were facts, I conceive, hereby made as clear as they were important. And they constituted in fact, the triple heads of all that followed in the prophecy.
Besides which there was reflected back from the ecclesiastical history of the period, such a light on this vision, as to suggest its having a yet further meaning ; and its furnishing hints on two other points of very great interest and importance, concerning both the apostacy and the election saved out of it.— Thus, first, there appeared evidence of its foreshowing the very nature of the incipient apostacy; as originating in an undue and unscriptural estimate of external church privileges, (especially of