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............ of a crooked and perverse generation stood fast in the faith of Jesus Christ : and the court without the temple symbolizes those, who retained indeed the name of Christians, but had grossly apostatized from the truth. The holy city, which is given to them to tread under foot and pollute with superstitious abominations during the period of forty two prophetic months, a period equivalent to the 1260 years of the Apostacy, is the visible Church of Christ. * St. John therefore is ordered to meusure, or take an account of, the faithful servants of God, who never ceased, in a greater or less number, to exist throughout the whole duration of the Apostacy : while he is commanded to leave out, and not to meusure, the outer court, as containing only those nominal Christians, who in practice were Gentiles, and who were unworthy the notice of a Being of infinite purity.t
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days clothed in sackcloth. Tliese are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
• Tbe bely city here mentioned cannot mean the literal Jerusalem, because the treading of it under foot is to continue only 1260 years, and during the reign of the Papal born; whereas the treading under foot of the literal Jerusalem has already continued upwards of 1700 years, and commenced long before the reign of the Papal born. The prophecy therefore of our Lord in Luke xxi. 24. which relates to the literal Jerusalem, cannot have any connection with the prophecy of St. John in Rev. xi. 2, which relates to the period of the 1260 years. See the preceding 2d Chapter of this work.
† Measuring the servants of God is equivalent to sealing them. (See Rev. vii. 3.) Hence the commission of tbe Saracenic locusts extended only to those, who had not tbe seal of God in their foreheads; they were not able to approach to Piedmont and Savoy, the country of those tbat were sealed. The unmeasured tenants of the outer court, and tbe unsealed men throughout the Roman empire, are alike the votaries of the Apostacy: while they that were measured, and they that were sealed, are the saints wbo refused to be partakers of its abominations. Mr. Mede is perfectly right in his idea of the outer court; but I cannot think with him that the inner court means tbe primitive Cburcb previous to the revelation of the man of sin, because the whole allegory is included within tbe 1260 years, and consequently those symbolized by the inner court and those symbolized by the outer court must necessarily be contemporary. They of the outer court indeed are the very men who persecute tbe witnesses of the inner court. (See Comment. Apoc. in loc.) The sealing of tbe servants of God takes place under the sixtb seal and during the reign of Constantine, because tbe Apostacy, considered individually, commenced about that time. It separated the wheat from the tares, and was preparatory to the subsequent grand division of the witnesses from the gentiles of the outer court. A new race of gentiles began to insinuate themselves into the boly city at the time when the servants of God were sealed, or when the Apostacy commenced individially : but the outer court was not formally given unto them by the secular power, till tbe saints were given into the hand of the little papal born in the year 606, and till the Apostacy became dominant,
And, if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies : and, if any. man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."
It is evident, that these two witnesses are to be contemporary with the great Apostacy, because they are to continue throughout its whole duration of 1260 years ; * and it is equally evident, that they are to be hostile to it, because they are represented as prophesying in sackcloth, and as being the peculiar objects of the beast's fury. They are moreover not to exist at this time, or at that time, but from the very beginning to the very end of the Apostacy : consequently it is manifest, that they cannot be any two mere individuals. The question then is, what they are ? Mr. Galloway endeavours to prove them to be the Old and New Testament. In this conjecture he follows Colter, More, and Napier :I but he is nevertheless certainly mistaken : for such an opinion runs directly counter to a very wholesome rule, which every commentator upon hieroglyphical prophecy ought particularly to attend to : Having once established the definite meaning of a symbol, never afterwards think yourself at liberty to depart from that meaning. The two witnesses are expressly said by St. John to be the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks, standing before the God of the earth. But both an olive tree, and a candlestick, are equally symbols of a church.ll Consequently the two witnesses must be two churches ; and therefore cannot be the two Testaments. Bp. Newton thinks, that no two particular men, or particular churches, are meant by
* I speak of the Apostacy in its dominant state. + Brief Comment. p. 45 et infra. Mr. Burton fancies the two witnesses to be Daniel and St. John ; but, as he does not even attempt to shew in what particulars they answer to the character of the witnesses, he leaves no room for a regular confutation. Essay on the numbers of Daniel and St. John, p. 241, 242, 246.
See Pol. Synop. in loc. Brightman thinks, that they are the Scriptures, and the congregation of the faithful. Apoc. Apoc. Fol. 169.
S See the beginning of the Preface to this work. | See the preceding chapter upon symbols.
them : but only that there should be a few faithful ser: vants of God in every age, who should protest against the superstitious corruptions of their times. His Lordship is perfectly right in the spirit, though not quite accurate in the letter, of his interpretation. There is so much precision in all the numbers both of Daniel and St. John, that we ought to be very jealous of breaking down the barrier of their literal acceptation.* Scripture will ever be found the most satisfactory expositor of Scripture : and such I apprehend to be the case in the present instance. Throughout the whole Apocalypse the idea of the two-fold Church of Christ is accurately preserved : the Church before the advent of our Lord, and the Church after his advent ; the Church founded upon the Prophets, and the Church founded upon the Apostles'; Jesus Christ himself being equally the corner stone of both. Accordingly we find, in the very beginning of the Revelation, mention made of twenty four elders, who are represented as being in heaven, the symbol of the universal Church. Twelve of these, in allusion to the twelve Jewish patriarchs, are representatives of the pre-Christian Church : and the other twelve, in allusion to the twelve Apostles, are representatives of the post-Christian Church. Whence the mystical number of God's chosen is said to be 144,000 ; or twelve multiplied into twelve, and afterwards again multiplied into a thousand, to shew that the pious constitute an exceeding great multitude.
Whence also the symbolical city of the Lamb, or the universal Church triumphant, is described as a perfect cube of 12,000 furlongs ; having twelve gates upon which are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and twelve foundations in which are the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. And whence lastly the faithful are represented as singing the song not only of the Lamb, but likewise of Moses the servant of God. Now, when we recollect, that the prophet begins the chapter, wherein he treats of the two
• It was wisely observed by Abp. Secker, that “it doth not appear that any of the numbers in Daniel mean uncertainty." His Grace might with equal propriety have extended his remark to St. John, with a very few exceptions which explain themselves. See Rev. vii. 4. and Rev. xxi. 16, 17.
witnesses, with an account of his measuring the spiritual temple : when we further consider, that St. John's imagery of the two candlesticks, and the two olive trees, is evidently taken from Zechariah's vision of the second temple ;* and that he himself describes the twenty four elders as being in the figurative heaven, or the Church general, in the same manner as the candlesticks and the olive trees were placed in the temple, which is another symbol of the spiritual Church general as contradistinguished from the outer court of mere nominal Christians : when the whole of this is duly weighed, and when the undoubted fact that St. John borrows this set of hieroglyphics from the Jewish temple and its furniture is taken into the account : I think we cannot but come to the conclusion, that the twenty four elders, the twelve gates, and the twelve foundations of the new Jerusalem, the two olive trees, the two candlesticks, † and the two witnesses, all equally signify the spiritual members of the catholic Church, considered as one great whole, though made up of two component parts. Not that any of the members of the pre-Christian Church literally prophesied during the 1260 years of the great Apostacy : the prophet speaks only of men of a like spirit with themselves, the mystical children of the Church general now for ever united under its illustrious head, those who are Israelites indeed. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and unto seeds, as of many ; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ-But, before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed-Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ JesusThere is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female : for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abra. ham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
* Zech. iv. 2, 3, 9, 11-14. 4 It is evident, that the two olive trees are the same as the two candlesticks, and that they are not designed to symbolize four different particulars ; because tbe witnesses, who are only two in number, are said to be typified not merely by the the two olive trees, but likewise additionally by the two candlesticks. Whence it will follow, that the one olive tree is the same in point of signification as the one candlestick, and the otber as the other.
Gal. iii. 16, 23, 26, 28, 29.
Mr. Galloway objects, that the two witnesses cannot be those who protested against the corruptions of Popery during the 1260 years, because they were to prophecy in sackcloth ; whereas none of the reformers ever pretended to the gift of prophecy, but contented themselves with being inerely preachers of God's word. In making this unguarded objection, Mr. Galloway seems to have forgotten, that in the New Testament prophesying is not unfrequently used as a mere synonym of preaching or expounding.* The prophesying therefore of the two witnesses is nothing more than their zealous avowal of the principles of the Gospel; their shutting of heaven, so that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, is the shutting up the temple or spiritual Church, so that the dew of God's word and spirit should not descend upon the apostate inhabitants of the Roman earth it and their power of smiting the earth with diverse plagues means that all the various plagues, denounced in the Apocalypse, blood, slaughter, and desolation, should, in the course of God's just judgments, be the consequence of men's slighting the warning voice of his two mystical prophets. Not that it was their wish to shut up heaven, or to call down the vengeance of the Almighty upon earth ; their desire was to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins : the fire of God's wrath would never have proceeded out of their mouth : they never would have had occasion to denounce his righteous indignation against sin ; if they of the Apostacy would have reformed themselves, instead of hurting or persecuting the two witnesses. When it is said therefore, that they have power to shut heaven, to turn the waters into blood, to smite
See the whole of 1 Corinth. xiv. upon which Mr. Cruden very justly remarks, " This term (prophesying) is used by St. Paul for explaining Scripture, preaching, of speaking to the Churcb in public." See also 1 Corinth. xi. 4, 5–1 Thess. v. 20, (which the margin of the Bible refers to 1 Corinth. xiv.) and Rom. xi. 6. The use of the word in this sense probably originated from the frequent appeals made by the primitive teachers to the prophets who had prophesied of Christ. See Acts ii. 14– 37. ii. 18. iv. 10–13, 25-28. vii, 2–54. xxiv. 14. xxvi. 6—27. and xxviii. 28. Se also the grounds of our Lord's own discourse with the two disciples at Emmaus. Luke xxiv. 25, 26, 27, and his subsequent address to the eleven and those that were with them. Ver. 44, 45, 46.
+ " Rain," says Sir Isaac Newton, “if not immoderate, and dew, and living water, are put for the graces and doctrines of the Spirit ; and the defect of rain, for spiritual barrenness.” Observ. on Dan. and Rev. p. 19. VOL. II.