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that time a province of the Roman empire. This obvious exposition will shew the great accuracy of the
* “ Urbs magna 1. Sodoma ; 2. Ægyptus. Hinc discimus urbem sagnam ad totum bestiæ regnum extendi, nam Ægyptus non civitas erat, sed regnum. 3. Interfectrix Christi. Hinc constat Romam hoc loco non intelligi. Christus autem in Romana urbe crucifixus dicitur, i. e. in ejus finibus et imperio ; in urbis platea, h. e. intra ditioner Romanam, sive in provincia ipsius." Pol. Synop, in loc.
* Hæc urbs magna est tota illa ditio cujus est Roma metropolis : quo sensa decima pars urbis cadit, infra ver. 13. Platea est pars aliqua Romanæ ditionis, in qua spectaculum hoc visendum exhibetur, cujus gaudium se diffundit per totum imperium. Urbs autem ipsa magna una cum metropoli sua in reliquo versu describitur, idque duobus disertis nominibus, et adjuncta simul insigni nota, nequis in orbe forsan erraret
- Primum nomen est Sodoma- Secundum nomen est Ægyptus, non urbs alique, qualis Sodoma, sed integra regio et provincia. Unde hoc nomen non est proprium ipsius metropolis, sed totius ejus ditionis commune." Apoc. Apoc. Fol. 174, 175.
" The great city is that city which reignetb over the kings of the eartb, or Rome, the empress of the world. Streets of the great city are its public places throughout its dereinion ; for the great city is not considered so much in its buildings, as a seat of empire. It is Rome and the Roman empire, says the Bp. of Meaux; and, taking the great city for Rome and its empire, he adds, It is literally true, that Jesus Christ was crucified there, even by the Roman power. And it is moreover true, that the same Rome, which crucified Christ in person, crucified him also every day in his members. The general meaning of this passage is well expressed by Mr. Daubuz : Tbe dead bodies of the witnesses sball lie throughout the extent, in the most conspicuous places, or the chief and principal parts, of the Antichristian jurisdiction.” (Lowman's Paraph. in loc.) Had Mr. Daubuz said singularly a street or a conspicuous place, as the Apostle does, instead of expressing himself plurally, I should have had nothing to object.
“ In tbe sireet of tbe great city, i. e. in Bohemia, one street of the papel dominions, or the great city Rome, in a large sense." (Fleming's Apoc. Key, p. 41.) I do not think Bobemia to be the street intended; but Mr. Fleming's mode of interpretation is the same as my own.
" It is probable the whole Roman empire may be here represented, as one idolatrous and impure city; as elsewhere the Church of Christ is represented by one pure boly and glorious city." (Doddridge's Paraph. in loc.) This argument from analogy is an excellent one.
"It is a truth, which must be held as certain, being one of the keys of the Rev. elation, that the city, tbe great city, signifies in this book, not Rome alone, but Rome in conjunction with its empire : the name of this great city is Babylon-- This being supposed and proved, that the city is the whole Babylonisb and Antichristian empire, it must be remembered that this empire of Anticbrist is made up of ten kingdoms and of ten dings, who must give their power to the beast. A tenth part of the city fell; that is one of tbese ten kingdoms which make up the great city, the Babylonisb empire, shall forsake it-Now what is this tenth part of the city which shall fall? In my opinion, we cannot doubt that it is France -- The kings, who yet remain under the empire of Rome, must break with her, leave her solitary and desolate. But who must begin this last revolt? It is most probable that France shall – Seeing tbe tenth part of the city, which must fall, is France, this gives me some hopes that tbe death of the two witnesses hath a particular relation to this kingdom. It is the street or place of this city ; that js, the most conspicuous and eminent part of it.” (Juricu's Accomp. of the Script. Proph. Part II. p. 261-267.) The reader will perceive the points wherein I differ from M. Jurieu : the passage is cited simply to shew what he understood by the great city.
“ Civitatem illam magnam, quæ regnum gerit in reges terræ, non tam urbem quam. piam moenibus cinctam (quanquam a tali, ceu acropoli quadam, originem ducere potest), quam multitudinem sociatam per caput aut capita, utentem potestate imperandi, tanquam jure metropoleos ostendimus. Prophetæ metaphoras et ænigmata amant. Ita civitas est quasi civitas ; forum, quasi forum. Ita Apoc. X. 8. Civitas magna, ubi Christus crucifixus est Romanam ditionem notat.” Heidegger. Myst. Bab. Mag. Tom. 1. p. 219.
prophecy now under consideration.
The two mystic prophets were not, at the precise time alluded to by St. John, to lie dead and unburied throughout the whole of the great city; but only, as he expressly informs us in one particular street or region of it.* Now, since their persecutor upon this occasion was to be the beast under his last head, the street of the city, where they were to lie unburied, must evidently be that region of the empire which should be subject to the more immediate jurisdiction of the last heud. Accordingly in the very year 1547, when the prophets were politically slain in Germany, the figurative street under the special control of the last head if they first obtained political life in another street of the great city, where the last head had no authority, by the accession of Edward the sixth to the throne of England.
St. John informs us, that their dead bodies were to lie unburied in this street of the city precisely three days and a half ; that is, three natural years and a half : when they should suddenly come to life again, stand firmly upon their feet, and ascend triumphantly to heaven, in spite of the machinations of their enemies.
The two prophets, as we have seen, were slain by the beast in the battle of Mulburg, on the 24th of April 1547. By this decisive victory the cause of the reformation seemed irretrievably ruined in Germany, the street of the great city where their dead bodies lay unburied : the mass was restored ; protestantism was in a manner suppressed : and they that dwelt upon the Roman earth, the papists of the various tongues and nations into which the great city had been divided by the incursions of the Goths, rejoiced over the two prophets that tormented them by their troublesome admonitions ; and made merry ; and sent gifts one to another. But this joy was of no very long continuance. The sure word of prophecy had declared, that it should last only three years and a half. Accordingly the reformers again stood upon their feet at Magdeburg in the October of the year
* In una platearum. Pol. Synop. in loc. + It is worthy of observation, that Spain was not subject to Charles V. as tbe last dead, but as one of the ten horns, of the beast.
1550 ;* and in the December of the same year defeated the Duke of Mecklenburg, and took him prisoner. Great fear now fell upon all that saw them ; but the time was not yet arrived, when they were finally to ascend into the symbolical heaven, in the very sight of their enemies. This was at length accomplished by the peace ratified at Passau in 1552, and confirmed at Augsburg in 1555; by which the protestants were allowed to enjoy the free exercise of their religion.† Then it was, that the two prophets ascended into heaven, or, in other words, became an acknowledged church. Hitherto, although possessing political life, they only stood upon their feet on the earth, surrounded and assailed by their imperial and papal enemies: but now they triumphantly ascended into heaven, and firmly established themselves in direct opposition to their enemies who beheld them, the first beast and his instigator the second beast.
Thus it appears, that an accurate comparison of prophecy with history has shewn us both the time when, and the place where, these remarkable events were to take place. It was necessary that the two prophets should receive political life in order to be capable of political death. This they first did throughout the whole Roman empire, in Germany. It was further necessary, in order to the exact accomplishment of the prediction, that they should be slain in a street of the great city peculiarly under the control of the last head of the beast.
This street is Germany likewise. To Germany therefore we must look, and to no other street of the city, for the completion of the prophecy. Accordingly upon looking there we have found, that, as the prophets first received political life in Germany, so they first experienced political death there : that this political death was inflicted upon them by the very agent pointed out by St. John, the beast under his last head : that the prophets resumed the functions of political life in the autumn of
* " Hoc suadet oppositionis ratio, ut talis sit cædes, qualis resurrectio. Resurrec tio autem hæc non est propriè dicta, qualis nulla futura est ante adventum Christi, sed analogica et politica, qua ad honorem rerumque regimen suscitabuntur. In stylo sacro Vivere subinde est Esse, et Mori est Non esse." Med. et Mor, apud Pol. Synop. in loc.
† See Brightman's Apoc. Apoc, Fol. 176, 177, 178. VOL. II.
1550, exactly three years and a half from the spring of 1547 when they were slain ; and now, once more standing upon their feet, routed the Duke of Mecklenburg in the December immediately following : and lastly that they ascended into the ecclesiastical heaven, after they had stood on their feet upon the earth, and after great fear had fallen upon their enemies, in the year 1552 ; when, by the treaty of Passau, the emperor was compelled to allow them the free exercise of their religion, and to readmit them into the imperial chamber, from which they had been excluded ever since the victory of Mulburg.
All the interpretations, which have been given of this prophecy, except the present, appear to have failed, from the paying too exclusive an attention to the allotted period of three days and a half ; and from not taking into the account those other parts of the prediction, which point out both the time when, the place where, and the imperial head under which, it was to receive its completion. Several of these interpretations are mentioned by Bp. Newton—The prophecy in question has been applied for instance to the council of Constance, which sat about three years and a half, enacted many laws against pretended heretics, and condemned to the flames John Huss and Jerome of Prague. But these two martyrs were only individuals : they cannot with any propriety be termed two candlesticks, or two churches : they did not prophesy 1260 years : they were incapable of revivification, for it is a mere evasion of the plain words of St. John to say, that they revived in their followers : consequently they cannot be the two apocalyptic prophets-It has also been applied to the French massacre of the protestanis on the eve of St. Bartholemew 1572, and the treaty of Henry the third with the Huguenots concluded May the 14th 1576; whereby all the protestants, about three years and a half after the massacre, were admitted to the free and open exercise of their religion. But this exposition will in no respect accord with the prophecy, except in the coincidence of the three years and a half : for the protestants never did more than preach in sackcloth throughout France,
........... not being able to obtain political life in that country ; and, even if they had obtained political life there, as they did in England, still the war would have been made upon them, not by the beast, as St. John assures us should be the case, but only by one of his ten horns or the French sovereign-It has likewise been applied by Jurieu to the persecution of the French protestants after the revocation of the edict of Nuntz. But this pious author's exposition is not only liable to the same objections as the preceding one, but has since shared the fate of most human prophecies founded upon a divine prophecy. He ventured to foretell, that that should be the last persecution of the Church ; that'the witnesses should lie dead three years and a half from the year 1685, when the edict was revoked ; that the Reformation should then be established by royal authority throughout the kingdom; and that the whole country should renounce Popery, and embrace Protestantism. Events have precluded the necessity of any other confutation* It has
* This notion of Jurieu's has, with some variations, been recently revived by Mr. Bicheno. He asserts, that the two witnesses represent the advocates for religious truth and civil liberty ; that tbe beast, which slays them, is the second apocalyptic beast ; that that second beast is the French monarcby from the time of Louis XIV, that the witnesses were slain in the year 1685 by the revocation of the edict of Nantz; that the three days and a balf, during which they lay dead, are what he styles three lunar days and a balf, in other words, tbree propbetic months and a balf or 105 natural years ; and that at the end of these 105 years they revived and stood upon their feet by means of the French reuolution in the year 1789.
I think him quite mistaken, for the following reasons-1. The witnesses, upon the principles of symbolical language, must be two churches : the advocates for religious truth and civil liberty are not two churches 2. The witnesses plainly represent a body of men eminent for Christian piety ; and, as their death means their political extinction, so their resurrection means their political revival. Thus Ezekiel represents the restoration of the bouse of Israel to their ancient political existence among the nations, under the similar imagery of a resurrection of dry bones. (Ezek. Xxxvii.) How then can tbe pious witnesses be said to be raised up again to political life by an event, which threw the reins of the French government into the hands of a set of the vilest and most unprincipled mise creants that ever disgraced any age or country ? According to the prophet, the selfsame body of men, that were politically slain, were politically to revive. Mr. Bicheno surely cannot in sober seriousness affirm, that the martyrs of the revocation of the edict of Nantz revived in the persons of those blessed advocates for religious truth and civil liberty, the demagogues of the infidel republic-3. By asserting that the three days and a balf are so many lunar days or months of years, he violates both the general analogy of prophetic computation, and in a yet more striking manner the particular analogy of that used in the present prediction. It is first said, that the witnesses are to prophecy 1260 days, and afterwards it is said that they are to lie dead three days and a balf. Now we can scarcely suppose, that St. John uses two entirely different modes of computation in the same prophecy; for, in fact, if he did, there could be no certainty in any numerical prediction : it must be left entircly to the arbitrary decision of a commentator to say whether a propbetic day