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region between the two seas, the region whose limits extend 1600 furlongs.
On the whole, it is reasonable to conclude, that the time is not very far distant, when the symbolical heaven and earth shall pass away, and when the personal Word shall begin to tread the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Never were there more awful times than these of the third woe-trumpet. All civilized government has been in a state of commotion ; and the powers of Europe have been shaken to their very centre. The end however is not yet. The calamities of the harvest are but the harbingers of those which shall take place under the last vial during the period of the vintuge.
For ourselves, we have only to labour, through the grace of God and the assistance of his Holy Spirit, that we may be prepared to meet the Lord at his coming. Death,whensoever it shall arrest our progress, will assuredly be the end of the world to each of us. We pervert the study of prophecy, if we make it only a mere curious speculation. We ought rather so to read the oracles of God, as to profit by them in all holiness of life and conversation. Neither a hearty reprobation of the cruelties and corruptions of Popery; nor an abhorrence of the impious imposture of Mohammedism ; nor a detestation of the diabolical principles of Antichrist ; are alone sufficient to prepare us for the kingdom of heaven. We must beware, lest we have a name that we live, and are dead. We must be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die ; lest our works be not found perfect before God.* It will be but small comfort to each of us as individuals, that our country is preserved amidst the wreck of nations to fulfil the future high pur. poses of the Almighty, if we through our own negligence fall short of the promised reward. In fine, our eternal interests will be but little benefited by the study of pro, phecy, unless we pursue it in the manner which the apostle himself hath proposed to us. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein : for the time is at band.”+
* Rev. iii, 1, 2
| Rev. i 3.
WHEN the first edition of this Dissertation was published, I had not had an opportunity of perusing the recently printed work of Archdeacon Woodhouse on the Apocalypse ; but it would be unpardonable, considering the plan which I have adopted, to suffer a fecond edition to make its appearance without noticing it. The thanks of every biblical student are due to the learned author for his very clear and con. vincing Dissertation on the divine Origin of the Apocalypse, and likewise for many valuable remarks and much found criticism contained in his notes on the book. I feel myself peculiarly gratified and interested at finding several of my own positions maintained and established by a writer, with whom I have not the honour of being acquainted, and whose work I had not read at the time when my own was published. Thus, we are both agreed, that Mohammedism conftitutes one half of a grand apoftacy from the purity of Christianity ;* that the apocalyptic great city
The position, that Mohammedism is a Cbrifiian apofiacy, is so ably treated by the Archdeacon, that I cannot refrain from strengthening what I have already said on the subject with his quotations and arguments.
“ Mobammed did not pretend to deliver any new religion, but to revive the old one.-allowed both the Old and New Tefta nents, and that beth Mofes and Jefus were e propbeta fent from God (Prideaux’s Life of Mohammed, p. 18, 19.); ibat Iefus, fun of Mary, is the word and a spirit fent from God, a redeemer of all that believe in him. (Salc's Koran, p. 19, 30, 65." Ockley's Hist. of Saracens II.) Mohammed represents himself as the Paraclete or Comforter sent by Jesus Christ, John xvi. 7. (Koran, p. 165.) So, in Mohammed's ascent to heaven, as invented in the Koran, while the patriarchs and prophets confess their inferiority to him by intreating his prayers, in the seventh heaven he fees Jefus, whose superiority the false prophet acknowledges by commending himself to his prayers. (Sale’s Koran, p. 17. Prideaux's Life of Mohammed, p. 55.) Faith in the divine books is a neceffary article of the Mobammedan creed, and among these is the Gospel given to Iffa or Jefies, which they aljert to be corrupted by the Cbriftians. If any Few is willing to become a Mohammedan, be muft forft believe in Cbriß: and this question is asked bim, Deft thou believe that Chrif was born of a virgin by the blaf (1, e. inspiration of God, and that be was the last of the Jewise prophets? If he answers in the affirmative, he is made a Mohammedan. (Reland on Moham. pref. 25, 11.) Mobammed aroje to establiss a netv rcligion, which came pretty near the Jewis, and was not entirely diffirent from that of several fects of Christians, which got him a great many followers. (Leibnitz's Letter, 1706.) The impoftor Mobammed confilled that Jefus was born of the Virgin Mary, that be was the Word of God sent from beaven, the Spirit of God declared by the miracles of the Gospel, the prophet of God, whose office il tras to deliver the Gospel and teach the way of truth, ubo is to come to judgment and to dejiroy Antichrif and convert the Fews. Thus alfo be taught, that the Gospel of Chris, and the law of Nicfes, and all the proplets, are to be bea lieved. And thus be was better inclined to the Christine ihar to the Hows. Cpanhem. Introd. ad hift sæc.
c.vii. p. 609.) Mohammedisin began as a christian lieresy, acknowledging Cbrift for a propbet, a greater than Moses, burn of a Virgin, the lord of Gul. (Ricaue's Ottoman empire, p. 138.) Sale asserts the Molanimedan religion to be not only • Cbrißian bercsy, but an improvement upon the very corrupt idol trous Afer of the Yews and Cbriftians of tbofe times. (Prelim. p. 15.) Jofeph Mede afluns, that the Mohammedans are nearer to Christianity than many of the ancient liefelics, the Corinthians, Gnostics, Manichecs. (Works, p. 645.) W'batever good is to be found in the Mohammedan religion (and some good doctrines and precepts ibere undeniably are in it,) is in 19 fmall. measure owing to Christianity : for Mobammedism is a borrowed wim, made up for the most part of Judaism and Chriftianity; and, if it be considered in the molt fuvourable view,
denotes, not merely the town of Rome, but a corrupt communion ;* that the holy city is not the literal Jerusalem, but the Christian charch;t that the first seast of the apocalypfe is not the Papacy, but the Roman empire; I that ibe deadly wound of this beaf denotes his conversion to Christianity under Conftantine, and that his revival means his relapfing into id slatry ; that the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast cannot be the fame as the firft apocalyptic beal, in other words that it cannot be the same as the beat himself of which it is only a member (as some commentators have fingularly supposed,) but that it is the same as the second apocalyptic beast or the false prophet;ll that the deadly wound and revival of the firft apocalyptic beas is enigmatically described by the phrase was, and is not, and yet is ; q that the time of the end denotes the expiration of the 1260 years ;
profilby be acounted a sort of Christian heresy. If the Gospel bad never been preached, it 29.19 óc quefiicred zabitber Mobammedi fine would bave exiftel. (Dr. Jortin's first Charge.) The M1. mens are already a fort of beterodox Chriftians. They are Cbriftians, if Lecke 2+;-2: jjhy, b.caufa thuy firmly believe ibe immaculate Conception, divine charaâer, and miracis of tbe diffiab: but they are beterodex in denying vebemently bis cbaratter of Son, and bis equality, as (snd, with tbe Father, of whose unity and atiributes tbey entertain and express tbs moft uwful ideas, sobile they consider our doétrine as perfe& blafpberny, and inpfi ibat our copies of the Scriptures have been corrupted both by Jerus and Christians. Sir William Jones in Afiatic Researches, Vol. I. p. 63.
“ These are such ieftimonies as have occurred to me in no very extensive course of reading. They are derived from authors, who for the most part enjoyed favourable opportunities of examining the Mohammedan tenets ; and they exhibit that religion as riding upon the basis of true religion, corrupted, even like the papal, io serve the purposes of a worldly and diabolical tyranny. In the Mohammedan religion are these articles, all evidently derived from the Christian, and constituting in it a great fuperiority above any thing that paganism or mere philofophy have been able to produce : 'the belief of the existence of one all-wise, all-good, all-powerful, God; of the immortality of the foul; of future rewards and punidiments to be distributed by Jefus ; of the acceptance of prayer, of self-humiliation, or almsgiving; of the obligation to morality in almost all its branches. Take from Monammedisin one article, in which it differs from all religions generally admitted to be Christian, the belief of Mobammed's divine miffion; and little will then be found in it, which may not be discovered in the profession of many acknowledged Christians. Nay, perhaps it may appear, that the creeds of two bodies of Christians will supply every thing which is to be found in Mohammedism, excepting belief in the pretended prophet of Mecca.
« On the whole, when we consider the origin of Mohammedisin, and its near affinity to corrupted Christianity ; when we reflect also on the amazing extent of this superstitious domination, which occupies nearly as large a portion of the glob:, .78 that poffciled by Christians; comprizing vast regions in ancient Greece ada Alinor, in Syria, in Persia, in the Indies, in Tartary, in Egypt, and Africa, which were once Chriftian : we shall readily admit, that, if not a Chrißian beresy, it is at least a Christian apofiacy.” Apocalypse translated, p. 365–370. * P. 293,901, 112, 418. + P. 286. P. 329-338, 422-432. 3 P. $36, 345, 436, 428, 436.
|| P. 352-356. P. 90---4.8. The Archelcacon argues very forcibly against those who with Mcde would ascribe the fulfilment of this mysterious phrale to the age in which the vilion was delirered. “ These words of the angel, describing the beast, He was, and is not, and yet is, appear to me in no wise applicable to the tyranny feated at Rome at the tinute of the vision, reben the angel spake ibem. This was the time of the Emperor Domitian, when a cruel persecution raged against the Church, when St. John boarfelf was actually suffering banishment in Patmos for the seard of God and tbe -. timery of 91:. Such a time can in no wise agree with the representation, that
that the apocalyptic dragon cannot mean pagan Rome, but must typify the devil ;* that the period of 1260 years, or at least a period of 1260 years, ought most probably to be dated from the year 606 ;t and consequentently that we are rapidly approaching to the catastrophe of the great apoftatic drama. In these points I have the satisfaction of find
the beast was, and is not. It is therefore probable, that the time, in which the beast is said to have been, and not to be, and yet to be, is the time when he ariseth again after his wound, to exercise dominion under the direction of the harlot. This time was not arrived when St. John saw the vision in Patmos: but, though future in this sense, it was present in another, as belonging to the vision then under exhibition : for the beast was then present in exhibition before St. John, and in the act of re-afcending to power. This will appear more probable to those, who read forward from this passage to the end of the 8th verse, where the admiration of the inhabitants of the earth is spoken of as yet future; and yet this admiration is fixed upon this same object--the beast which was, and is not, and yet is.”
* This point is excellently discussed by the Archdeacon, “On consulting the writings of the commentators most approved in this country, I find, that by the dragon is generally understood the pagan and perfecuting power of Imperial Rome. Put, I trust, a few observations will thew the fallacy of this notion.
“Where an interpretation is expressly given in the vifion, as in ch. i. 20; v. 6,9; xvii. 7; that interpretation must be used as the key to the mystery, in preference to all interpretations suggested by the imagination of man. Now in the 9th verfe of this chapter (Rev. xii.) such an interpretation is presented; the dragon is there expressly declared to that ancient serpent called the devil; known by the name of Allsans in the Greek, and of Satan in the Hebrew; who deceiveth the whole world. Here are his names, and his acknowledged character. No words can more completely express them. No Roman emperor, nor succession of emperors, can answer to this description. The same dragon appears again in ch. xx. 2. and (as it were to prevent mistake) he is there described in the very fame words. But this re-appearance of the fame dragon is in a very late period of the apocalyptic history; long after the expiration of the 1260 days or years; and even after the wild beast and falle prophet, who derive their power from the dragon during this period, are come to their end. And the dragon is upon the scene long after these times, and continues in action even at the end of another long period, a period of a thousand years. He there pursues his ancient artifices, deceiving the nations, even till his final catastrophe, in ch. xx. 10, when the warfare of the Church is finished. Can this dragon then be an emperor of Rome? or any race, or dynafty, of emperors ? Can he be any other than that ancient and eternal enemy of the Christian Church, who in this, as in all other scriptural accounts, is represented as the original contriver of all the mischief which mall befall it. In this drama, he acts the same Consistent part from beginning to end. He is introduced to early notice as warring against the Church (ch. ii. 10, 13.)—In the succeeding conflicts, the Church is attacked by his agents ; by the wild beast and false prophet, who derive their power from him': and at length'he limfelf is described, as Icading the nations against the camp of the saints. Nothing appears more plain than the meaning of this fymbol. The only appearances, which may seem to favour the application of it to Imperial Rome are, the seven crowned heads, and the ten horns of the dragon. But-the seven mountains and ten horns, of the latter Roman empire are fitly attributed to Satan, because during the period of 1260 years, and perhaps beyond it, he makes use of the Roman empire, its capital city, and ten kings or kingdoms, as the instruments of his successful attack on the Christian Church. -The dragon therefore appears to me, as he did to Venerable Bede eleven centuries ago, to be Diabolus, potentia terreni mundi armatus." P. 324-326.
+ P. 360. The Archdeacon thinks, that there are more than one period of 1260 years. (p. 339-344.) He by no means appears to me to prove his point.
| Nearly all the more recent commentators on prophecy, with whose writings I anı acquainted, feem to agree in the belief that we cannot be far removed from the end of the 1260 years. The very phraseology used by the Archdeacon moft forcibly brough:
ing myself supported by the authority of the Archdeacon ; but in rarious other matters I am unable to agree with him.
The first objections, which I have to urge, are of a general nature ; afterwards I may descend to particulars.
I. My general objections are to the Archdeacon's principle of applying the apocalyptic prophecies, when carried to the length to which he carries it ; and to his system of arranging the Apocalypse itself, on which a great part of his subsequent interpretations is founded.
1. He conceives the prophecies of the Apocalypse “ to be applicable principally, if not solely, to the fates and fortunes of the Christian Church."* Agreeably to this system, he interprets the fix first seals, and the four first trumpets, as relating solely to ecclesiastical matters ; and rejects at once both the usual chronological arrangement of them, and the almost universal supposition that the four first trumpets predict the calamities brought upon thc Roman empire by the incursions of the various Gothic tribes and the final complete subversion of its western division. The principle is undoubtedly a just one if adopted with moderation ; but the Archdeacon does not advance any arguments in favour of carrying it to the length which he does, that are at all satisfactory to my own mind. The affairs of the Church, both Levitical and Christian, have been more or less connected, from very early ages, with empires and kingdoms hostile to the cause of true religion : hence, although the Church is the main end of prophecy, yet, circumstanced as it has always been, it seems nearly impossible to foretell the fates of the Church without likewise fortelling the fates of the great powers connected with it. Nevertheless, the Church being the ultimate scope of prophecy, we have no occasion to go into “ the wide field of universal history”+ to search for doubtful interpretations : we must confine ourselves to that portion of it, which alone is connected with the Church. Accordingly we find, that no nations are particularized in prophecy excepting those with which the Church either has been or will be concerned. Moab, Edom, Amalek, Nineveh, Tyre, Egypt, the four great empires, and a yet fu. ture confederacy denominated Gog and Magog, are all very fully noticed ; while the mighty monarchies of China and Hindoftan are totally overlooked. Now, when we must acknowledge such to be the case with the Old Testament, why are we to conclude that the apocalyptic predictions are framed upon a different principle ? and, since throughout the whole of the Revelation the Church is connected with Daniel's fourth beaf? or the Roman empire, why are we to suppose that that empire is never spoken of except when the ten-horned beast is specially introduced, that is to say, except during the period of the 1260 years ?
The Archdeacou's interpretation of the seals I shall consider hereaf.
to my recollection a conversation which I once had on this subject with the late Bp. Horlley. His Lordthip avowed it to be his opinion, that, before the present cenixry elapsed, the prophecies respecting the defiruction of the Roman beast and the overthrote ibe Articbriflian faction would be no longer a sealed book. "'The days will come,” lays the Archdeacon, " and seem at no very great distance (the prefent century may perhaps disclose them), when, the beast and false prophet being removed, and BabyIon lunk for ever, the devil, that ancient foe, shall be deprived of his wonted influence." P. 470. - Pref. p. xii, xiv.
4 Ibid. p. xv.