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End Times Chart

Introduction and Key

 AD70 Dispensationalism: According to that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'.    Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only when Herod's Temple in Jerusalem fell.    Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of Christianity as seen in the New Testament. "Full preterist" material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views, but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website.  The classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and the convictions of the website curator (a former full preterist pastor).  The HyP theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70 (end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written.  Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and fundamentally different. WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"

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Also by Desprez:
Daniel; or, The Apocalypse of the Old Testament (1865)

 Discovered in the archives of Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, India

Written in Answer to "The End, or, the Proximate Signs of the Close of the Dispensation"

BIOGRAPHY AND EXPLANATION

Richard Acland Armstrong "Notwithstanding its startling conclusions, Mr. Desprez's
work achieved a fair measure of literary success. The book
speedily ran through two editions. Evidence from all sides
convinced him that, whatever the defects of his work, it supplied
a real want. "

John Kitto's Journal of Sacred Literature "a work of extraordinary merit, the most original, thorough, and eloquent exposition of the Apocalypse in this or any other language. Grotius,' Dr. Hammond, and Bishop Pearce, have, we suppose, as well as the writings of Dr. Samuel Lee and Professor Moses Stuart, furnished the hints which are in this volume expanded into a series of eighteen lectures, of great force, clearness, and beauty, and with a warmth, grace, earnestness, and power, at once admirable and convincing"

Quarterly Journal of Prophecy
"He is an ultra-preterist. It is not often that we meet with such frantic imbecility"

 BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD70-1000) FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008) Apocalyptic | Apocryphal | Archeology | Lectures | Biographies | Dead Sea Scrolls | First Century History | Foreign | Jewish Sources | Josephus  1-1000070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra100: Odes of Solomon150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies 175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews 230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus248: Cyprian: Against the Jews 260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."310: Peter of Alexandria 310: Eusebius: 312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation 320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel 417: Augustine: On Pelagius426: Augustine: The City of God428: Augustine: Harmony420: Cassian: Conferences600: Veronica Legend800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World   1000-2006 FUTURIST HISTORICAL MODERN1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea1543: Luther: On the Jews1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists1556: Jewel: Scripture1586: Douay-Rheims Bible 1603: Nero : A New Tragedy 1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry 1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica 1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem 1776: Edwards: History of Redemption 1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem 1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies 1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah 1805: : Remarks on Ecclesiastical History 1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible 1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem 1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary 1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius 1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse 1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy 1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel 1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology 1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse 1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem 1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism) 1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF) 1879: Warren: The Parousia 1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity 1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics 1888: Henty: For The Temple1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance 2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything 2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four EmperorsPrint and Use For Personal Bookmark or Placement in Bookstores

"To us individually, as to the church in all subsequent ages, the coming of the Lord is an event yet future. To us individually he has not yet come; his coming will be to us "the hour of death and the day of judgment." We then, equally with the disciples, may use prayer, "Thy kingdom come," for we may pray for the full and glorious consummation of that kingdom, the first advent of which was the object of their supplications. We too may pray "that at his second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in his sight," for we, equally with them, must meet a Savior Judge, before whose bar a strict account must be rendered. This divine book, like the rest of Scriptures, contains "manna for all hears and for all times," and its lessons of warning and encouragement are not only applicable to those who were pronounced blessed if they should hear and read the words of this prophecy, but to hearers and readers of all lands and of all ages."  (p. 477)

"In their first obvious and specific meaning these prophecies relate to the coming of our Lord at the period when he abundantly declared he would so come. In their second general and universally applicable exposition they relate to a coming of Christ which every man shall experience in his own person, and which shall be to him either the judgment of the great whore, or the marriage of the Lamb; the first resurrection, or the second death." (p. 478)

# P.S. Desprez (1854)

It remains to be tried whether the ideas of a finished salvation, a perfected Christianity, an open kingdom of heaven, a life-state in Christ, an eternal reign in an eternal kingdom already set up, might not have a more constraining influence upon mankind than the questionable theory of an uncertain coming."

LONDON: LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS.

 Charles Dickens (1854) "And finally, the Rev. Mr. Desprez has replied to Dr. Cummings Apocalyptic Sketches in a volume called the Apocalypse Fulfilled, remarkable for the moderation and modesty of suggestion with which the subject is treated" (Narrative of Literature and Art, p. 215) "For my own part I feel heartily ashamed of the way in which I have often interpreted many of these passages in my public teaching ; in whatever sense they may be regarded as referring to an advent yet to come, there can be no reasonable doubt but that they refer in their primary sense to the advent which then took place. " (p. 93) "But, though he distinctly denies the resurrection of our present vile bodies, he does not lead us to suppose that the resurrection is merely that of viewless spirits ; for he says, "God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and the every seed his own body," i.e. as barley does not spring from wheat, or wheat from barley, so the living germ will be raised in the likeness of the body sown. In 2 Cor. 5. the same apostle tells us that this new and heavenly body awaits the spirit at the period of its dissolution. "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, -- if the frail tenement of our spirits perish, -- we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." He represents the Christian as "groaning" in this earthly body, and "earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with the house which is from heaven;" and that he considered this change as immediate upon death may be gathered from the words - "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." (p. 260) "Oh that we had faith to trust implicitly to its declarations respecting the time of Christ's second advent, believing that whatever darkness exists must be in us and not in God! Oh, that we had faith to see in the last dispersion of Israel an imperishable memorial of the coming of the Lord, chronicled for 2000 years in the history of mankind, testifying to men of ever age and clime, -- the Lord has come, -- has effected the object for which he came, - has cast down the city, temple, and nation of his choice, - has erected a new and universal kingdom upon the ashes of Judaism, and has made his once favoured people the undying witnesses, from generation to generation, that "THE END" HAS ARRIVED, AND THAT "ALL THESE THINGS" HAVE BEEN LONG AGO FULFILLED" (p. 402) "The consideration that the passover was "fulfilled in the kingdom of God," need not in any way detract from our observance of the Christian sacrament." (p. 420) "We proved by scriptural argument, which it is as hopeless to overthrow as to evade, that our Lord came, as he said, to destroy Jerusalem, and to close the Jewish dispensation." (p. 434) "It is more natural, and completely in unison with Scripture to believe, that as men die so are they judged - that Christ is judging now, for "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" - that no purgatory, Papal or Protestant, intervenes between the hour of death and the day of judgment." "But you say, Shall I not "lift up my head with joy, because my redemption draweth nigh?" Shall I not say, "Lo, this is my God, I have waited for him, and he will save me; I will be glad and rejoice in his salvation?" Yes, if you are in Christ, you will see him: nay, more, you will be "with him where he is, that you may behold his glory." But you will not see him coming in judgment on guilty Jerusalem; that is an event long passed." (P. 479) "But whatever be the blest condition of the new and heavenly city, we may be sure that it is of no earthly kind. Images, indeed, borrowed from the earth are used to depict its glory and its greatness, yet still its celestial character shines through all, and makes it evident that the Spirit of God spake of heavenly things with a human tongue. But whilst we look for deeper joys and higher blessedness that can be known on earth, let us beware of straining the symbols of the Apocalypse and of giving a literal meaning to every word of this sublime, yet allegorical description. We need not suppose that this city actually came down from God out of heaven; it will be quite in keeping with the rest of the allegory to believe that it was as the Lord says, "The city of my God . . which cometh down from heaven from my God;" that is was the "Jerusalem which is above," as contrasted as with the Jerusalem on earth, and therefore fitly represents as "that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." (P. 492) "Shall the blessedness of those who shall be raised hereafter exceed that of those "who first trusted in Christ?" Shall the promise, "blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," be reversed to mean that the glory of the latter dead shall outshine the former?" (p. 497) "I am the door, by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture." "I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (p. 499)   WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID THE THEORY OF MR. DESPREZ. DEAR Sir,—May I ask you to insert in your valuable periodical the following letter, just written to an intelligent working man, who lately, with much satisfaction, showed me a book entitled, The Apocalypse Fulfilled in the Consummation of the Mosaic Economy and the Coming of the Son of Man." By the Rev. P. S. Desprez, B.D. Second edition. 1850. Concerning this book a writer in the " Quarterly Journal of Prophecy " most justly remarks :—"To this theory the author sacrifices everything—criticism, theology, symbol, history, chronology—with a recklessness at which a scholar may wonder, and a Christian stand aghast :"— LETTER TO A WORKING MAN DEAR SIR,—I have attentively considered the book you lent me, by Mr. Desprez. I cannot express what I felt on reading such a perversion of Scripture ; but I will at once proceed to show you the truth on the important subjects there so barbarously handled. "Let me premise that prophecy, connected as it is with history, is to our theology what the spine is to the human body ; and although while the heart continues to beat there will be life, although the framework of the body be ever so much distorted, still it will be a poor sickly life, very much like that of the Church of the present day. "I begin with a statement which may at first sight startle you, but which you will find is borne out by fact—namely, that neither our Lord, while on earth, nor any one of His apostles, uttered a prediction which has not its root in the Old Testament ! A future revelation, the Apocalypse, was given for the guidance of the Church, for the same reason that the Book of Daniel was given to the Jews—during the captivity in Babylon—because the Church had lost her Shekinah, the manifested presence of the Comforter, and as a visible body was sinking into the spiritual Babylon. "The Scriptures refer to two series of judgments on the Jewish nation, besides what occurred 150 years b.c., in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. First, the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the soldiers of Titus, which occurred 40 years after our Lord's resurrection ; and secondly, that which will take place about the time of our Lord's second advent. " "I am quite aware that Mr. Desprez, in common with many infidel writers, makes much of that declaration (Matt. xxiv. 34), where, after speaking of the appearance of the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and the angels sent to gather His elect from the four winds, from the one end of heaven to the other, he thus proceeds : ' Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.' A Christian, bowing to the word of the Lord, would naturally here pause, and consider, " What did our Lord mean by the term, this generation ? ' He might for a season be perplexed ; but by reverently searching the Scriptures with humble prayer the knot would give way without the rude treatment Mr. Desprez and others have applied. "My Greek lexicon says that the word genea, here translated generation, is in other parts of Scripture translated nation, race, family; further than this, every present generation of Jews was addressed as parts of the whole nation. Thus, in Jeremiah ii., addressing the people of his day, the prophet says, ' Thus saith the Lord, I do remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me into the wilderness,' &c. ; and after going through their history in this chapter he says, ' 0 generation, see ye the word of the Lord Have I been a wilderness unto Israel ? a land of darkness ? ' &c. " "Then remember that in the close of Matt. xxiii., from verse 34 to 39, the nation is in like manner addressed. That nation, that highly-favoured nation, despisers of so many privileges, was to receive punishment for the sins committed even from the time of Abel. And wherefore ? Because the character of Cain and of all other evil-doers was strongly impressed upon them, and would be consummated in the death of the Holy One of God. And from that time to the present, from father to son, in all nations and all lands, have that nation suffered scorn, derision, contempt, and persecution ; and so will they suffer, until in their own land, according to all the prophets, the last and most terrible trouble shall overtake them. Remark in the various prophecies such threatenings as those in Zechariah xiv. 1, 2. But аs in Matt. xxiii. 39, so after all these prophecies a time of deliverance is promised ; for, still speaking to the nation, our Lord says to them, ' Ye shall not see me henceforth, until ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord '—referring to Psalm cxviii. 26, when the stone which the builders refused becomes the head of the corner. Consider Zech. xii., xiv. ; Joel ii ; Isaiah x., xxix., &c. Trouble and the final deliverance of that nation are predicted from Moses even to the end of the Scriptures. Trouble while they continue disobedient ; deliverance on change of heart and mind. (Dent xxviii. 15—48.) Then follows a description of the people who should be the instruments for the punishment of His people from verse 49, and then, chapter xxx., the promise of deliverance is given. "For the time of sore trouble immediately before the second coming of our Lord, see Daniel vii. 9 to the end. Concerning verse 10, remark that this cannot be the general judgment (Rev. xx. 11— 15), because only one of the four kingdoms is destroyed at the time referred to. Most probably it is the judgment on those living at the time of our Lord's return. Before proceeding further, I beg you to remark that what is recorded Matt. xxiv., is to be found in substance, Mark xiii. and Luke xvii., xxi., and if you will tell me what you consider to be the meaning of the expression, ' Times of the Gentiles,' or, rather, when began the times of the Gentiles, spoken of as follows (Luke xxi. 24) : ' And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations : and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,' I shall be able, I trust, to convince you that such prophecies are now only fulfilling, and that they are to be fulfilled most fully at the coming of the Lord with His saints, (Rev. xix. 11 — 21.) Your sincere friend, EM Passages where the word genea, race, nation, generation, occurs :—Ps. xx. 30, ixiv. 6, xiv. 6, cxii. 2 ; 1 Peter ii. 9 ; Dent. xxxii. 20; Phil. ii. 15. These are a few out of numerous passages that might be adduced."  (The Rainbow, a magazine of Christian Literature, pp. 184,185) IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO WHIP THIS TEXT INTO SHAPE, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT TODD @ PRETERISTARCHIVE.COM PREFACE THE   SECOND   EDITION. IN order to save readers and critics trouble, the author takes this opportunity of saying that the principle of his book, Christ already come, is set forth in Lecture 16. That Lecture may be consulted first, and if the proba- bility of its correctness is found to be such as to induce further investigation, the study of the rest of the Book will follow as a matter of course. He also desires to express his deep sense of the import- ance of the present subject of inquiry both in itself and in its consequences. If he is right, the expositions of the Apocalypse with which, alas, hundreds of pulpits are now resounding, must be as utterly at variance with Truth and Scripture as they are with reason and common sense ; and views like those advocated in Dr. Gumming's "End of the World," must be as false and presumptuous as they are deficient in argument and in a due consideration of the rules of biblical interpretation. If he is wrong, it is incumbent on those in authority to expose his error, and not to suffer heresy to stalk through a Second Edition unreproved.   VI PREFACE TO THE John defines as " that old serpent called the Devil and Satan," transmuted into heathen Rome, and of his casting out of his mouth an eruption of Visigoths, Vandals, arid Huns, into Italy, all of whom were Arians III 1 learnt, to my amazement, that the earth opening her mouth and swallowing up the flood emitted by the dra- gon, prefigured the swallowing up of these heterodox Arians into the orthodox Trinitarian population of Italy. I stood aghast at the omnipotence of the magic wand, which could with a touch change a mighty angel into our Lord Jesus Christ, and then with another touch could transform the Saviour into Pope Leo X. I felt the sub- ject to be wholly out of the reach of my limited percep- tion, which could resolve the mighty voice of the angel into the roaring of Pope Leo X. against Luther, and the seven thunders into the thunders of the Vatican. I found, to my great surprise, that the image of the beast meant general councils; and the power to give life to the image of the beast prefigured the right of the clergy to vote at those councils. I found, — what did I not find that did not savour of the apocryphal and the marvellous? — I found that no limit would be put to my credulity, and that at last I was required to believe that a certain hail-storm which injured parts of Frame, on Sunday, July 13, 1788, was foretold in the Apocalypse, and that a little frog called the Tractarian heresy had been heard by St. John to croak all the way from St. Barnabas to Patmos, at a distance of nearly 2000 years ! Now this was really too much. It would require an opening of the earth, such as that which swallowed up the heterodox Arians into the Trinitarian population of Italy, to believe it all; and it occurred to me (and I hope FIRST EDITION. Vll I may say so without presumption, although Dr. Gum- ming affirms he has never yet read anything to make him dissatisfied with the correctness of his interpretations), that the exposition of the Apocalypse might not be finally settled, and that there might be room for another attempt. Accordingly I resolved to use my Protestant privilege of searching the Scriptures for myself, and with the help of the Commentary of the learned American expositor Moses Stuart, and the aid of those Jewish, Heathen, and Christian writers who lived nearest to those days, I plunged into the Book, of which Dr. South said, " It either finds a man mad or makes him so." The principle upon which I have conducted this in- vestigation is founded on that most clear, universally ex- pressed, and Scriptural truth, that our Lord came, a$he said, to destroy Jerusalem, and to close the dispensation. No doctrine of Christianity stands on more ample evi- dence, and none is capable of more complete and definite proof. The reason why it is not more generally insisted upon, is that we are accustomed to look at the destruc- tion of Jerusalem, and the close of the Jewish dispensa- tion, in the same light as the destruction of any other city and people. This is a false point of view. That awful consummation was the grandest event, both in its nature and in its consequences, which has rolled along the stream of time. It was the breaking up, not of a dynasty, but of a dispensation ; not of a city and nation, but of a religion — a religion established by God himself, and which for 2000 years was the only religion vouch- safed to man. As a sequence to this indisputable fact follows the ga-thering of the elect at the same period. The two events are inseparably connected together in Holy Scripture. If our Lord came, as he said, before that generation had passed away, — if he came, as he said, to destroy that city and people, and to close the age, — if he came, as he said, before his disciples had gone through the cities of Israel, and if some who heard his words did not taste of death till they saw the " Son of Man coming in his king- dom,"— then he also gathered his elect at the same time. There is no alternative; this must either be true, or the Bible must be false. That he did so come is proved to a demonstration by his effecting the objects for which he . came : that he also gathered his elect (although the sub- ject is necessarily incapable of the same kind of proof) is the natural consequence, and the deducible corollary from the coming of the Son of Man. I look upon this Book, as its title imports, as the Apo- calypse of Jesus Christ— as the revealing and unfolding of those scenes and events which accompanied his coming. One note rings through all its seals, trumpets, and vials, and the note struck is the " Lord is at hand." One bur- den is heard through all its symbols and allegories, and that is,- "Maran Atha," the Lord cometh. One cry is distinguishable in the midst of sounds of terrific vengeance taken upon a particular land, a particular people, and a particular city, and that—" Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him." The Book from beginning to end, from A to /2, is nothing else than a prophetical drama, an allegorical representation of the Apocalypse (as our Lord's coming is frequently called in Scripture) of Jesus Christ. It contains no new prophecy distinct from those uttered by our Lord. Had such prophetic teaching FIRST EDITION. IX been necessary, it is not likely that he would have left it to his disciples to make such announcement. They but repeated their Master's words; and the Apocalypse is only a recapitulation, a reiteration, of his awful sayings : " Im- mediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory; and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."1 It gives additional weight to this principle of interpre- tation, that under its application the difficulties of the Apocalypse are no longer insurmountable. It is notorious the Book has never yet received a satisfactory explana- tion, and that great and good men have shrunk back from its symbols in despair. Much that has been written upon it is mere guess-work, and not a little so completely shrouded in mysticism as to render it " confusion worse confounded." By applying this principle, an interpretation can be given, easy, simple, natural, and, above all, one suited to the circumstances of the case, and to the date and age of the Apocalypse. By applying this principle,—a principle, be it remembered, distinctly recognised in Holy Scripture, — the Book is no longer unintelligible ; its mysteries vanish, its figures and allegories shape themselves into palpable truths, its enigmas are resolved, a clue can be 1 Matt. xxiv. 2J), 30, 31. X PRIBITMJB TO THE found for all its varied symbols, and an exposition can be offered for all its hieroglyphic machinery. By applying this principle, the propriety of that angelic interposition so continuously exerted throughout the Apocalypse is seen at once ; an interposition, let us bear in mind, which prevailed in the world up to that period, but which has never since been heard of amongst men. By applying this principle, an exposition can be found for a Book containing more complicated variety, more hetero- geneous matter, more opposite symbols, and more diver- sified allegory, than any other book in the world. A Book which mixes together in one apparent mass of inextricable confusion, earth and heaven, men and angels, Christ and demons, a perishing earthly city and the city of our God. A Book, containing within a very limited compass, cha- racters, events, times, places, circumstances, so widely different from each other, that this world alone cannot supply them. A Book introducing upon the theatre of its complicated action, Roman invaders and Euphratean allies; Kings of the east, Kings of the earth, and Kings of the whole world; Nero and Vespasian; Titus and John of Gischala; Antiochus and Sohemus ; Malchus and Agrippa ; Michael and Satan ; the false Prophet and Him called Faithful and True; the great red Dragon and the Word of God. A Book describing upon its variegated map the Tiber and the Jordan ; the Mediterranean and the Euphrates ; Patmos and Sodom; Ephesus and Egypt; Rome and Great Babylon ; the Wilderness and Mount Zion ; the Bottomless pit and the New Jerusalem. A Book comprising within the many-coloured sphereFIRST EDITION XJ of its development, Heathen persecutors and Christian martyrs; Jewish Prophets and holy Apostles ; the Beast and the Lamb, dypiov, apviov; the Whore and the Bride, iropvrj, yvv*i; the Apostasy and the Church ; the Rene- gades and the Witnesses ; the Image of the Beast and the King of Kings ; his Mark and the Number of his Name, and the Lord of Lords; ihe idol-branded in their fore- heads and in their hands, the angel-sealed in their fore- heads with the seal of the living God ; the worshippers of the Beast and the worshippers of Him that made heaven, and earth, and sea; the fire and brimstone, and the pre- sence of the Lamb ; the first resurrection and the second death. A Book detailing in awe-struck language, a reign of terror, a triumph of sublime agony and despair, mingled with notes of ecstatic gladness and of pealing conquest; the measure of wheat for a penny and the measure of barley for a penny, and the " tree of life bearing twelve manner of fruits ;" death on the pale horse, and hell fol- lowing him, and the "river of life clear as crystal; " ene- mies of Christ gnawing their tongues for pain, and ser- vants of the Lord shouting victory ; the scorpion-stricken longing for death, and the redeemed from among men, the redeemed from the earth, singing Alleluia ; the great city divided into three parts, and the holy city coining down from God out of heaven ; the outer court of the temple given unto the Gentiles, and the golden city which had no temple therein ; the tribes of the earth mourning, and the elect gathered ; the supper of the great God and the marriage of the Lamb; the wine-press trodden without the city, and the Book of Life ; the harvest of the earth, and the sealing of the 144,000 ; the armies of heaven, and Xll PREFACE TO THE the resurrection of the just; thrones and judgment, and the coming of the Son of Man. Such the diversified, the miscellaneous, the unearthly, the unique character of this wonderful Book : heaven, and earth, and hell provide the actors on its mysterious pages, and the scenes of its awful disclosures reach from the throne of the Eternal to the bottomless pit. Who shall unfold its hidden mysteries ? who shall penetrate into its dark recesses ? " Here is wisdom.'1 A key must be found to fit a lock whose wards are so intricate and so complicated that no false key can make its springs revolve. A demonstration must be given to a problem so knotty and tangled, that a mistake in the pre- mises must lead to a wrong conclusion. An answer must be discovered for an enigma so sphinx-like and so per- plexing, that an uncertain reply tells its own tale imme- diately of impotence and error. An exposition must be found for an Apocalypse which has defied the world.1 That key—that demonstration —that answer—that expo- sition can he found. Like all great truths, it is of simple and easy comprehension. The key to the Apocalypse, and the only key, is the 1 " No competent, and at the same time unprejudiced, judge will deny, that after all the labour bestowed on its explanation, no book of the New Testament has so defied all attempts to settle its interpretation." — Bloomfield. " My readers will naturally expect that I should either give a decided preference to some one of the opinions stated above, or produce one of my own. I can do neither, nor can I pretend to explain the Book. I do not understand it; and in the things which concern so sublime and awful a subject, 1 dare not, as my predecessors, indulge in conjecture*" — Dr. Adam Clarke. " Mihi tota apocalypsis valde ohscura videtur: et talis, cujus expli- catio citra periculum vix queat tentari. Fateor me hactenus in nullius Scripti Biblici lectione minus proficerc quam in hoc obscurisshno vaticinio." — Grawrus. FIRST EDITION. dosing of the Jewish dispensation, the gathering of the elect, and the coming of the Son of Man. The nature of the interpretation about to be offered proceeds upon this principle. It takes for granted, that the Book really is, what at the outset it professes to be, viz. "The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass/' It assumes, that if it was a Reve- lation it must have been intelligible ; if it was a Revelation shown to the servants of Christ, it must have been intelli- gible to them; if it was a Revelation of " things which must shortly come to pass," it is folly, nay more, it is impiety, to look for an exposition in the distant future, for it must have a distinct and specific reference to the circumstances of the Church in those days. It only remains for me to add, that although I have fre- quently found it necessary to vindicate the Church of Rome from what I considered unfair attacks, I am neither a Tractarian nor a Jesuit in disguise. My sole aim and object has been to elicit truth, and, to attain this, I have done what my readers must do likewise,— I have renounced all dependence upon commentaries, canons, councils, or Fathers, and have searched the Scriptures for myself. The result is the exposition now offered: if it is to be condemned for its novelty, that novelty may be considered as an indication of the genuine Protestant feeling which has prompted such an investigation. To affirm that pro- gress may be made in mental, moral, physical, but not in spiritual science, is a thought worthy of the dark ages. Wolvcrhampton, September, 1854.CONTENTS. LECTURE I. PAGE Date of the Apocalypse ------- I LECTURE II. The Sealed Book --..-. 30 LECTURE III. Opening of the First Four Seals - - - » -49 LECTURE IV. The Fifth Seal. The ^Era of Martyrs - - - - -66 LECTURE V. The Sixth Seal -------- 84 LECTURE VI. God's Sealed Ones - ... - . 105 LECTURE VII. The First Four Trumpets and Vials - A. - 131 LECTURE The Fifth Trumpet and Vial - - - - - - 1GI LECTURE IX. The Sixth Trumpet and Sixth Vial - - - - -186 XVI CONTENTS. LECTUKE X. PAGE The Open Book.......209 LECTUKE XI. The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses - - - - 244 LECTURE XII. The Seventh Trumpet and the Seventh Vial .... 286 LECTURE XIII. The Church in the Wilderness - - - - . . 307 LECTURE XIV. The Beast rising from the Sea, and the Beast coming up out of (lie Earth........32,5 LKCTUKK XV. Babvlon - - - - - - - -357 LECTURE XVI. The Coming of Christ ----.-. 390 LECTURE XVII. The Millennium, the Judgment, and the Kingdom ... 433 LECTURE XVIII. The New Jerusalem -----.. 472 APPENDIX. The Identity betoreen the Trumpets and Vials .... 508 APOCALYPSE FULFILLED, CONSUMMATION OF THE MOSAIC ECONOMY, AND THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN. LECTURE L DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 1 REV. 1, 2, 3. 22 REV. 6, 7- 16. i 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (). And he said unto me, These which God gave unto him, to shew sayings arc faithful and true : and unto his servants things which W/M.V/ the Lord God of the holy prophets shortly come to paxs : and he sent and ; sent his angel to shew unto his ser- signifted it hy his angel unto his ser- vants the things which mu&t shortly vant John : he done. 2. Who hare record of the word 7- Behold, I conic quickly: blessed of God, and of the testimony of Jesus i,v he that keepeth the sayings of the Christ, and of all things that he saw. ; prophecy of this hook. 3. Blessed ?V he that readeth, and j I(>. I Jesus have sent mine angel they that hear the words of this pro- : to testify unto you these things in phecy, and keep those things which the churches* are written therein : for the time is at hand. OUR first Lecture must be devoted to establish certain prelimi- naries upon which the whole theory of the subsequent interpre- tation is to be grounded. Here it is of the utmost importance that the base of the future superstructure should be firm and strong. 2 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LECT. I. We are about to erect a building, to raise story upon story, to pile up casement upon casement; it is well then to look to the foundation that it is securely laid, "lest haply after we have begun to build, we should not be able to finish," and the edifice erected at so much cost and care should fall headlong to the ground. As a preliminary of the highest moment with regard to the subsequent interpretation, it is proposed to consider in this Introductory Lecture the question of the date of the Apo-' calypse. Here is a material difference of opinion. We have men of high classical attainments and critical acumen maintaining the Neronic date, I. e. that the Apoca- lypse was written during the reign of Nero, and consequently before the destruction of JerusalemJ; and others of equally high reputation defending the Domitianic date, /. e. that it was written during the reign of Dornitian, and consequently after the destruction of Jerusalem. Who shall decide ? And yet a decision must be come to; all subsequent interpretation depends upon this question ; it is a point of all others most necessary to be attained. If the Apocalypse was written in the time of Nero, before the destruction of Jerusalem, a consistent, reasonable, and satisfactory explanation can be given of the book : if written in the reign of Domitian, after the destruction of Jerusalem, that line of interpretation only can be adopted which rests on the will and caprice of the interpreter ; and this opens so \viefore the destruction of Jerusalem." Professor Lee : 4' I take it for granted that the author lived some time before the destruction of Jerusalem/' Moses Stuart: " That the Apocalypse was written under the bloody reign of Nero, or shortly after, is a matter agreed on by nearly all the recent critics who have studied the literature of this hook." To these rnav lie added, Sir J. Newton, Ilen- tenius, Harduin, Orotius, Lightfoot, Schleusner, Hammond, Dr. A. Clarke, Wetstein, and many others. " \Vetstein contends, and he is supported by very great men among the ancients and moderns, that the Book of Revelation was written before the Jewish war and the civil wars in Italy. That the im- portant events which took place at that thru*, the greatest that ever happened since the foundation of the world, were worthy enough of the Divine notice, as the affairs of his church were so intimately connected with them."—Dr. Adam Clarke. LECT. L] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 3 dictoryl views of the same symbol, or for interpreters holding the same religious tenets, to place an interval of 1000 years more or less between their several interpretations. Now before any argument in favour of the Neronic date can have weight, it must be shown that sufficient ground exists for receiving with diminished confidence the common opinion that the Revelation was seen by St. John in the reign of Domitian; and as the question of the date is not determined in Scripture, it will be necessary to examine the opinions of the early Chris- tian Fathers upon this point. The defenders of the Domitianic date rely chiefly on a pas- sage of IreiWHis2, quoted verbatim by Eusebius in the 3rd and 5th books of his Ecclesiastical History :—" For had it been necessary that his name should be in open publication at the present time, it would have been mentioned by him, especially as being the one who saw the Apocalypse; for it is not so long a^o since it was seen, but almost in our own generation, at the close of the reign of Domitian." This statement of Irenseus is considerably weakened, if not shown utterly unworthy of credit, by a similar statement of the same writer, professedly derived from those who had received it from the Apostle John and the other Apostles, that Christ lived to be near fifty years of aye. — (Con. Hair. lib. vi. cap. 20.) If we add to this his belief in the absurd opinion of the Alex- andrian Jews respecting the miraculous version of the LXX. (Eus. Eccles. Hist. v. 8.), and his adoption of the millennial views of Papias (Ens. Ecrles. Hist. iii. 3[).), it will be seen that no implicit reliance can be placed upon a writer guiJty of 1 Lufher asserted that the Beast, Rev. xvii., was the Pope. The Pope asserted that the Beast was Luther, and the false prophet Calvin. Luther said that the number of the Beast indicated by the numerals u'6'6 was to be found in the name of the Pope. The Pope retaliated by finding the number of the Beast in the name of Luther. " The common method of interpretation founded on the hypothesis that the book was written after the destruction of Jerusalem, is utterly destitute of certainty, and leaves every commentator to the luxuriance of his own fancy, as is sufficiently evident from what has been done already on this book." — Wetstein's Gr. Test vol. ii. p. 88.0. 2 " El Si test di'(i0(mY;r eV TM rvi' k'cupfi tctjpvmffOat Tovro^a avrov tY twlt'ov ai' IpptOtj rov KCI] rijr inroi;u\v\l>ti' twpak'oroc;. OvCf yap Trpu Tro\\ov \poi'ov EutpaOrj ciXXci rr^ttV)!' t7Ti n/f >//ier*p(i£ ytrecce Tpoc Tfri\£i Ao/uc- rmrov a/>x>/c."—Irciifeus; in Hter. v. 30. ; Eus. Eccles. Hist. iii. 18., v. 8. B 2 4 BATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LECT. I. such gross blunders, and that nothing is more probable than that he should have committed an error with regard to the date of the Apocalypse. Eusebius1, however, appears to have relied entirely on this passage of Irenams as determining the time when the Apocalypse was seen, and to have drawn from it the conclusion that St. John saw the Apocalypse in the reign of Domitian.2 He says: "In this persecution it is handed down by tradition that the Apostle and Evangelist John, who was yet living, in consequence of his testimony to the Divine word, was condemned to dwell on the Island of Patmos ;" and then he quotes the passage of Irenanis before referred to as the source from whence this tradition sprang. This is of great consequence, because it serves to show, that the opinion of Eusebius /',? not independent testimony, but simply a repetition of the statement of Irenreus ; and this observation is also applicable to the testimony of Jerome, who only reiterates the opinions of Jrenfeus and Eusebius. This tradition is further supported by Virtoriuus 3, who as- serts: "When John saw the Apocalypse, he was in the island of PatmolJ banished by Caesar Domitian." "Domitian being slain, John, dismissed from banishment, afterwards committed to writing this same Apocalypse which he had received from the Lord.'7 But Victorinus on Rev. iv. 14.4 says: "For he wrote 1 u 'E»> TOVTO) KaTi-^tt Xoyoc TOV aTrooToXor upa KT(i €vayy£\ioTi/i' 'Iwarrj?!' tri TO) /3/6> ivCta.T(>i£oi'Ta9 rrjc tie; ror £tior Xoyoi' treKa paprvpidQy Ilcir- pov olKt.1v Kara^iKatrdrji'at rrji' i'»/flr0r, yp<«^wi> yt. rot v Eip/ru7o£," K. r. X. Eus. Eccles. Hist. iii. 18. 4i'ErOa Trji' uTrokaXi^tr loipcik'tr, u>e CtjXol Klp?/- valoc"—Eus. Chronicon. - That Eusebius was not very careful in preserving the strict meaning of the authors quoted by him, may be proved from the circumstance that he renders the words of Tertullian "cum maxime Rom IF orientem" (Tert. Apol.5.) " then chiefly springing up at Rome," by " //n\-a /utXtora eV'Pw^p r»yi' ara- ToXtjv tratrav i/TrorciSat,"—translated by Dr. ('ruse " particularly then, when after subduing all the East, he exercised his cruelty against all at Rome/'— giving a totally different meaning from the original. 3 "Quando hoc vidit Johannes, erat in insula Patmos, in metallum darnna- tus, a Domitiano Caesare." ft Interfecto Domitiano, Johannes de metallo di- jnissus, sic postea tradidit bane eandem quarn acceperat a Domino A]>oca- lypsin."—In Bib. Max. iii. p. 419- 4 "Nam Evangeliuin postea scripsitcum essent Valentinus, et Cerinthus, et Ebion, et caeteri scbol® Sathanae diffusi per orbem, convenerunt ad ilium de finitimis provinciis omnes, et compulerunt ut ipse testimonium conscriberet." LECT. I.] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 5 his Gospel afterwards, when Valentinus, and Cerinthus, and Ebion, and others of Satan's school, were scattered over the world: all from the neighbouring provinces came together to him, and compelled him also to write his Gospel." Yet Epi- phanius l declares, that John wrote his Gospel after the return from Patmos in the time of Claudius Ca?sar, A. D. 54. A fragment of Hippolytus places the date of that Gospel A.D. 61, and Sir Isaac Newton, quoting from Caius, says that " Cerin- thus lived so early that he resisted the Apostles at Jerusalem in or before the iirst year of Claudius, that is, 26 years before the death of Nero, and died before John." Victorinus is followed by Sulpicius Sever us, Orosius, and others. It appears then matter of fact that a tradition originated with Iremeus 2 (a writer by no means infallible), which was subse- quently propagated by successive ecclesiastical writers, who fol- lowed one another much on the same principle as the Chiliasts followed Papias on the question of the Millennium, — "He was the cause that by far the greater number of Church writers after 1 ec'Merd rt}if avrou CITTO r//t' Harjjiov erraroco)', r/)r iirl K\a,$$iov y&'QjJii- i )))' Kaiarapos"—Epiphan. Ihur. 51. 2 ct Irenteus introduced an opinion that the Apocalypse was written in the time of Domitian ; but then he also postponed the writing of some others of the sacred books, and was to place the Apocalypse after them. He might perhaps have heard from his master Polycarp that he had received this book from John about the time of Domitian's death ; or indeed John might him- self at that time have made a new publication of it, from whence Irena^us might imagine it was then but newly written. Eusebius in his Chronicle and Ecclesiastical History follows Iremeus, but afterwards in his Evangelical De- monstrations he conjoins the banishment of John into Patmos with the deaths of Peter and Paul, and so do Tertullian and Pseudo-Prochorus as well as the first author, whoever he was, of that very ancient fable that John was put by Nero into a vessel of hot oil, and coining out unhurt, was banished by him into Patmos. Though this story be no more than a fiction, yet was it founded on a tradition of the first Churches, that John was banished into Patmos in the days of Nero. Epiphanius represents the Gospel of John as written in the time of Claudius, and the Apocalypse even before that of Nero. " Arethas in the beginning of his Commentary quotes the opinion of Iremcus from Eusebius, but follows it not , for he afterwards affirms the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and that former commentators had expounded the Sixth Seal of that destruction. With the opinion of the first commentators agrees the tradition of the churches of Syria preserved to this day in the title of the Syriac version of the Apocalypse, which title is this, — ' The Revelation which was made to John the Evangelist by God, in the island of Patmos, into which he was Vanished by Nero the Ctesar." — Sir 1. Newton. B a 6 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LECT. I. him held the like doctrine, pleading the antiquity of the man" (Eus. Eccles. Hist. iii. 39.), that the Apocalypse was seen by St. John in Patinos at the close of Domitian's reign. The question arises was this tradition universally received ; and if not, is there positive evidence to show that a contrary opinion was entertained even from the earliest times? The first testimony which I shall adduce to show that the tradition of Irenteus was not universally adopted, is that of Epiphanius1, who says of St. John, — " Who prophesied in the time of Claudius (A.D. 54) .... the prophetic word accord- ing to the Apocalypse being disclosed." In a fragment of an antient Latin writer2, attributed by some to Caius, it is found — " Paul, following the order of his predecessor John, wrote only to seven churches by name in similar order/7 In this passage John is called the predecessor of Paul, and Paul is said only to have written to seven churches by name, following the example of John, who wrote only to the seven churches of Asia. Now as Paul suffered martyr- dom A.D. 68, this would place the date of the Apocalypse prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. The title of the Syriac version is " The Revelation which was made to John the Evangelist by God in the island of Patmos, into which he was banished by Nero the Ca\sar" Tertullian3 conjoins the banishment of John with the martyrdom of Peter and Paul at Rome, under Nero — " O happy Roman church, where Peter is deemed worthy to share the passion of the Lord, where Paul is beatified by the same death as John (the Baptist), where the Apostle John plunged into burning oil, escapes unhurt, arid is condemned to banishment." Andreas4, oc ir ffltoi'OiG KXai/ctow .... oa/v'rv/u'rou rov Kara r;/i' Xoyov Trpo^jyrik'ou." — Hair. 5J. 2 " Paulus, sequens praetkcessoris sui Johannis ordinein, nonni^i noininatim septem ecclesiis scribal online tali." — Muratori, Antiq. Ital. iii. p. 85-1. 3 "Felix ecclesia Rom an a, ubi Petrus passioni Dominicse adi&quatur, ubi Paulus Jobannis exitu coronatur, ubi Apostolns Johannes postcaquam in oleum igneum demersus, nihil passus est, in insularn relegatur." 4 Andreas and Arethas, tbe earliest commentators excepting a few frag- ments of Victor-inns, whose interpretations have come down to us, not only expound the Apocalypse of tbe woes which fell upon the Jews,, but declare that other* had done .vo ako. Arethas moreover shows that be was acquainted with the tradition of Jrenams,which he evidently considered incorrect. This is invaluable, because it shows that from early times the symbols of the Revelation LECT. L] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 7 bishop of Ceesarea, in his Greek commentary on the Apocalypse, still extant, (c. vi, 16.) says, "John received this revelation under the reign of Vespasian" On Rev. vi. 12.: " There are not wanting those who apply this passage to the siege and de- struction of Jerusalem by Titus" On Rev. vii. 2. he says : " Although these things happened in part to Jewish Christians, who escaped the evils inflicted on Jerusalem by the Romans, yet they more probably refer to Antichrist." Arethas, who suc- ceeded Andreas, mentions the statement of Iremeus before alluded to ; he says : " That John was banished to the isle of Patmos under Domitian, Eusebius alleges in his Chronicon." But on Rev. vi. i£J. he affirms : " Some refer this to the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian, interpreting all tropically." On Rev. vii. 1. : "Here, then, were manifestly shown to the Evangelist that things were, to hefal the Jews in their tear against the Romansy in the way of avenging the sufferings inflicted upon Christ." On Rev. vii. 4. : " When the Evangelist received these oracles, the destruction in which the Jews were involved was not yet inflicted by the Romans" To all this may be added the testimony of Origen1, upon which Moses JStuart, from whom this evidence is chiefly taken, lays great weight: " The King of the Romans, as tradition teaches, condemned John, who bare witness for the word of truth, to the island of Patmos. John, moreover, teaches us the things respecting his testimony, without saying who condemned hint, when lie utters these things in the Apocalypse." It must have been impossible for Origen, the greatest critical scholar of the first three centuries, not to have known the statement of Ireiueus respecting the Domitianic date, and this makes his silence all the more marked, lie mentions neither Nero nor Domitian. "The King of the Romans," he says, "condemned John to the isle of Patmos," and he remarks tluit St. .John is silent respecting the author of his exile,—"without sayiny trho condemned him" Even on the supposition that the evidence adduced for the wore applied to the closing scenes of the Jewish dispensation, and that the fable of the Pope and the scarlet lady is the myth of yesterday. 1 '() f o;c »/ TcafiuCofru; fttCuvxei KctT^ik'nfff ror'Iw«r- TU fttct TOT rj/c u/\j;0v':./'nc \oyor f?c Harbor r»)»-' i'ji/7c' c' 'A7rona\v\lsf.iij£ tfy tvarf/ior tVi rvv Trapa TOIQ rroXXolc iripU\k'tTai if 3V'£a." Speaking of canonical books. " To these may be added, if it seem good, (tt v\r) /cat yXwcrcTT?, /cat Xaos *at €0vo$" It is well known that one only land claimed this distinction ; one only people as- serted this separation from the Gentile world. The Greeks were not more anxious to be held distinct from the Barbarians, than the Jews from the heathen,—than "they that dwell on the earth," from the tongues, and kindreds, and peoples, and nations. The first passage which I shall bring forward in proof of this is Rev. vii. 4., where the 144,000 are said to be sealed " of all the tribes of the children of Israel." By turning to Rev. xiv. 3., it will be found that the same 144,000 are said to be " redeemed from the earth" These are contrasted (Rev. vii. 9«) with " a great multitude ... of all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues." Here it is evident that the 144,000 of all the tribes, defined as the " redeemed from the earth," are put in apposition to " the great multitude . . . of all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues." The inference is un- avoidable that the writer of the Book intended to draw a dis- tinction between Jew and Gentile, between the sealed " of all the tribes of the children of Israel," (and these tribes are enu- merated by name in order to show that a literal Israel is in- tended,) and the gathered from "all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues ;" and by comparing Rev. vii. 4. with Rev. xiv. 3. it is made matter of positive certainty that the " re- deemed from the earth" are identical with the sealed from "all the tribes of the children of Israel." This at once gives us the position we contend for, that " the earth " is the land of Juda»a. Rev. xi. 9. 10. " And they of the people and kindreds and&ATI OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LECT. I. tongues mid nations shall see, &c. ... and they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them/' Rev, xiii. 7, 8. " And power was given unto him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations, and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him/' Ilev. xiv, 0. " And I saw another angel . . . having the everlasting1 Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on tlte earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." In all these passages there is a marked antithesis between the Jew and the Gentile, a distinction evident to the simplest comprehension. The Jew is described by that title which be- longs to him alone, and which is never used in this Book in any other sense but as defining that peculiar people who were separate from the Gentile world. The heathen, on the other hand, are appropriately distinguished by the name by which the Jew ever recognised them,— the one as " they that dwell upon the earth;" the other, as "the nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people." The same argument may be drawn from the consideration of those texts in which the expression "the kings of the earth" occurs, in contradistinction to other clauses which serve to define and particularise its meaning. And here again I should wish to take it for granted that the woes of the Apocalypse descend upon the "kings of the earth" as well as upon "them that dwell on the earth." This will not require any elaborate proof. Under the Sixth Seal the kings of the earth and the great men hide themselves from the approaching vengeance, calling upon the mountains and rocks, almost in the identical language pre- dicted by our Lord, " Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of "the Lamb." (Rev. vi. 16.) At the destruction of Great Babylon the kings of the earth "bewail and lament for her when they see the smoke of her burning." (Rev. xviii. 9.) It will then hardly be denied that the woes of the Apocalypse come on princes and lords, who are called kings of the earth, as well as upon the inhabiters of the earth. Is there then any clue by which we may discover who are meant by the kings of the earth ? (Rev. xvi. IC2. 14.) They are mentioned in opposition to the "kings of the East" and theLBCT.I.] DATS OF TEE APOCALYPSE. 15 king's " of the whole world." ] This is a very remarkable dis- tinction. They are the princes of a particular land which main- tained a separation from every other country, which held itself aloof from the " whole world'7 of imperial Rome, and the hinds inhabited by the people of the East. This in the uniform lan- guage of history and Scripture can only be Judaea. The same distinction is observable in Rev..xviii. 3. : "For all nations, effiny, have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth, 7179 9/775, have com- mitted fornication with her." So also Rev. xxi. 24. : "And the nations, tdvrj, of them that are saved shall walk in the lioht of it, and the kings of the earth, rfjs 7775, do bring their glory and honour into it." It is most evident that the writer of the Apocalypse (a book everywhere abounding with the most forcible and magnificent contradistinctions and appositions) intended by these striking points of contrast to define and to determine the princes of that particular land which ever vaunted its superiority in point of privilege above the heathen world. The same argument, which however I shall not now pursue, is applicable to the expression "the merchants of the earth," €p,7ropOL TT}9 7779, as contrasted with "all nations," TTCLVTQ* ra tOm) (Rev. xviii. 3. ; Rev. xviii. 23.). I may now take it lor granted that the woes of the Apoca- lypse descend upon a particular city as well as upon the inhabit- ants and princes of a particular land. ISow that city (every- 1 " The kings of the earth," r?/c ync, are not the kings of the Gentile na- tions, or they would be called " o\ fial ctKa /xt- ffiXecc . . . TOV $t]frivv (Rev. xvii. 12.) ; for these are not called " oi. ftatriXuc TJ/C yJ/r-" Nay, it is said of them that they shall hate the whore, fc // t^ovtra ftctfTi\f.iai' lir\ Tu>r fittffiKiw n/e ytj<; ;" it would be impossible for them to hate and destroy the " whore which reigneth over the kings of the earth," and be themselves *' the kings of the earth." Added to this, Clement calls the king of Jericho ao /Jao-iXevc riJQ yijff," (Epist. i. 12.) ; and Herod and Pontius Pilate, the rulers of Judfca, are called " the kings of the earth" (Acts, iv. 26*.) It is most evident that a distinction was intended to he made between "the kings of the East,—te TUH> (two UVCITO\£V i/X/oi;," defined by St. Clement to mean " ai/Xu-w ro/roc, TOVT* trrrir oi ire pi Tt}v 'ApaS/ar,*' (Epist. i. ad Cor. 25.), "the kings of the whole world,"—ri/<; oiKovjjiivtjs o'X?/c,—of Im- perial Home, — and " the kings of the earth,"— r>;£ y;Jc, — Judwa1ft BATK OF THE APOCALYPSE, [LECT. L where mentioned in the Apocalypse as the subject of divine wrath) is defined as "that great city which reigneth over the Kings of the earth." If "they that dwell on the earth," as opposed to the heathen, can only be the Jewish people ; if " the kings of the earth," as distinct from the kings of the East and of the whole world, can only be the princes of Judaea ; then " the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth " can only be Jerusalem. It will be satisfactory to find that the same argument which we have as yet employed, is applicable to our present posi- tion ; and that the city which is the object of the woes of the Apocalypse is ever held distinct from the cities of the heathen. Rev. xvi. 19. The city is contrasted with the cities of the nations : " And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations, eQvatv, fell, and Great Babylon came in remembrance before God." Nothing can be more evident than that a marked contrast is here intended to be kept up between the great city which came into remembrance before God, and the cities of the nations, Rev. xi. C2. — " The holy city shall they (the Gentiles, tread under foot." Or, according to St. Luke, xxi. 24. — " Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles." The dis- tinction drawn between the Gentiles who should tread down " the holy city," and that city which alone could claim this unique title of separation, is so plain, that there hardly seemed a necessity for the author of the Apocalypse to render his meaning still more intelligible by defining that holy city as "the great city where also our Lord was crucified." — Rev. xi. 8. ~ In Rev. xvii. 1. mention is made of " the great whore," and "The many waters." In verses 15, 18, the "waters" are ex- plained to mean " peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues," and "the woman" " the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Here is another clear point of antithesis between the metropolis of Judam, over which " the kings of the earth" lament (Rev. xviii. {))> an(l fr°m whose approaching miseries "the kings of the earth" hide them- selves (Rev. vi. 15.), and "the peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues," of the heathen world ; and it is worthy LECT. I] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 17 of observation that this distinction is found in a passage which is a definition of the symbols of verse 1. and where it is evident that the author, as in his previous delineation of " the great city77 by the significant phrase " Where also our Lord was crucified" or of "the great dragon" by " That old serpent called the Devil or Satan," intended to give an intelli- gible explanation of the symbols employed. The argument then resolves itself into this :—Either the woes of the Apocalypse hare fallen upon this particular people, princes, and city, or they hare yet to fall upon this particular people, princes, and city. For it cannot be too strongly stated that the terrific symbols of the Apocalypse do not fall upon the dwellers on the whole world, oiKov/mevr), upon the princes and merchants of the Gentiles, edvr), or upon more than one city, and that, not a city of the nations, Wvri, but a city having* dominion over the "kings of the earth.77 That from the beginning to the end of this mysterious volume one only people are the subjects of vengeance, and no vengeance is denounced on any other. One only city conies into remembrance before God ; the princes and merchants of one only laud experience the vengeance of the Almighty ; and these are from first to last put into distinct contrast with the rest of mankind. It will give me no trouble to show that they have so fallen. I answer at once, in the words of St. Barnabas, " So it is," " and it has come to pass us the Lord hath spoken "—" Tivt- rai." " KCU eyeVero Kaff a tXdXr/cre Kvpios" (S. Barnabas Epist. 1(5.) This is so certain that nothing more need be said. It will not be so easy to show that the woes of the Apocalypse have yet to fall upon the Jewish people. According to popular theories, the kings of the East, trans- formed into the people of the Jews, although the Jews never considered or spoke of themselves as the people of the East, are to be gathered unto their own land ; Jewish millionaires are to repurchase Palestine ; Jerusalem is to be rebuilt with a splendour hitherto unequalled ; Christ is to come and reign on an earthly throne; Christianity is to go back into Judaism instead of Judaism being transfused into Christianity ; and the Jews are to be the authors of the complete conversion of the human race. 18 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LBCT. I. What then becomes of the woes of the Apocalypse ? In that case we must suppose that the language of this Book, not one word of which was to be taken from or added to, was ironical. We must reverse the dirge of this Book of blood into the Te Detim of thrilling victory. We must say "Peace, peace, peace!" and not " Woe, woe, woe to the in- habiters of the earth !" But not to pursue this chain of thought further, I shall hope it may be considered proved that the woes of the Apo- catypse descend upon a particular people, princes, and city. That this particular people, princes, and city, are contrasted with heathen nations, heathen princes, and heathen cities. That one only people, rulers, and city, claimed this isolated and peculiar position ; and this people, dynasty, and city, are the people, dynasty, and city of Jiuhen. That the whole argument may fairly be resolved into this : ~ «/ j either the woes of the Apocalypse have fallen, or have yet to fall, upon this particular people, princes, and city ; that there is evidence complete and satisfactory that the woes of the Apo- calypse have fallen upon this land, princes, and city ; that there is not evidence to justify the expectation they have yet to fall upon this particular people, princes, and city, inasmuch as the people are no more a people, and the city no more the holy city of God ; and that even on the supposition the holy city and people should be once more restored, the whole foundation of such restoration proceeds on the principle riot of their being subject to such woes as are predicted in the Apocalypse, but of their being once more the favoured people of God ; their city once more the joy of the whole earth ; the Saviour, whom they once rejected in their obstinacy, proclaiming from Zion his universal law; and the throne of the new and earthly Jerusalem filled by Him who is " King of Kings and Lord of Lords." 3. 8t. John speaks of the Jeirs as still e.vistiny as a people, and of the temple and city of Jerusalem as still standing, wl^cli was not the case in the days of JJomitian. In Rev. vii., the 144,000 are said to be sealed from the twelve1 tribes of Israel. This supposes that Israel had not yet 1 Jt may be objected, tbat ten of the twelve tribes did not return from the Assyrian captivity. But it is an answer to this to Bay, that in our Lord'sLECT. L] BATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 19 been led away captive into all nations ; for how could they be sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel, after the complete dis- persion and annihilation of the Jewish people, which took place at the close of the Jewish dispensation ? In Rev. xi. John is commissioned to " measure the temple, the altar, and the worshippers." The outer court he is to leave out, for it is to be " given unto the Gentiles, and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months/' This places the date of the book anterior to the destruction of the temple under Titus ; it is impossible that such a com- mand could have been given, if "not one stone of the temple had remained upon another which Lad not been thrown down.'* liev. xi. 8.—The bodies of the two witnesses are said to " Jie in the street of the great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt/' Even this is not sufficient for St. John ; to re- move all possibility of doubt as to what city is meant, he adds, " Where also our Lord iras crucified" l Hovv can we avoid the conclusion, that Jerusalem was the city specified, and that the prediction was written before its desolation. It is no answer to say, this is a " petitio principii" begging the question, as it is called,—and that we are assuming that St. John means a literal people who are to be sealed, a literal temple, and a literal city. They ley the question, who, in de- fiance of plain statements to the contrary? assume that St. John does not mean the twelve tribes, or the Jewish temple, or the city " where our Lord was crucified/' True, the Apocalypse is an allegorical and symbolical composition, but under that symbol and allegory there is always a literal meaning. It is time the Jewish people were still spoken of under the name of the twelve tribes. Thus we find him saying to his disciples, " Ye shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." " Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come."— Acts, xxvi. 7. * The figurative language of the Apocalypse is often explained in the Apo- calypse itself. Thus the city spiritually called Sodom and Egypt is defined as the u city where our Lord was crucified." Thus the woman spiritually called f< Babylon the Great/' is defined as " that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.'' Thus "the Great Red Dragon," is defined as that " Old Serpent called the Devil and Satan.*1 To my mind, it is as impious to doubt the literal meaning of these explanations, as to doubt the literal meaning given by our Lord of some of his parables 20 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LECT. I. nothing more or less than a revelation of things shortly to come to pass, clothed in a symbolic dress ; and how absurd it would be to look only for a symbolic meaning in such a reve- lation. This view, if fully carried out, would reduce all truths and duties indicated by symbolic teaching into mere tropes and figures. 4. Rev. xvii.—The date of the Apocalypse is defined with great clearness and precision. A woman is seen sitting on a " scarlet- coloured Beast." That scarlet-coloured Beast is Rome. The Beast has seven heads, which are explained to mean seven mountains, and also to signify seven kings. " Five of these kings are fallen," says St. John, " and one ?,v,"—one was in existence at the time of the writing of the Apocalypse. This fixes the date of the book to the reign of Nero. Five emperors had fallen when St. John was banished to Patmos by Nero, and St. John wrote the book during the reign of the sixth. It is worthy of notice, that, according to the Jewish mode of reckoning the emperors of Rome, Nero was the sixth emperor. Josephus tells us (and his testimony is very valuable, because it shows the manner in which the Jews of that day reckoned the Roman emperors) that "Augustus was the second ernperor.5> Julius Caesar, then, was the first; Augustus the second ; Tiberius, third ; Cains, or Caligula, fourth ; Claudius, fifth : these were the five who had fallen, " anil one. is,"—Nero, the sixth, under whose reign of terrible persecution the Apocalypse was written. This fixes the date of the Apocalypse completely. Nero died A. D. 68 ; Jerusalem fell A. I). 70 > consequently the Apocalypse must have been written previous to the destruc- tion of Jerusalem. 5. Another argument which serves to corroborate the Neronic date of the Apocalypse may be drawn from the circumstances under which the book was written. The most superficial reader of the book must see it was written in times of great and terrible persecution ; and that one of the prominent designs of the book was to animate, en- courage, confirm, and strengthen the Church under those per- secutions. LECT. L] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 21 The author of the book sets out with the statement, that he, their " companion and brother in tribulation," " was in the isle that is called Patmos,for the word of God and for the testi- mony of Jesus Christ" The addresses to the Seven Churches are full of exhortations to persevere under their fiery trials, and abound with promises of victory. The Church of Ephesus is commended for its "patience" and because it had " iw\, fainted." That of Smyrna is told to " fear none of those things which it should suffer" and to be " faithful unto death" Pergamos is praised, because it had not " denied the faith even in those days wherein Antipas the faithful martyr teas slain amony them" Thyatira is lauded for its " faith and patience." Sardis is bid "to watch" It is promised to Philadelphia, that it should be kept from " the hour of temptation, which should come on all the world." The warning is given to Laodicea, "as many as I love I rebuke and chasten;" and the Epistles to each of the Seven Churches conclude with a promise connected with the glories of the first resurrection to " him that ovcrcometh," an expression evidently alluding to martyrdom. Nor are these encouragements to patience, and promises of victory, confined to the Seven Churches: the same views are everywhere scattered throughout the book. Chap. vi. 9. discloses " under the altar the souls of those slain for the If^ord of God, and for the testimony which they held." Chap. vii. 14. unfolds the glorious condition of those who had come out "ofyreat tribulation, and had washed their robes, and had made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Jn Chap, xvii., Great Babylon is said to be " drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Chap. xx. represents the " souls of those beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God," living and reigning wUh Christ 1,000 years. It is plain from these encouragements to perseverance, and from these promises of reward to those who should be "faithful unto death," that the Apocalypse was written in the midst of a furious and savage persecution, and that one of its principal c 3 22 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LKCT. I. objects was to support and animate the Church under this per- secution. Now were these the circumstances of the Church nnder the reign of Nero f Orosius says :—" Nero first persecuted the Christians at Rome by torture and death, and he commanded that in all the provinces1 they should be tormented with the like persecution/' —Historic, vii. 7. Tertullian :—"Consult your edicts, (commentarios vestros,) there you will find that Nero was the first who savagely perse- cuted this sect, then chiefly springing up at Rome, with the im- perial sword.—Apol. v. Eusebius : — "Nero . . . began to take up arms against that very religion which acknowledges the one supreme God. he was the first of the emperors that displayed himself an enemy of piety towards the Deity. . . . thus Nero publicly announcing himself as the chief enemy of God, was led on in his fury to slaughter the Apostles ; Paul is there- fore said to have been beheaded at Rome, and Peter to have been crucified under him/'—Eccles. Hist. ii. 25. Sulpicius Severus speaks of Nero as first endeavouring to extinguish the name of Christians : "The (Christian) religion was forbidden by the enactment of laws (datis Jegihus) and by edicts published (edictfs propositis, the commenfarios vesfros of TertulJian), it was lawful for no one openly to be a Christian."— Historhe Sacra*, ii. 28. Observe. — No Roman emperor had hitherto persecuted Christianity'; no public edicts had been issued against the dis- ciples of Jesus. But now the "fiery trial " began in earnest — "the hour of temptation came which was to try all that dwell on the earth." According to our Lord's prediction, the furnace was heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated, in the period immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Apostacy, the consequence of this furious persecution, rose up of so horrid a kind, that the ties of nature were forgotten in the severity of the affliction,— the apostacy which our Lord said should precede his advent, and to which St. Paul refers (2 Thess. ii. 2.) : "For that day shall not come except there 1 This is an answer to the statement that Nero's persecution was confined to the city of Rome, and which would make out that St. John could not have been banished to Patmos during the reign of Nero. LECT. I.] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 23 come a falling1 away first"—9Eav pr) t\0r) ^ diroKarao-ia TrpwToV) the falling away—the well-known apostacy respect- ing which the Lord had forewarned his Church. " And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another, and many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many, and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."—Matt. xxiv. 10, 11, 12. " Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son ; and children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death, and ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake, but he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved."—Mark, xiii. 12, 13. It is no wonder that the later epistles of the New Testament should abound with premonitory warnings and exhortations to courage and perseverance under the coming sorrows, and that the Christian converts should b(j admonished "not to think it strange concerning the fiery trial which was to try them, as though some strange thing happened to them."—1 Peter, iv. 1£. (j. To this it may be added, that reference appears to be made to the Revelation in the Epistles of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. James.1 It is supposed that allusion is made to the 1 " The Apocalypse seems to be alluded to in the Epistles of Peter and that to the Hebrews, and therefore to have been written before them. Such allu- sions in the Epistle to the Hebrews I take to be the discourses concerning the high priest in the heavenly tabernacle, who is both priest and king, as was Melehizedec ; and those concerning the Word of God, with the sharp two- edged sword ; the Sfibhutiauioji, or millennial rest; the earth, whose end is to be burnt, suppose by the lake of fire; the judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries; the heavenly city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is <»od ; the cloud of witnesses; Mount Sion ; Heavenly Jerusalem ; general assembly ; spirits of just men made perfect — namely, by the resurrection ; and the shaking of heaven and earth and re- moving them, that the new heaven, new earth, and new kingdom, which cannot be shaken, may remain. In the first of Peter occur these—f The Revelation of Jesus Christ/ twice or thrice repeated : f the blood of Christ, as of a lamb fore-ordained before the foundation of the world ;' (the spiritual building in Heaven;' ' an inheritance incorruptible and undetiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us, who are kept unto the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time;' ' the royal priesthood;' * the holy priesthood;' 'the judgment beginning at the house of (Sod;* and * the Church at Babylon/ These are, indeed, obscurer allusions ; but the second Epistle, from the l<)th verse of first chapter to the end, seems to l)e a con- c 4 24 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE, [LKCT. L Apocalypse, 2 Peter i. 19., where it is said :—" We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day-star arise in your hearts.'7 It is singu- lar that St. Peter is speaking of the second advent, " the power and coining," 8iW/uz> KOL TrapovcrlaV) of the Lord Jesus, and he says that not only were they, Peter, James, and John, eye- witnesses of the glory which he displayed on Tnbor, but that they had a " more sure \v,ml " of prophetic development of His tinued commentary upon UIP Apocalypse. There, in writing to the Churches in Asia, to whom John was commanded to send this prophecy, he tells them they 'have a more sure word of prophecy,9 to be heeded by them { as a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in their hearts;' .... ami then, in the second, he proceeds to describe, out of this sure word of prophecy, how there should arise in the Church false pro. phfcts or false teachers, expressed collectively in the Apocalypse by the name of the false prophet, who should * bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them,' which is the character of Antichrist: ' and many,' saith he, ' shall follow their lusts ;' they that dwell on the earth shall be deceived by the false prophet, and be made drunk with the wine of the whore's fornication, ' by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be blas- phemed;' for the beast is full of blasphemy; * and through covetousness shall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you ;' for these are the merchants of the earth, who trade with the great whore, and their merchan- dise is all things of price, with the bodies and souls of men ; ( whose judg- ment lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."......f These, as natural brute beasts/ — the ten-horned beast, and two-horned beast, or false prophet— ( made to be taken and destroyed,' — in the lake of fire,— * blaspheme the things they understand not;' ' they count it pleasure to riot in the day-time, sporting themselves with their own dcceivings while they feast with you, having eyes full of adulteries;' for the kingdoms of the beast live deliciously with the great whore, and the nations are made drunk with the wine of her fornication. They ' are gone astray, following the way of lialaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness/ 4 These are/ not fountains of living water, but 'wells without water;' not such clouds of saints as the two -witnesses ascend in, but ( clouds that are carried with a tempest/ £c. Thus doth the author of this Epistle spend all the second chapter in describing the qualities of the Apocalyptic beasts and false prophet; and then, in the third, he goes on to describe their destruc- tion more fully, and the future kingdom. lie saith, that because the coming of Christ should be long deferred, they should scoff, saying, ' Where is the promise of his coming ?' Then he describes the sudden coming of the day of the Lord upon them, 'as a thief in the night/ which is the Apocalyptic phrase ; and the millennium, or thousand years, which are with God but as a day ; the passing away of the old heavens and earth, by a conflagration in the lake of fire; and our looking * for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness/— Sir I. Newton. LECT. L] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 25 powerful coming1, and that this was to be their guide " until the day dawned and the day-star, (frajcr^opos (used of the first re- surrection, Rev. ii. 28.) arose in their hearts." It is true this may refer to the prophetic declarations of our Lord in the Gos- pels, but it applies more closely to " the revelation," 'ATTQKOL\V^L<;, of Jesus Christ made known unto John. So Cor. xv. 52.:—"Behold I shew you a mystery,—we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." We turn to the Apocalypse, and find that the sounding of the seventh and last trump is "the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that tJiou shouhlest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to (he saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great." — Kev. xi. 18. >Six trumpets had already been sounded, but not till the sounding of the seventh and last is the mystery of God finished, — the mystery spoken of by St. Paul: " Behold I shew you a mystery ; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." How did St. Paul know this should take place at the last trump, except from the Apoca- lypse, for it is no where else revealed in Scripture. So St. James speaks of " the crown of life which the Lord hath pro- mised to them that love Him." (James, i. 12.) And as this is not mentioned by our Lord in the Gospels, it is by no means improbable but that St. James learnt this from the Apocalypse, (Rev. ii. 10.). This reference to the Apocalypse in the Epistles, like the evidence afforded to the existence of the true Apocalypse by the false Apocalypses1 ascribed to Peter, Paul, Cerinthus, and others, not only confirms the position of the early date, but shows that it was highly prized in those last and perilous times, and that as 1 "The Neronic date is confirmed also by the many false Apocalypses, as those of Peter, Paul, Thomas, Stephen, Klias, and Cerinthus, written in imi- tation of the true one. For, as the many false Gospels, false Acts, and false Epistles, were occasioned by the true ones,—and the writing many false Apo- calypses, and ascribing them to Apostles and Prophets, argues that there was a true Apostolic one in great request with the first Christians,—so this true one may well be supposed to have been written early, that there may be room in the Apostolic age for the writing of so many false ones afterwards, and fastening them upon Peter, Paul, Thomas, and others, who were dead before John." — Sir 1. Newton. 26 BATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. [LECT. I. a prophetic vision of coming events, it answered those purposes of warning and encouragement which it was intended to serve. There cannot be the slightest doubt but that the warnings of the Apocalypse were perfectly intelligible to the Jewish Christians of those days. They could not fail to understand that its woes were about to descend upon that particular people, and princes, and city, so unmistakeably distinguished from the people, princes, and cities of the Gentiles. They could have had no misgivings as to who were meant by " they that dwell on the earth," " the kings of the earth," " the merchants of the earth," arid " the city which reigneth over the kings of the earth." If we add to this the extraordinary fact that the pro- phecies of our Lord relative to the destruction of Jerusalem are not recorded by St. John in his Gospel, although he was one of those four who asked him privately "Tell us when shall these things be," which can be best accounted for by the circum- stance of a special Revelation having rendered such a detail un- necessary,— the abundant JJc/>raisms of the Apocalypse proving that the writer had only JateJv come out of Jti" " t/n' fac- tored city" which can only mean Jerusalem,—the desolation of this city so graphically foretold, which corresponds with the desolation of no other city so completely as Jerusalem,—and, not least of all, the utter impossibility of any intelligible system of interpretation being found (as the history of the exegesis of this Book abundantly testifies), except that which proceeds upon the principle of the Neronic date, — this combined, will, it is hoped, form so strong a phalanx of internal evidence respecting the question of the date, as to leave no reasonable doubt but that the Apocalypse was written previous to the destruction of Jerusalem. To recapitulate this evidence. It appears certain that the book was written before Christ came to destroy Jerusalem ; that it was written only just bfforc that event took place, for the Saviour continually repeats the expression, " Behold I come quickly;" that it is a description of calamities which either have fallen, or are yet to fall, upon a particular people and city, and those the people and city of the Jews ; that it was written before* the dispersion of the Jewish people, for 144,000 arc* sealed from the twelve tribes; before the destruction of the Temple, LECT. I] BATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 27 for John is commanded to measure the Temple ; before the de- solation of the city, for the bodies of the two witnesses lie in the TrXareta, the Broad Street of the city "where our Lord was crucified;" that it was written during the reign of the sixth Roman emperor Nero, and tinder circumstances of unwonted and terrible persecution, such as characterised Nero's reign. If you add to this, the interpretation about to be laid before you, in which every symbol of the Apocalypse finds an explanation more or less clear, not roaming over thousands of years, but confined and narrowed down to the three years and a half of the Jewish war, I trust you will be disposed to acknowledge that I have not rashly adopted the theory of the Neronic date, and that instead of seeking in the Apocalypse a history of the world and of the Church, from the commencement of Christi- anity down to the end of time, I have sufficient reason for preferring to regard the book in the light in which it is pre- sented to us by the unerring* Spirit of God. "The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him to shew unto his servants things ivhich must shortly come to pass."—Rev. i. 1. "The Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done"—. Rev. xxii. (). " Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand"—Rev. xxii. 10. " I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify these things unto you in the churches"—Rev. xxii. 16. " He which testifieth these things, saith, surely I come quickly"—Rev. xxii. 20. " Blessed is lie that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein, j#>r the time is at hand"—Rev. i. 3. And here at the very outset I would call attention to the fact recorded in the Apocalypse itself, that the book opens with a declaration that it is the revelation of events " ir/iich must shortly come to pass" and closes with the most clear and positive statements to the same* effect. I desire this point may be kept in mind. If the explanation offered be not one and continuous, if the prophecy cannot be interpreted as a whole, and if the explanation given, not of 28 DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE, [LECT. I. particular chapters, but of the whole book, is not found to suit the date and age of the Apocalypse, and no other, the prin- ciple of such interpretation must be defective, and the right chord has not been struck. If, on the other hand, an interpre- tation can be offered, not of isolated passages, but of the whole subject, and that interpretation not scattered over many centuries, but referring solely to "the things which were shortly to come to pass," I do not see how the conclusion is to be avoided that such an interpretation is more in character with the aim and object of the book, than any other which includes the history of distant periods. Oh that such an interpretation may now be found—that truth may prevail above error, and fact above fiction ; that prejudice, especially prejudice against the errors of the Romish Church, and if possible, aUpreviously formed opinions, might be laid aside, and \ve migtit now examine this book as it \ve had never heard of it before I Let us not be overwhelmed because f/reat names hare pro- nounced the book unintellit/ible. Let us not be frightened at the saying of Scaliger, " Calvinus sapit, quod in Apocalypsin non scripsit"—Calvin showed his wisdom in not writing on the Apocalypse. Great names often hide great errors. The truth may yet be found. I can never believe the Apocalypse was unintelligible to those to whom it was addressed. I could never suppose, with Moses Stuart, that all Christians belonging to the seven Churches of Asia did not understand it. I think they must have done so. If it was a revelation, it must have been intelligible. If it was addressed to Christ's servants, it must have been intelligible to them and if it was a revelation " of things shortly to come to pass," it must have had a specific reference to t\\v peculiar circumstances of the Church at that period. Many of our Lord's parables were difficult to be understood even by the disciples ; many of them he was obliged to ex- plain to them privately. But at the period of which we are now speaking, the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were still abundant, and surely tliat Holy Spirit would enable them to understand their Lord's words. These visions were among " the mysteries of the kingdom of (jod," the knowledge of which was given to the disciples; and "visions" like these LECT. I.] DATE OF THE APOCALYPSE. 29 may have not been uncommon, during the miraculous out- pouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.1 May that Holy Spirit guide and direct us in our attempt at the further elucidation of this wonderful book, — the book of which Luther once said, there was no Christ in it, but which he afterwards found to be all Christ from the beginning to the end ! I do not believe any one will ever have a clear under- standing of the New Testament till he has studied the Apo- calypse ; and by studying the Apocalypse I do not mean studying the Apocalypse by the help of the Apocalypse, but by comparing the Apocalypse with the rest of the New Testament Scriptures.2 And the more such an one studies it, the more he will bless God that such a glorious revelation of Christ's "appearing* and kingdom " has been made known unto men, the higher he will rise in Jifs aspiration to share its transcendent, joys, the deeper in Jiis own mind will he realise the blessedness especially promised to students of this book: — "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 hand." 1 (( It must be considered that though such visions, being no longer continued to these latter ages, may warrantably be despised in the pretenders of the present days : yet we cannot doubt but that at the time this book (Shepherd of St. Hennas) was written, the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were very frequent, and we need not question but that such revelations, too, among the, rest, were communicated to holy men for the benefit of the Church." — Arch- bishop Wake's Preliminary Discourse on the Shepherd of St. Hernias, p. 383. 2 " Scripture itself seems to have wanted some epitome which should con- nect its predictions with their final fulfilment with regard to the new dispen- sation, and thus to present an entire whole to the reader of those and future times. Such a work, as the Book of the Revelation, therefore, seems not only to have been wanted for the Churches of those times, but also for those of every future period, a work in which the believer could view the whole coun- sel of God completed, and himself made a member of that household whose foundations had been laid by God himself from the very beginning." — Lee on Prophecy, p. 2})3. LECTURE II, THE SEALED BOOK. REVELATION, CHAP. v. 1. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book writ- ten within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice,, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3. And no man in heaven nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth in all the earth. 7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden <*vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation : 10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests : and we shall reign on the earth. 11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders : and the number of them was ten thou- sand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands : 12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to re- ceive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and ail that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. LKCT. II.] THE SEALED BOOK. 31 OUR first Lecture embraced the subject of the date of the Apocalypse. We endeavoured to show that the voice of antiquity left the question respecting the date an open one, and one that could only be decided by the internal testimony of the book itself. We then proceeded to prove that the internal evidence of the book establishes the date as anterior to the destruction of Jerusalem. It is of the greatest importance to understand this clearly, for the question of the date settles the interpretation of the Apocalypse ; it is the key-stone of the arch, the chief corner- stone of the whole foundation. If the Domitianic date be the true one, the Beast may be the Pope, Great Babylon may be Home, the three Frogs may be France, and the Unclean Spirit Tractarianisin ; for the book is of so highly figurative and allegorical a character, and the nature of its imagery so general, that it may be applied to almost any event which has affected the world or the Church, and it would be strange if, in a review of events from the days of Domitian to the present time, some circumstances could not be found which seem more or less clearly to coincide with the Apocalyptic pre- dictions. If the Ne.ronic date be the true one, of which there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind, and of which the in- terpretation about to be offered will afford some additional evidence, then there must be no suppositions, no enigmas, no probable coincidences. As far as the elucidation of this book is concerned, we may burn Gibbon, and allow the Pope to rest in peace. An interpretation must be found of the symbols of the Apo- calypse in the brief space of time (whatever that was) which intervened between the banishment to Patmos and the destruc- tion of Jerusalem. We must have no roaming over the history of 2,000 years ; no transferring of the scene of the apocalyptic predictions from JiuUea to Paris or Constantinople. There and then every symbol must receive its accomplishment—there and then a meaning must be found for every figure. This ren- ders the task all the more difficult; but if that difficulty can be overcome, it brings us to the conclusion that we have found the right clue. Should a person conversant with the motions of the heavenly bodies predict the .appearance of a cornet, on a certain day of a. 32 THE SEALED BOOK. [LECT. II. certain year, and should his predictions be realised, we should give him credit for knowledge of the principles of his science, which Jed him to fix accurately the time of the predicted pheno- menon. But should some person make a rong-Ji guess that a cornet would be visible during the next fifty years, even if his prediction did come to pass, we should not give him credit for any extraordinary sagacity. So with regard to the principle of the interpretation of the Apocalypse. According to the one system, every symbol must meet with its fulfilment at a certain fixed time ; according to the other, the period during which the symbols are to receive their fulfilment is almost unlimited. The one is the predic- tion of the comet on the certain day ; the other the predic- tion of the same phenomenon at any time during the fifty years. Before entering upon the subject of our present Lecture, I would wish to define the principle upon which I shall endeavour to be guided in the interpretation of the Apocalypse. It needs no argument to show that the Apocalypse is a highly figurative and allegorical composition. Now, the great fault of interpreters in explaining allegory is the attempt to carry minute explana- tions too far. This has been the cause of irremediable mischief, and has originated a host of absurdities and errors. There is always a Divine truth under eaek symbol,—there is always a Divine basis under the alleyory, — and this is the truth to be prominently brouaht forward, the remain- ing parts of the symbol beiny only helps to finish out the picture. This is the case with all allegorical composition.1 Take for instance the vision which told Nebuchadnezzar of his coming degradation and dethronement. Dan. iv. 10. How absurd it would be to insist on a literal interpretation of every particular of this vision—to compare Nebuchadnezzar to a literal tree reaching to heaven, in which was meat for all —to suppose that the beasts of the field must literally get away from its branches—that the literal stump was to be left in the 1 Take an instance of this in the description of our Lord, chap, v., as " a Lamb which had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes." Mow ab- surd it would be to render this symbol literally, or to suppose that the hea- venly appearance of our Lord was that of a Lamb. LECT. II,] THE SEALED BOOK. 33 earth—that a literal band of iron or brass was to be bound round him—that his heart was to be literally taken from his body, and changed into the heart of a beast. The general idea is clear enough, that for his pride he should be condemned to lose his kingdom and his reason, and to fancy himself a beast for seven years. " If in Zedekiah's horns of iron we are to understand not only their strength, which is intimated by the iron, but also the nature of the iron, whether it be cast iron or steel, and the like, and also their shape, their mode of fixture to the head, &c. Then there will be no unity of design in the subject, and by dwelling on these inferior particulars, we shall diminish or de- stroy the effect evidently intended by the whole, and finally perhaps lose entire sight of the intention of the prophet. In the great image of Daniel no objection can be made to the con- sideration of the toes being partly of iron, and partly of clay, for this was evidently intended to show that a mixture of strength and weakness should exist in the thing predicted, but we contend that this was the main and principal thing incul- cated, and not that these toes should be counted and dissected so as to intimate a definite number of other particulars."—Lee on Prophecy, p. &23. Take again our Lord's allegories or parables,—for instance, that of a " certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country." The general idea of God's choice and protection of his fa- voured people is sufficiently clear ; but if you push and strain the allegory, and endeavour to find a particular meaning for each individual expression, for his " planting the vineyard, hedging it round about, digging the winepress, building the tower," you force the parable, and are in danger of losing the main and prominent truth it was intended principally to convey. It is just as if some person explaining the parable of the good Samaritan were to insist chiefly on the direction the tra- veller took, viz. from Jerusalem to Jericho ; the minute cir- cumstances of his falling among thieves, and being robbed ; the Samaritan's setting him on his own beast, and taking care of D 34 THE SEALED BOOK. [LBCT. U. Wmf &c.f instead of the great principle of benevolence to our fellow-creatures which is therein inculcated. ** It is just as if some person, contemplating a beautiful picture, were to put aside the main features of the portrait, and to consider the trees and the water and mountains which make up the back- ground, and fill up the sketch, as the chief objects worth his consideration." So with regard to any explanation of this book ; it is a book of symbol and allegory: the basis of each symbol is the point to be aimed at, the rest is merely subsidiary. This is the principle upon which we shall proceed—under each symbol we shall hope to find a literal fact which is the basis of that sym- bol ; it does not follow, because the clothing of the symbol is figurative, that the basis of the symbol should be figurative also: most of our Lord's parables were highly figurative, yet there was no mistaking the literal sense they were intended to convey. Let us then expect to find in this book, just as in our Lord's parables, literal truths clothed in a symbolic dress ; let us treat them in the same way as we should treat our Lord's parables ; let us have no surmises, no queries, no enigmas ; let us not set ourselves afloat upon a boundless ocean of coniecture without rudder, compass, mast, or sail. If it was deemed ne- cessary that the Apocalypse should be written, we may suppose it was necessary that the Apocalypse should be read ; and if it was necessary that the Apocalypse should be read, we may suppose that it was perfectly intelligible to those to whom it was addressed-, we cannot suppose that it was necessary to send a key with the Apocalypse. If it is mysterious and unintelligible to us, one principal reason is, we cannot put ourselves in the situation of those to whom it was addressed, and we are destitute of that contemporary information which would explain its difficulties. It is not my intention to explain the three first chapters of the Apocalypse, containing the vision of the glorified Saviour to St. John in Patmos, and the Epistles which John was com- manded to send to the Seven Churches of Asia. It must not, however, be thought, because of this omission, that any system of chronology is supposed to exist in the Apocalypse. Nothing can be more evident than that the Epistles to the Seven Churches are closely interwoven with the rest of the book, LBCT. II.] THE SEALED BOOK. 35 and I may also observe that the vices condemned in the Churches, particularly those of Pergamos and Thyatira, when compared with the first general council of Acts, xv., command- ing the Gentile Churches to " abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood/* while no mention is made of the later gnostic heresies alluded to in the Gospel and Epistles of St. John, give evi- dence of a very normal state of the Church. All I shall attempt to do is to give a brief summary of these chapters, with a view of showing that the Epistles to the Seven Churches are not an isolated portion of the Book of Revelation distinct from the rest of the prophecy, and that the Apocalypse does not embrace a va- riety of subjects, but is one grand and continuous whole. Now it is remarkable, that to each of the Seven Churches there is a warning given of our Lord's immediate advent, and a promise, connected with the glories of the first resur- rection, held out to him that overcame. Ephesus.—(t I will corne unto thee quickly." u To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life." Kev. ii. 5. ?. Smyrna.—" I will give thee a crown of life." l " He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the se- cond death." Rev. ii. 10, 11. Pergamos.—" I will come unto thee quickly." " To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." Rev. ii. 1(>, 17- TJiyatira.—" Hold fast till I come." " He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, (compare " Then shall the end come," Matt. xxiv. 14), to him will I give power over the nations." Rev. ii. 25, 26. Sardis.—" I will corne on thee as a thief." " He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment." Rev. iii. 3—(i. 1 " The crown of life" was to be given " at that day/' and " his appear- ing." — Compare 2 Tim. iv. 8. 36 THl SEALED BOOK. [L»CT. II. Philadelphia. — " Behold I come quickly." " He that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God." Rev. iii. 11, 12, Laodicea.— " Behold I stand at the door and knock.'1 " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." Rev. iii. 20, 21. And to each of the Seven Churches these warnings and pro- mises are declared to be the voice of the Spirit. " He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches/' This is the one only theme pursued throughout the Boole. It begins by saying that Christ is coming immediately; it ends with the same theme, " Surely I come quickly/' It begins by warning the Seven Churches of this speedy advent ; it closes by saying, " I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the (Jhiirchi's" It begins by promising to the martyrs, to them that overcame, the glories of the first re- surrection ; it ends by disclosing the vision of " the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God .... and they liv;vd and reigned with Christ a thousand vears." Rev. xx. 4. «' This is the key to the whole book. Our Lord appears to St. John, directs him to te!J the ( hmrhes that he is about to come irnmediatelv, and then details the object and nature of his coming. Brar this in mind as the scope and the aim of the Revelation, arid every difficulty will vanish. The book will be no longer unintelligible. Its meaning will be as evident to you as it must have been to those who first heard its warnings. They must have perfectly known that " the earth" meant Ju- da»a; " the dwellers in the earth," the Jews ; " the kings of the earth," the princes of Palestine ; " the merchants of the earth/' the traffickers of the Holy Land ; " the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth," the metropolis, the royal city. They nmst have thoroughly known, that " the whole world" signified the Roman Empire; "the kindreds, and tongues, and people, and nations/7 the Gentiles who were not Jews; " the kings of the whole world/' the Roman princes; " the kings of the East/7 the monarchs about Eu- phrates. Not a doubt could have occurred to their minds as to LJSCT. II.] THE SEALED BOOK. 37 what was intended by the " cities of the nations," i. e. Gentile cities; or what city was unmistakably distinguished from every other city, as " the great city/5 ** the holy city," " the beloved city," the city which the Gentiles should tread down. Bear this in mind, and much of the difficulty of the Apocalypse will disappear. You will discover that its apparent obscurity is the result of a want of sufficient attention to the habits of thinking and speaking of that age, an imperfect apprehension of the aim and scope of the book, and an indistinct and confused percep- ception of the persons to whom its warnings were addressed. This, added to the mass of crude commentaries with which the book has been overlaid, has well nigh extinguished every particle of truth. Bear then in mind the simple fact that the woes of the Apo- calypse descend upon a particular people, princes, and city, and you will soon discard as untenable the infatuated theory that a Revelation revealed nothing, and that a portion of those Divine scriptures which were written for our learning, and to the readers of which a peculiar and especial blessing was pro- mised, has never been intelligible. You will scout the mon- strous idea, that the interpretation of a prophecy of events " which must shortly come to pass," should have been kept in abeyance until the nineteenth century. You will perceive that the Apocalypse not only does not aim to be a record of civil and ecclesiastical history down to the end of time,—not only affords no theme for the fabulous expositions which are a disgrace to the Biblical knowledge of our generation, and which, it is to be feared, are deluding' the souls of thousands,— but that it was the Revelation of our Lord's immediate com- ing vouchsafed in mercy to the Church of that day. That its warning voice was clear, distinct, and perfectly intelligible to those to whom it was addressed ; that the difficulties which have so long encompassed the book are of man's creating, and not of the Spirit of Cod ; that its notes of deep and solemn terror must have found an echo in the hearts of " them that dwelt on the earth,'1 " the kings of the earth," " the merchants of the earth," and in the palaces of that "great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth ;" that the Jew of that day and generation must have listened to its call of watchfulness and preparation, as to a call pregnant with 38 THE SEALED BOOK. [LECT. IT. significant meaning to him especially:—" 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 hand.9' Rev. i. 3. With this brief notice of the three first chapters let us pro- ceed to examine chapters iv., v., and these can only briefly be touched upon, the real difficulty of the Apocalypse commencing with the opening of the first seal, chapter vi. After the exhortation to the Seven Churches respecting the immediate advent of Christ, the nature of that advent is next disclosed to St. John. He is caught up to heaven, or rapt in a trance, and sees the vision of the Almighty, and hears the opening of the Sealed Book, which unfolds that advent under seals, trumpets, and vials. " After this I looked and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be here- after." There is a point of great moment with regard to the system of future interpretation, involved in those words which are translated by the word "hereafter." l The original is "/x€ra ravra," " after these things." Now the question is not, what do these words signify as they stand in our English translation, but what do they signify in the sense in which they are used in the Apocalypse ? In the very same verse, these words occur again, and they also occur frequently elsewhere in the Apoca- lypse, and they always have one arid the same signification, and that is, they refer to something which was to happen con- secutively and immediately. The words, which in the beginning of this verse are trans- lated, " after this," are the same which in the end of the verse are translated " hereafter." Should it be objected that the last clause translated "hereafter" is qualified by the expression " things which must be hereafter," the very same clause is explained in Rev. xxii. (>. as " things which must shortly be done."2 1 " Postea inquit vidi; post ipsam utique visionem, se alteram memorat vidi&se, non gextorum ext diversion tcmpus aed vwionum, ac giquis unarn rein diversis inodis enarret.*' — Prirna«iu8. 2 Compare " « ctl ytvtaOai ptTtt rai/ra" — Hcv. iv. 1., with " ft 5u y«- LECT. n.] THE SEALED BOOK. 39 Dr. Gumming tells us, that the whole of the Apocalyse was seen by St. John in one literal Lord's day of twelve hours, and that Lord's day, he says, was a " miniature chronology of the world." But if the words translated "after this" and " hereafter " are the same, as undoubtedly they are, we cannot interpret one of a period of twelve hours, and the other of a period of 2,000 years. In the very verse, then, in which the words translated " here- after" are met with, we have the same words signifying an event which happened immediately, or at any rate at no great interval of time. No argument can be built on the notion that the words translated "hereafter," mean events about to happen in fu- ture ages ; on the contrary, they are always used in the Apo- calypse to signify events immediately about to take place. This cuts at the very root of that interpretation which sup- poses the Apocalypse to be a prophecy extending to remote ages ; on the contrary, it asserts that it is the revelation of events soon about to take place : it assists to overthrow the fallacy that because " the Church under the Christian dispen- sation is higher in dignity than the Church under the Mosaic economy," that therefore it ought to "enjoy equal counsel and consolation of a prophetical character" l But, it may be asked, if it was necessary in order to the perfection of the new dispen- sation that " it should enjoy equal counsel and consolation of a prophetical character ;" why then does it not enjoy equal con- solation of a miraculous character ? How is it that miracles are no longer known, although prophecy is supposed to exist ? How is it that "tongues" have ceased, although "prophecy" has not foiled? What argument can be advanced to show that the exercise of one extraordinary gift should outlive the rest ? If prophecy is not lost, then what has become of that angelic interference once so visible in the affairs of men, or of the voice of the Eternal, heard at intervals, amidst the hushed awe of wonder-stricken mortals ? And above all, how comes it that these prophetical declarations were not understood in the ages to which they are supposed to have referred ? One iv ra^fi" — Rev. xxii. 6.; " /ura ravra. tlcW" — Rev. vii. trc Sirv omit pmi raura" — Rev. ix. 12. 1 Wordsworth's Babylon. r> 4 40 THE SEALED BOOK. [L»CT. IL would imagine the scope and aim of prophecy would be to give premonitory warning and consolation until fulfilled ; and when fulfilled, to establish in the minds of those who witnessed its fulfilment a sense of the Divine power and wisdom which could " see the end from the beginning." But if the ages to which the prophecies of the Apocalypse are supposed to refer saw nothing of the adaptation of these prophecies to their own case; if, before their accomplishment, they neither answered the end of warning or consolation ; if, after their accomplish- ment, they did not serve to manifest the prescience of the Al- mighty ; if the Christians, who lived before the days of Luther, never discovered that the Beast was the Pope, or that Great Babylon was Papal Rome ; if those parties, who ought to have been much more interested in the question than we can possibly he, knew nothing of the irruption of the Mahometan locusts, and of the Turks battering down the walls of Constan- tinople ; if no one, nowhere, before the age of llishop jNewfon, Merle, and the JtJliotts and C'mnnim^s who have expanded them, had the slightest idea of that system of interpretation, which is unhappily so much in vogue in the present day, it may well be questioned whether such prophecy be not an iso- lation in the general tenor of Divine pre-coimmmications, or whether such prophecy has answered the end that prophecy generally was intended to serve. With the closing scenes of the Jewish dispensation, all ex- traordinary gifts, and amongst the rest prophecy, appear to have ceased. "The prophet and the unclean spirit" simul- taneously "passed out of the land," Zech. xiii. '2. "The law and the prophets were until John, from that time the kingdom of God was to be preached." The Holy Spirit was to be given, not to solitary individuals at great intervals of time, but to be poured out upon all flesh, and on tin* disciples, among the rest, riot with a view of making- them prophets, but of bringing "all things to their remembrance whatsoever Christ had said unto them ; " and of showing them things to come," (ra €p\6^€va^ the coming things,) John, xvi. KJ. Our Saviour's prophecies referred chiefly to the destruction of Jerusalern9 and the events which should accompany his corning. No such an idea appears to have entered his rnind as to chronicle down in prophetic visions the fortunes of LBCT. IL] THE SEALED BOOK. 41 his Church to the end of time. Moreover, had prophecy been a characteristic of the New Dispensation, it would not have ceased with the predictions of the Apocalypse, A. succession of prophets raised up from time to time, as under the Mosaic economy, would have been the guides and comforters of the Church. The foreshadows of coming events, as under the old dispensation, would have been prophetically announced by men who immediately preceded the times to which the events referred. Impending calamities and approaching deliverances would have found their contemporaneous predictors. A Jere- miah or an Ezekiel would have spoken of a captivity near at hand ; or a Haggai or a Zechariah of a restoration soon to be accomplished. Adequate supplies of prophetic inspiration, suited to the times which called them forth, would have met national emergencies ; and the fallacy need not have been pro- pounded, which, claiming for the Christian Church " equal counsel and consolation of a prophetical character " with that of the Jewish Church, is driven to transmute a prophecy of " things which must shortly be done," into the history of the world and of the Church down to the end of time ; and to claim for a highly allegorical book, like the Book of the Reve- lation, only intelligible when viewed in the light of a past economy, the unenviable and the unhappy distinction that it is the only "e, 27, 28. 42 THE SEALED BOOK. [LECT. II. " Round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Bat why twenty-four? Some say, because there were twelve tribes of Israel, and twelve Apostles; and the number twenty-four would represent the Jewish and Christian Church; some, because the worship of the Jewish temple was divided into twenty-four courses of priests, and the temple on earth was made after the pattern of the heavenly temple. One point alone is clear : they owe their high position to the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ; for they are represented as saying, "thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." x ** Out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunderings." The scenery is exceedingly grand and terrific ; indicative of the glory and presence of God. So, when God descended upon Sinai, there were "thunders and lightnings," "and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud." " Seven lamps were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God." Some suppose that the Holy Spirit is here designated, "the number 7," as Josephus says, "being a number of dignity among the Jews." Others think they refer to the "seven angels which stand before God" (the angels alluded to by our Lord), " Whosoever will confess me before men, him will I also con- fess before the angels of God." So St. Paul to Timothy—"I charge thee before God and the elect angels." In the Apo- cryphal Book of Tobit, the angel Raphael says, " I am one of the seven angels that enter into the presence of the Holy One." " The sea of glass before the throne like unto crystal," the same as "the sea of glass mingled with fire," of chap, xv., is, possibly, the lucid and shining pavement before the throne. " There2 was under his feet, as it were, a pave- ment of sapphire, and, as it were, the body of heaven in its clearness*" " And, in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts3, full of eyes, before and behind." 1 Rev. v. 9. 2 Exodus, xxiv. 9, 10. 3 Zwa, " living creatures/' LECT. IL] THE SEALED BOOK. 43 These correspond with the four living creatures seen in the vision of Ezekiel, supporting the throne of Jehovah, going and returning like a flash of lightning. It is supposed by some, that these four beasts cannot repre- sent angelic beings, because they join with the twenty-four elders in the ascription of praise. " Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood.'* But, independently of these four living creatures being seen in EzekiePs vision, where they evidently represent angelic beings, there is no great impropriety in sup- posing angelic beings joining in the song of the redeemed in heaven. For aught we know, the blessings of redemption may have extended even to them. St. Paul tells us, that " unto principalities and powers in heavenly places is to be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God;" that, " through the blood of his cross, he hath reconciled all things unto himself, whether they be things in heaven or things on earth ;" and that " at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth/7 There is no reason why we should not in- terpret these four beasts as corresponding with the vision of Ezekiel, and praising God for the blessings of redemption. St. John sees " in the right hand of him that sat upon the throne a hook written within and on the back side, and sealed with seven seals." This vision still seems to correspond with the vision of Ezekiel, ii. After Ezekiel had seen the vision of the Most High, agreeing in many respects with the vision of God seen by St. John, "an hand was sent unto him, and lo! a roll of a book was therein ;" " and it was written within and without, and there was written therein lamentation, and mourning, and woe/' So, in the vision before us, " the throne" is disclosed, and " he that sat on it;" and in the right hand of him that sat on the throne is a book, written like Ezekiel's book, " within and without," " within and on the back side," and " sealed with seven seals." The form of the book we may suppose to have been that of the ancient manuscript, " the roll of a book " seen by Ezekiel, —not sealed with all the seals on the outside, for then no part of the book could be read until all the seals were broken; but so sealed, that when one seal was broken, the MSS. 44 THE SEALED BOOK. foxcr. II. could be unrolled, till they came to the second seal, and so on to the end. And here let me observe that the idea of breaking the seals intimates that the prophecy contained in the book was about to be fulfilled immediately.1 The prophet Daniel is commanded to seal up his prophecy, because a long period of time was to elapse between the prophecy and its fulfilment. " Shut up the words, and seal the book unto the time of the end." " The words are closed, and sealed unto the time of the end;" "the time of the end" meaning, as I have shown in Lecture X., the time of the destruction of Jeru- salem, and the close of the Jewish dispensation. On the other hand, St. John is directed to leave his pro- phecy unsealed. " Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand." The events disclosed in the book are about to take place immediately; it is a revelation of things " which must shortly conic to pass." It is then evident that the breaking of the seals of the book would, upon the principles of scriptural interpretation, signify the disclosure of events about to receive an imme- diate aeco in pits It m en t. The vision next discloses "a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice, who is worthy to loose the book, and to open the seals thereof; and no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon." It was the book, which, in his human nature, the Son himself was unable to unfold — the book containing the de- velopment of those " times and seasons" which " the Father had put in his own power"—the book of which he said, "of that day, and of that hour, knoweth no man ; neither the angels of God in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father;" or, as St. Matthew expresses it, "but my Father on/t/." 2 1 " And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, Baying, read this, 1 pray thee, and he saitli I cannot; for it is sealed."—Isaiah, xxix. 11. 2 This shows that there was in our Lord a capability of accessive know- ledge even after his ascension. Hence, " the Revelation " is said to be " the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God yavc unto him."LJSCT. II.J THE SEALED BOOK. 45 There seems, then, a marked propriety why that knowledge, which was withheld from the Son in his human nature, should now be given to him as the reward of his sufferings and death. Accordingly we find that it is so given : " Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open tbe seals thereof; for thou wast slain,) and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." The Evangelist is overwhelmed with grief because the book cannot be opened, or the seals loosed. " And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon ; and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: Behold the lion of the tribe of Judab, tbe root of David, hath prevailed to open tbe book, and to loose tbe seven seals thereof/* No one can doubt to whom the epithet—" the lion of the tribe of Jmlal^ refers. In tbe benediction of tbe patriarch Jacob, Judab is compared to a lion : " Judab is a lion's whelp ; be stooped, be couched do\vn as a lion, and as an old lion, who shall rouse him up." And, " it is evident," says St. Paul, " that our Lord sprang out of Judah." lie is also called " the root of Darid" " I am tbe root ami the offspring of David"—David's son awl David's Lord — " the rod out of the stem of Jesse, and the branch growing >ut of his roots ;" and David's Lord, of whom David says in spirit, " The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.'' But lest we should have any doubt to whom the epithets " the lion of the tribe of Judah" and "the root of David " belong, the Saviour is next described by that title which belongs to him alone of all the intelligent universe. " I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of (iod sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." I must not pass by the name by which lie is described — " a .Lamb." In the Apocalypse Christ is designated by this name some twenty-five times. This is a valuable confirmation of the authorship of this book. St. John is the only Evan- gelist who calls our Lord bv this name. In his Gospel alone 46 THE SEALED BOOK. [LECT. II. we read, that John the Baptist, " looking upon Jesus as he walked," exclaimed, " Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." The Saviour appears, moreover, as " a Lamb that had been shin" The marks of his holy passion are discernible in the midst of his exaltation and glory. The print of the nails upon his hands and feet, and the gaping chasm rent by the spear, and the marks of the crown of suffering upon his brow, sparkle still more gloriously than the many crowns of divine glory which rest upon his head. His previous ignominy is the cause of his present exaltation. It is because he is " the Lamb slain/' that he prevails to open the hook. " He humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God hath highly exalted him." He was "made lower than the angels for the suffering of death/' that he " might be crowned with glory and honour." Observe, also, the glorious position occupied by the Redeemer of the universe. He is said to be " in the midst of the throne:77 "and he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." He is in the " midst of the throne/7 sharing divine honours and divine adoration. " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me upon my throne, even as I overcame and am set down with my Father upon his throne." "No man in heaven, or in earth, or under the earth77 — a Hebrew expression for no created being—is able to "open the book or to look thereon." He, by virtue of his eternal Sonship, and in virtue of that work of redeeming love which hits caused " all power to be given to him in heaven and in earth," " came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." And then follows that magnificent burst of praise and ado- ration recorded in the concluding verses of this chapter. It commences with the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. It is taken up by the angelic hosts round about the throne, and is re-echoed by the whole created universe of God. " And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wert slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; LBCT. II] Tim SEALED BOOK. 47 " And hast made us unto our God kings and priests : and we shall reign on the earth. " And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders : and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; " Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, arid riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. " And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying", Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. " And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."1 Such is the glorious opening and introduction to the Apo- calyptic symbols which follow. It looks more like a drama than a description — a scene to be acted and performed, rather than to be read or written. But under this magnificent imagery the meaning is very plain. Things which are to take place " hereafter," /xera raGra, are to be unfolded to the seer. He is caught up to heaven in the spirit, whether bodily or mentally is of no consequence. He beholds the throne of the Deity surrounded by hosts of adoring intelligences. In the hand of Omnipotence is a book sealed. No creature in the universe of God can open it, or look thereon. St. John laments that no one can unfold its meaning. When, lo, an Interpreter is found ; a prophet, priest, and king appears. The Lamb slain takes the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne, and prepares to break the seals. And then from heaven and earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, peals forth the triumphant burst of acclamation — [in the highly poetical language of one2 from whose interpre- tation I am compelled to differ most materially, but whose elo- quent and gifted style no man of heart and feeling can dispute] 1 Rev. v. 9—14. 2 Dr. Cumming's 4t Apocalyptic Sketches.*1 Lecture in 49 LECTURE III, OPENING OF THE FIRST FOUR SEALS. REV. vi. 1—8. 1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were thtj noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2. And I saw, and behold a white horse: arid he that sat on him had a bow : and a crown was given unto him : and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. 3. And when lie had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4. And there went out another horse that was red : and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. 5. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny ; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. 7. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say. Come and see. 8. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. WE have hitherto done little more than speak of the prepara- tions for the scene which is to follow. We have as yet only touched upon the prologue of this grand spiritual drama. That it is a grand spiritual drama, in which the actors are — the angels ; the hero of the subject — Christ; the heroine — " the bride the Lamb's wife ; the consummation—the destruction of all enemies, and the marriage of the Lamb;—is what few would like to deny. It is impossible to read the book without being struck by the grandeur and sublimity of its disclosures. I be- lieve no mind, but one enlightened from on high, could have entertained the majestic representation of the Deity unfolded in E 50 OPENING OF THE [LECT. III. chapter v.—no tongue, but that of an inspired man, could have compassed that sublime, unearthly song with which that chapter closes ; and that no heart, but one deeply impressed by God's Holy Spirit, could have imagined its glorious conceptions. I want no scholastic proof of the inspiration of the Apocalypse ; on its front it bears the impress of Divine authorship. I need no other evidence of the book being written under the direc- tion of God's Holy Spirit, beyond that which the book itself affords. We now come to the real difficulty of the Apocalypse. The seals of the mysterious book are opened by the Lamb. Had we been Christians of those days, we should have had no difficulty in comprehending these symbols. The distance of time, and age, and country, and situation, and habits of thought and ex- pression, give them their real unintelligibility. I shall, as I have already premised, seek for their explanation at the time when the Apocalypse must have been written. The plan which I shall adopt will be to give first the opinions of Dr. Gumming4, as fairly as the mere statement of his views will allow, and then to subjoin my own. I need not say we move on different lines, — that whilst he contends for the Doinitianic date of the Apocalypse, we shall as earnestly combat for the Neronic date,—that whilst he affirms the Apocalypse is a prophetic history of the world and of the Church down to the end of time, we shall endeavour to main- tain that it was a revelation of things " which must shortly come to pass," and which received an immediate accomplish- ment. The principles for which we contend are as antagonistic as light and darkness ; not so, I trust, however, the feelings with which these differences are viewed : in conducting this inquiry, I desire to remember that God's holy word is the sub- ject concerning which this diversity of opinion exists, and I pray that the heat of discussion may never lead to the substitution of invective instead of proof, or of acrimonious and hasty censure in the place of argument, 1 Dr. Gumming does not profess originality. In page 1. of Ins Apocalyptic Sketches he says: " I candidly tell you that I shall beg and borrow from the book of Mr. Elliott all I can ; " his book is only a condensation of Mr. Elliott's views, wrapped up in that pleasing dress which no one can render more delightful than Dr. Cumming. LECT. III.] FIRST FOUR SEALS. 51 As I have said, then, I shall first state the views of Dr. dim- ming", after which I shall subjoin my own, and leave the decision to those who may examine them. FIRST SEAL. Chap. vi. 1-2.—"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying", Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse : and he that sat on him had a bow: and a crown was given unto him ; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." I give Mr. Elliott's explanation condensed by Dr. Gumming. " The colour of the first horse, white, indicates a state of pros- perity, victory, and expansion, as the characteristic of the Roman empire during the period comprehended during this seal. Now was there any period, beginning at the date of this vision, signalised by such marked prosperity ? There was: during the reigns of Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonincs, a period commencing A. D. 97> and closing A. D. 180, the Roman empire experienced a condition of almost unclouded national prosperity." This is further illustrated by Trajan's victories and column. " The crown upon the rider's head indicates that imperial agency was the source of this state of happiness ; and that we are right in fixing the rera in the first and second centuries, is made still more clear by reference to the Greek word here translated crown, * art^avos' wreath or laurel crown. The 8taS^/xa was not worn till centuries afterwards." " Ju the rider's hand was a bow,—a symbol which long per- plexed apocalyptic commentators. Crete was the chief ancient place that was celebrated for the manufacture of bows : so much so, that Cretan bows were as popular at Rome as Sheffield cut- lery or Staffordshire earthenwares are throughout Europe. One proof of the meaning of the bow employed as a symbol is found on a Greek epigram on a female, which assigns to her a magpie to denote her loquacity, a cup, her drunkenness, and a bow, to show that she was a Cretan by birth." 44 Nerva was the first emperor of Cretan family and origin, and his immediate successors icere Cretan a/so." K2 52 OPENING OF THE [LECT. III. The first seal is made to extend over a period of eighty-three years, from A. D. 97 to A. D. 180. I point out a few difficulties in this interpretation. When it is said that the seal extends from A. D. 97 to A. D. 180, you will perceive there is no proof of such a statement whatever, beyond the supposed prosperity of the Roman empire; for any thing* said in the Apocalypse, the seal might have ex- tended 1000 years as well as eighty-three, or six months as well as 1000 years. All the rest is mere assumption, and entirely destitute of argument. I am not so sure that all was prosperity with the Roman empire during these reigns ; for in the reign of Adrian the northern barbarians began to de- vastate the frontier provinces of the empire,—so much so, that Adrian had thoughts of contracting the limits of the empire, by giving up its least defensible provinces. And how could the successors of Nerva be called Cretan ? Trajan was a Spaniard; Adrian was the nephew of Trajan, and the family of Titus Antoninus came from Gaul. There must be something faulty in the positive statement, " Nerva was the first emperor of Cretan family and origin, awl Ids immediate suc- cessors were Cretan also." The absurdity of the bow in the hand denoting that the emperors were of Cretan origin is too preposterous to need comment. I proceed to give a somewhat different interpretation. I must premise here that the first four seals having each the emblem of a horse and horseman, being each introduced by one of the four living creatures who support the throne of God, and being each prefaced with the emphatic words, " come and see," seem to demand a similar interpretation, /. c. if the first seal be appli- cable to any one individual or power, the other seals set forth by similar emblems must correspond. That all four seals refer to scenes of invasion, blood, and warfare, is evident from the contents of each: — To the first horseman is given a " crown," a " victor's crown," " crTe^ayds,"—he is to go forth conquering and to conquer.1 1 2r£^avoc» " a laurel crown." Mr. Elliott'*} argument respecting the laurel crown applies with equal force to the crown given to Vespasian and Titus. LECT. III.] FIRST FOUR SEALS. 53 To the second, "a sword,"—he is to take "peace from the earth." To the third, " a pair of balances," indicative of the pressure of terrible famine following in the footsteps of war. In the fourth, the horseman is Death on a pale horse, and hell ($8779) follows him ; "and power is given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." To whatever period these first four seals refer, they refer to a time connected with conquest, battle, famine, pestilence,— to a period not separated by long intervals of time, for the first horseman goes out " conquering and to conquer,"1 i. e. to com- mence a series of victories which should end in triumph. Let us proceed to analyse the emblems of this first seal. " / saw, and behold a white how." The horse is emblematical of the Roman power. Such em- blems are common in Scripture. The emblem of Judali is a lion, of Persia, a ram, of Grecia, a he-goat. The national em- blem of Koine was a horse. The Roman nation is called "Gens Mavortia," the people sacred to Mars, and a horse was yearly offered to. Mars in the Capitol. Mr. Elliott gives a medal, with a figure of a horse and the word Roma un- derneath. The colour of the horse, — white, — denoted conquest and victory. Kings and conquerors Were drawn by white horses. Domitian rode a white horse at his father Vespasian's tri- umph. Josephus says, " lie rode on a horse that was worthy of admiration."2 " He that sat on him had a bow" The bow 3 was a coni- 1 ""Ira viMie BO great with regard to the pre- viously existing peace, what must the force of the same definite article with regard to (( the earth" " ix rfjr y'lc>" the land of Judtca? Compare " Trdcrut at v\ai rfjc y*?c»" ornnes tribus terra? Israeliticsc, Rev. i. ? > u fiarrtXtlr rvJG y»K>" principes Paliestinjc, Rev. vi. 15.; ""Korea yap urayiri? /icy 11X17 iiri rye y7}c KUI opyr; tr ry Xaw rour^i," Luke xxi. 23., where by the correla- tive phrase o X/coc TOVTOC, the ?/ yfj is defined to be the land of «Tuda'a LECT. III.] FIRST FOUR SEALS. 57 Of all plain and well-known historical facts, this is the plainest; any one who has read the history of those miserable times knows that the principal feature in that history was the intestine factions and civil struggles which, wore than foreign foes, anni- hilated the Jewish people. I might quote volumes upon this subject. Josephus tells us : — "There were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazarand his party came against .John ; those that were with John went out with zeal against Simon."1 In their mad fury they destroyed all the corn laid up for the siege, and destroyed the " nerves of their own 5) O power. w " Accordingly it came to pass that almost all the corn was burnt, which would have been sufficient for a siege of many years. So they were taken by the means of the famine, which it was impossible they should have been, unless they had thus prepared the way first by this procedure." " And now, as the city was engaged in a war on all sides from these treacherous crowds of wicked men, the people of the city, between them, were like a great body torn in pieces ; the aged men and the women were in such distress by their internal calamities, that they wished for the Romans, and earnestly hoped for an external war, in order to their delivery from their domestic miseries." " God," said Vespasian to his officers, " acts as a general of tin* Romans better than lie could do, and is giving the Jews up to them without any pains of their own ; that therefore it is their best way, 'while their enemies arc drstroi/int/ each other with their own hands to sit still as spectators, rather than to fight with men that love murdering, and are mad one against another."3 We need not put this horseman's sword into the hands of 1 " Tres Duccs, totidcm cxcrcitus: extrema et latissima momium, Simon, mediam urbem> Johannes, quern et Burgioram vocabant, Templum, Eleazarus, loco pollebat. Sed pnclia, clolus, incendia inter ipsos, et magna vis f rumen ti ambusta."—Tacit. Hist. v. 12. 2 Josephus, Bell. Jud. lib. v. cap. 1.— u The corn burnt." Observe, the seal denoting famine follows the seal emblematical of civil war. Had they not burnt their magazines of corn, and thus destroyed " the nerves of their own power," in the fury of their civil strife, this famine could not have taken place. 3 Bell. Jud. lib. iv. cap. 6\ 58 OPENING OF THE [LECT. III. the Praetorian prefects ; we need not refer these intestine troubles to sixty years of Roman history. There and then — at the time — the coming of the Romans led to intestine troubles among the Jews; and this cml slaughter depopulated Judaea more than the sword of foreign invasion. " Oh, most wretched city," said Josephus, " what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thine intestine hatred ; for thou couldest be no longer a place fit for God, after thou hadst been a sepulchre for the bodies of thine own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine." THIRD SEAL. " And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see ; and I beheld, and lo a black horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand ; and I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see that thou hurt not the oil and wine." l This is referred by Elliott and Gumming to the oppressive- ness of the provincial governors during the reign of Garacalla, which Gibbon states to be one of the principal causes of the decline of the Roman Empire. It is needless to observe, that this oppressiveness is no more true of the Roman provincial governors during the reign of Garacalla than during any other reign ; most of them, amongst whom I may instance Festus, Albinus, and Florus, being guilty of terrible exactions.2 1 Wheat, barley, oil, and wine, the especial productions of Palestine; (' A land of wheat, and barley, and vines,......a land of oil olive, and honey."—Deut. viii. 8. 2 Character of Albinus and Florus.—" Albinus, who succeeded Festus, did not execute his office as the other had done, nor was there any sort of wicked- ness that could be named but he had a hand in it. Accordingly, he did not only in his political capacity steal and plunder every one's substance, nor did he only burden the whole nation with taxes, but he permitted the relations of such as were in prison for robbery, to redeem them for money ; and nobody remained in the prisons as a malefactor, but he who gave him nothing."— Bell. Jud. lib. ii. cap. 14. " But although such was tin- character of Albinus, yet did Gessius Florus LECT. III.] FIRST FOUR SEALS. 59 I hope to arrive at a more satisfactory explanation. The colour of the horse, Mack, is indicative of mourning and dis- tress.1 The rider holding in his hands a pair of balances, for the purpose of measuring' and weighing food, shows that this distress is occasioned by want of the necessaries of life. This is confirmed by the voice saying, " a measure2 of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see that thou hurt not the oil and wine." Did events corresponding to this seal take place during the Roman invasion of Juda>a ? Is it known that famine prevailed to a great extent ? Were the prices of food raised considerably Lfg'lier; and was there any occasion which justified the emblems conveyed under this seal ? This is no matter of conjecture. The account is given us by one, who, whilst he was a captive in the hands of the Roman armies, outside the walls of Jerusalem, had his wife and children within the walls, a prey to the horrible famine which lie describes3:—"Many there were/' he says, " who sold what they had for one measure : it was of icheat if they were who succeeded him, demonstrate him to have been a most excellent person upon the comparison ; for the former did the greatest part of his rogueries in private, hut Gessius did his unjust actions to the harm of the nation, and as though lie had been sent as an executioner to punish condemned male- factors, he omitted no sort of rapine or of vexation ; he thought it but a petty offence to get money out of single persons, so he spoiled whole cities, and ruined entire bodies of men at once."—Bell. Jud. lib. ii. cap. 14-. 1 (t Wives and families that are in black, mourning for their slaughtered relations/'—Bell. Jiul. lib. iv. cap. k - Xo/i'tJ, "a measure." — There is so much difference of opinion with regard to the meaning of the word translated a measure, that we cannot form an accurate judgment as to what extent the famine prevailed. 3 f' As for myself, 1 have composed a true history of that war, having been concerned in its transactions ; for I acted as general with those among us who are called Galihrans, as long as it was possible for us to make any opposition ; and when I was taken captive by the Romans, Vespasian and Titus ordered me to be kept under a guard, but commanded that I should attend to them con- tinually. At first 1 was in bonds ; afterwards I was set at liberty, and was sent to accompany Titus when he came to the siege of Jerusalem, during which time nothing was done which escaped tny knowledge. What happened in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully ; what information the deserters brought out of the city I was the only man who could understand it."—Jos. Contra Apion, lib. 1. c. {). c Judjrus Joseph us antiquitatum Jndaicarum vernaculus vindex."—Ter- uj Apol. ](). 60 OPENING OF THE [LECT. III. of the richer sort, but of larky if they were poorer. When these had so done, they shut themselves up in the inmost rooms of the houses, and ate the corn they had gotten ; some did it without grinding it, by reason of the extremity of the want they were in ; and others snatched the bread out of the fire half baked, and ate it very heartily." * He further adds : —" That a bushel of wheat was sold for a talent (375/.) ; and that when it was not possible to gather herbs by reason of the city being all walled about, some persons were driven to that terrible distress as to search the common sewers and old dunghills of cattle, and to eat the dung which they got there; and what they of old could not so much as endure to see, they now used as food."2 This appears to me to be a more likely interpretation than that which refers this seal to the cupidity of the Roman go- vernors during the reign of CaracalJa. Were they the only avaricious Roman governors, and were they (ill avaricious ? and did their avarice only commence in the year 210 and extend over a period of eight years ? We must suppose that, in the seal, there is sonic mystic intelligence which ordinary minds cannot fathom, to signify that it begins with the year 210, and ends with the year 248. I confess, I cannot find it, and that, if it is to be interpreted of the avarice of the Roman governors, it might as well extend over the whole period of Roman usurpation and tyranny, as over a particular period of eight years, FOURTH SEAL. The Fourth Seal is ushered in under circumstances of peculiar majesty and terror. " And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see ; and I looked, and behold a pale horse : and his name that sat on him was Death, and hell followed with him, and power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." "This seal," says Dr. dimming, "almost explains itself. It represents Death riding rough-shod over the length and 1 Bell Jud. lib. v. cap. 10. 2 Ibid. v. cap. 13. LBCT. III.] FIRST FOUR SEALS. 61 breadth of the empire, and Hades, or the grave, following at his heels to receive the victims as they fell. It was during this seal, from A.D. 248 to A.D. 268, that there occurred the most terrible contemporaneous combination of sword, famine, and pestilence, that ever visited a guilty population." Gibbon describes it thus : —" Every province was invaded by barbarous military tyrants ; there was a general famine, a dreadful plague, so that 4,500 persons died each day at Rome." And a heathen writer states, " The wild beasts invaded the cities as the natural consequence of the decay of man." It is possible that precise period of Roman history might have been visited with sword, and famine, and pestilence ; but / am prepared to show that these punishments of God fell upon a particular land, and at a particular time: not com- mencing1 with the year 2-iS, and ending 208, hut immediately after the Apocalypse was written, and confined within the period of the Jewish war. Observe the colour of the horse — pale, cadaverous, livid — the colour suiting the rider : for his name is Death. Hell or the grave follows him ; and power is given him to " destroy with sword, and hunger, and with death (the same word is often used to signify pestilence), and with beasts of the earth." The description is highly allegorical ; yet at the same time magnificently stern and grand. It is " The Giant steed to be bestrode by Death, As told in the Apocalypse." Poets and painters have fastened on the symbol, and gathered from it sublime, though erroneous, imagery. However, nothing can be plainer than the meaning which lies hid under this symbol. Death, famine, and pestilence follow in the steps of war ; nothing is more natural than that famine should tread on the steps of war, or that pestilence should follow famine. The question is — did such pestilence — such famine — such wholesale slaughter and destruction, happen at this time ? Did Death on a pale horse ride rough-shod over his victims, and did hell and the grave follow him ? Josephus says that when c< Titus, in going his rounds along the valleys in front of Jerusalem, saw them full of dead bodies, and the thick putrefaction running from them, he gave a groan,62 OPENING OF THE [LECT. III. and spreading out his hands to heaven, called God to witness, that this was not his doing*." l In another passage — " The multitude of carcases that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench." 2 In another statement—" The multitude of tjiose that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either man or God brought upon the world." 3 I might quote innumerable passages besides these, but these are sufficient. If Death on the pale horse ever had a revel, and feasted over human victims, his greatest banquet was at the time of Jerusalem's downfal. According to our Lord's words (Matt, xxiv, 21, 22.) " Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those (lays should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved ; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." Such I conceive is the reasonable and satisfactory interpre- tation of the first four seals. They have each the common basis of a horse and Ins rider ; they each refer to scenes of conquest, war, and bloodshed ; they each have a continuous signification, for the horseman goes forth " conquering and to conquer;" they each are introduced by one of the four living creatures, and each are prefaced with the words demanding attention, " Come and see." It is natural to look for a con- tinuous interpretation, and we find one, not by ranging over the history of 200 years, not by turning over the pages of Gibbon to find some event likely to suit the seal, but in the defined and specific period of the Jewish war. First comes the foreign invader, on his white horse, armed with his bow, the emblem of previous victories, and going forth " conquering and to conquer." Then civil war following in the footsteps of foreign invasion. Then famine, with its balances and short measures. Then pestilence bringing up the rear of this terrible array. All is easy, simple, natural, and all finds an exact and literal fulfilment in the period which we have assigned. 1 Bell. Jud. lib. v. cap. 12. 2 Ib. lib. vi. cap. 1. 3 Ib. lib. vi. cap. y. LECT. III.] FIRST FOUB SEALS. 63 It will, I think, be deemed confirmatory of this exposition now given of the first four seals, to find in a book of an almost Apostolical character, generally thought to have been written by the Hernias mentioned by St. Paul (Horn. xvi. 14.), in such high estimation with the early Christians that it was called " the Scripture," and " publicly read in the churches," that a beast (the common emblem of the Roman power) is represented rising " from the sea as a whale," (compare Rev. xiii. 1. ; Dan. vii. 3.) " having upon its head four colours." " The beast had upon its head four colours, black ^ then red and blood-colour; after t\\ttt pale ; last of all, white..... This beast came on so fiercely as if it could destroy the city at a blow . . . this beast is the emblem of the wrath which is about to come."1 It will be observed there is a marked coincidence between the colours of the four horses mentioned in the Apocalypse and the colours upon the head of the beast mentioned by Hermas ; and when to this it is added, that the beast, both in the Apocalypse and the Book of Hermas " rises from the sea," that the object of his terrible approach is to " destroy the city" and that the beast is defined to be u the emblem of the wrath which is about to come" (an explanation allowed by the best commentators to refer to the distress about to come upon Judeea and .Jerusalem), there will be little doubt but that the Apocalypse and the Vision of Hennas both prefigure the same events, and that the application of these symbols to the distress caused by the Roman invasion of Judaea is correct. This gives great weight to the exposition which refers the first four seals to the calamities about to come upon the Jewish people in con- sequence of the invasion of the Romans. It shows that these views harmonise with the original interpretations of the symbols of the Apocalypse, and that the theories of our conjectural age are a modern myth and a hypothetical novelty. It shows that Cretan bows were as little likely to be prefigured in those symbols as Staffordshire earthenware, and that Pruetorian pre- 1 " Ilabebat autem bestia ilia super caput colores quatuor, Digram, ileimle rubrum et sanguinolentum, indc tureum (^Xwpot;, cu^poc, Xfvk'ov £n>'0 //£- /uyyue'i'ov) deirulc album .... sic autem veniebat bestia ilia ut posset in ictu civitatem delere .... bestia luce tigura est pressure superventunc" r>7c <>py>/c.— Hernia; Pastor, lib. i. visio 4. 64 OPENING OF THE [LKCT. III. fects occupy about as legitimate a place in the Apocalypse as the rapacious provincial governors of the reign of Caracalhi whose rapacity lasted neither more nor less than eight years. It shows that neither Greek epigrams on females, nor the lo- quacity of magpies, serve to throw much light upon its mysteries, and that the fable of the Cretan dynasty is worthy of the Cretan character as given by St. Paul. In a word, it shows that the principles* on which such inter- pretation is conducted are false and mischievous, and productive not only of much negative folly, but of much positive harm ; and it teaches us, that if we would obtain a solution of the symbols of the Apocalypse, we must be content to look for it at a period when symbolic teaching was by no means uncommon, that men of an Apostolic age were more likely to Lave under- stood Apostolic mysteries than would-be prophets of later times, and that the explanation given by them of these sym- bols is probably more in unison with truth, than the inter- pretation offered by modern theorists ; in fact, that the reason- able exegesis of contemporaneous authority is more worthy of credit than the guess-work of after ages, and the " scriptural " definition of Apocalyptic symbols, as Irenanis, Origen, .Jerome, and Eusebius, would have called the exposition of Ilermas Pastor, more fit to be trusted than the crude hypothesis of the nineteenth century. Such, then, the nature of these outpourings of the wrath of God upon a race of evil-doers. Such the mighty conqueror, and such the woes that followed in his train ; and to crown the whole, these distinct and specific miseries, so graphically portrayed in the first four seals, are made the subject of previous imprecation. In the period immediately preceding the coming desolation, innocent blood ascends reeking up to heaven, and cries for vengeance, shaped to the very form and 1 "Ami, first, as to the principles adopted. These, as far as I have been able to ascertain them, are those only of ingenious conjecture, supported in detail by what may be termed the doctrine of rw.mblnm-M ; for example, the meaning of a prediction of Scripture is, in the first place, guessed at ; in the second, the event so supposed to be had in view is made to quadrate with it to a certain extent, just in proportion to the* amount of ingenuity exerted ; the resemblance so obtained is, as it is then thought, too near to have been un- designed, and the conclusion is, that the needful has been satisfactorily ascertained."—Professor Lee on Prophecy, Preface, 181.9. LECT. HI.] FIRST FOUR SEALS. 65 letter of these Apocalyptical predictions. In the words of that unconscious witness, from whose unwilling lips we wring the sublimest confirmation of the truth of our holy religion, these four terrible visitants, war, famine, civil discord and pestilence, were invoked at that time upon that guilty nation, and that awful invocation was confirmed by Almighty God. " Now, whilst they (the zealots) were slaying him (Niger of Persea), he made this imprecation upon them, that they might undergo both famine and pestilence in this war; and besides all that, they might come to the mutual slaughter one of another, ALL WHICH IMPRECATIONS GOD CONFIRMED AGAINST THESE IMPIOUS MEN, and was what carne most justly upon them when, Hot long afterward, they tasted of their own madness, in their mutual seditions one against another."1 1 Bell. Jucl. lib. iv. cap. 6. 66 LECTURE IV, THE FIFTH SEAL. THE JEKA OF MARTYRS. REV. vi. 9, 10, 11. p. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held : 10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ? 11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. OUR previous lecture embraced the subject of the first four seals. These were shown to be symbolical of invasion, civil discord, famine, and pestilence. With the opening" of the First, a warrior goes forth, " conquering and to conquer/7 He is described by symbols which make it evident that Rome is the source of his mission, and that his triumphs would be succes- sive until they closed in victory. And the overruling provi- dence of God so accurately fits the fulfilment to the prediction, that Judrea is for the first time desolated by a Roman conqueror (for previous reductions of Judsea by the Romans did not terminate in its destruction), and these desolations are suffered to continue until, as a nation, the Jews became extinct. With the opening of the Second, not only is the nature* of the misery caused by this foreign invasion accurately defined, but the particular land is pointed out upon which this misery should come. " The peace is to be taken from the earth " (rrys 7*79) —Judaea. The previously existing amity between the Romans and the Jewish people is to be broken up, and Judaea is to be filled with internal discord and civil slaughter. With the opening of the Third, the scene of the corning desolation is still unmistakably defined. Not only is the price LECT. IV.] THE FIFTH SEAL. 67 to be paid for the "measure of wheat" and the "three measures of barley," said to be a "denarium,"—the Roman penny spoken of John, vi. 7. and elsewhere, at that time the current money of Judaea,—but the peculiar productions of that land, described as " wheat, and barley, and oil, and wine," are smitten by the famine. No language could more clearly determine the particular land upon which this scarcity was to come ; whilst the distinct recognition of the current money of the land, makes it morally certain that Judaea alone must be intended. With the opening of the Fourth, the particular land which death and hell are to cover with their victims is again speci- fically delineated. " Power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth," (TTJS yy}s)—Juda>a—" to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth/' (7-779 y^/s)—Judaea. I need not say how faithfully this symbol received its accomplishment ; how at that particular time there was " great distress in the land," (CTTI rrjs y^s)— Judaea—" and wrath upon this people,"—the Jews ; or how the dead bodies " were cast out naked, and seen to be the food of dogs and wild beasts." l Indeed, the first four seals present a combined and connected view of what would naturally happen under the circumstances. Nothing would be more likely than that foreign invasion should be followed by civil war, famine, and pestilence. We have ample testimony that such was the case at that time, and that the invasion of the Romans was the signal for the commence- ment of those heart-rending desolations which exterminated the ancient people of God,—an extermination which the lapse of ^,000 years has not obliterated, and which the historian of that age has forcibly described as " exceeding all the destructions that either man or God brought upon the world." A new picture is presented to us under the Fifth Seal. The Roman horse and horsemen fade from our view,—war, strife, famine, and pestilence, recede. The actors in this seal are no more connected with conquest and battle,—and a new vision opens upon us,—a vision of plaintive martyrs and mourning saints. 1 Bell, Jud. lib. iv. cap, 5. 68 THE FIFTH SEAL. [LECT. IV. FIFTH SEAL. " And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held : " And they cried with a loud voice, saying", How long-, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ? "And white robes were given unto every one of them ; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." I ask you to observe the grandeur and majesty of this vision. Invasion, civil discord, famine, and pestilence, are about to fall upon the enemies of the Church,—when to heighten and enhance the terribleness of this spiritual drama, the temple of God is disclosed in heaven. Under the altar, /. <. at the foot of the altar, the place where the bodies of the victims would be laid, are seen the souls of the murdered martyrs. That these souls do not represent invisible or immaterial spirits is evident from the circumstance that St. John sees them, and that " white robes are given unto them." They are de- scribed as the souls of martyrs for their religion ; for they are " .slain for the n'ord of God and for the testimony ichick thei/ held" They are, moreover, represented as invoking the ven- geance of God upon their murderers. " How long, (.) Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" It is impossible to conceive a more majestic picture than this invocation, of his own "elect crying' day and night unto him," beseeching him to " finish the work, and cut it short in right- eousness." " And shall not God avenge his own elect? 1 tell you that He will avenge them speedily ; nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on the earth." * 1 By comparing this passage with Luke, xxi. 22, 23, it will be found that the vengeance predicted was to be executed by our Lord's coining to the land of Juda-a. " These be the days of vengeance, ///i/^at EVcuu/o'ewc' .... for there shall be great distress in the land, f.ir\ rr/c yj/c> and wrath upon this people." LECT. IV.] THE ^ERA OF MAETYIIS. 69 " And it was said unto them that they should rest yet a little season1, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren, which should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled ; " and, as it were, to stay their impatient desire for vengeance upon their enemies, "white robes are given to them"—the same honour as that promised to the faithful martyrs at Sardis,— " they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy." The white robes were particularly the insignia of the martyrs. So in Chapter vii., one of the elders asks St. John, " What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they ;" and the answer is, " These are they which have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The whole figure is of a highly poetical character. The ghost of Patroclus imploring Achilles to avenge his death, or the spi- rits described by Ossian, shrieking on the clouds and demanding* blood, sink into insignificance, ns far as mere poetry is con- cerned, when compared with this magnificent symbol. It is true of the Bible generally, and especially of the Apocalypse, that as a poetical composition, independently of its saving truths, it has never been equalled by any writing in the world. Mr. Elliot and Dr. dimming refer this seal to the persecu- tions commencing* with the reion of Diocletian until the intro- I notice here an unfair translation of the original. It was impossible to avoid the force of the words t'rri ri/c yt~j(j in Luke, xxi. i2'3., for they are qualified hy the accompanying clause, " upon this people," which can only mean the land and people of Jiuhea. By what rules of criticism are the words tTTt r»/c y»/c translated 4' in the land," Luke, xxi. '23., rendered "on the earth " in Luke, xviii. .'>. ? It is most evident that one idea was intended under both passages. The elect cry for vengeance, tKcixtjcrtr ; that vengeance is promised soon, iv ra^tt ; the Son of Man coineth to execute that vengeance, and hardly findeth faith on the earth, trrl ri/c yvc« —Judaea. Luke, xviii. 8. So Luke, xxi. 1M. The days of vengeance, ///up«t t^tK/jo-tair, arrive; there is great distress in the land, i-xi r?7c yj/c,—Juduea,—and wrath upon this people, and then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." There is no evading the conclusion that the same vengeance is spoken of in both texts, that it was to come upon " the land," i. c. Judira, and to he accomplished at the period of the coining of the Son of Man. 1 "Krt yjpurov ^m^or, **' a little season." This is a confirmation of the date of the Apocalypse. God avenged the blood of his servants only on those that dwelt in the land of Judira, and the period of that, vengeance was the time of the destruction of Jerusalem — they had not to wait font/. 70 THE FIFTH SEAL. [LECT. IV. duction of Christianity by Constantine, A. D. 300. I give Dr. Cumming's interpretation :— " This seal comprehends, as its language plainly enough proves, the rera beginning at the close of the third century, justly and universally called the /Era of Martyrs. The Chris- tians were slaughtered in vast numbers,—their blood was poured out like that of victims at the foot of the altar,—and there, like Abel's, it sent its piercing cry into the heavens, saying, * How long! ' The churches were overturned, the congregations scattered, their Bibles burnt, the holiest and best ' tortured, not accepting deliverance.' To the cry of these martyrs in their agony a response was given from on high ; they received * white robes/ the evidence of acquittal and justification before God ; and they were told that they must rest until subsequent mar- tyrs, the victims of anti-christian, that is, papal persecution, the complement, of the noble army, should be numbered with them, that both might thus rejoice together." It is needless to observe, that if the sole reason of applying this seal to the Diocletian persecution is because of the martyr- doms which then took place, there are many other periods in the history of the Church to which it would equally refer. And how, it may be asked, was the Diocletian persecution avenged "on them that dwell on the earth"—Judiea ; for judgment against the betrayers and murderers of the martyrs of Jesus came on no other people but the Jews, and no other city but Jerusalem ? Or how could the sufferers under the Diocletian persecution be said to wait " a little swtson" for their fellow " victims of anti-christian, that is, papal persecution ? Surely a period comprising a third part of die world's existence (for I presume the Austrian and Italian martyrs of our day are included in the " complement of this noble army") cannot well be called " a little season." Or, how again could these martyrs, who should soon be slain, and who stood in the contemporaneous relationship of "fellow servants and brethren" to those who were killed already, be made to suffer in a persecution which had not then an existence? I trust to be enabled to show that the Fifth Seal refers to the period when the book was written, and not to a period 250 years after. That there were martyrs then whose blood cried for vengeance, that their blood was terribly avenged, that this LECT. IV.] THE JERA OF MARTYRS. 71 vengeance took place soon, and that they had but to rest a " little season'* before the vengeance came. Our first point must be to show that the Christian Church suffered extraordinary persecution about this time, and that the vision seen by St. John " of souls under the altar slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held," was abundantly realised. Let us consider, first, our Lord's predictions with reference to this subject. Luke xxi. 12.: " But, before all these (i. e. before the signs which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem), they shall lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake ;" " and ye shall be be- trayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends ; and some of you shall they cause to he put to death" Matt. xxiv. 9- * " They shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you ; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." Such were the prophecies which predicted that our Lord's disciples just at this time (/. c. the time immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem), should meet with unwonted trials and persecutions ; that the furnace should be heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated; that whatever affliction they had previously endured should be light in comparison with that which they were about to suffer; that an "hour of temptation" was coming upon the earth, during which " many should be offended, and should betray one another, and hate one another ;" and because " iniquity should abound, the love of many should wax cold." Now did the Christian Church meet leith unwonted perse- cution at this particular time ? Persecution had followed the Church from its earliest days; but that was rather the outburst of popular feeling than or- ganised, systematic persecution. Stephen had been martyred in such an outbreak; and with a view of rendering himself popular with the Jewish people, " Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church, and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword."l 1 Acts, xii. 1, 2. r4 72 THE FIFTH SEAL. [LECT. IV. But in the period immediately preceding* the destruction of Jerusalem, persecution sanctioned by imperial authority took a more definite shape, and regal mandates were stereotyped in acts of savage cruelty. St. Paul says of the extraordinary trial of that period, " I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, (" ^/xas, TOV$d,7rocrToXov9 ecr^arou?," us, the last apostles, —alluding possibly to the circumstance that preceding apostles had already "gone to the place due to them from the Lord") " as it were appointed unto death ; for we are made a spectacle unto the world, unto angels and unto men." 1 He records with much feeling his defence before Nero : " At my first answer, no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.5'2 St. Peter warns his converts of a season of unusual trial which was fast approaching: "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you/'3 St. James : " Behold we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."4 Nothing is more certain from the testimony of the sacred books themselves, that the period immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem was one of cruel and savage perse- cution. The next point is,—Is this confirmed by testimony indepen- dent of the Scriptures ? Did the Christians thus suffer in the reign of Nero—in the period for which we contend. Tacitus0, speaking of the fire at Home wantonly kindled by Nero, says : " To do away with the foul disgrace of having set the city on fire, Nero laid the guilt, and inflicted the most ex- quisite tortures on those men, who, under the vulgar appellation of Christians, were already branded with deserved infamy.... At 1 1 Cor. iv. 9. 2 g Tjm< jv> lo\ * 1 Peter, iv. 12. 4 jaineS) v. u. 5 " Ergo abolendo nimori Nero subclidit reos, et qiucsitissimis pcenis affecit, <[uos per flagitia invisos, Christianos appellabat.....Igitur primo correpti qui fatebantur, deinde indicio eorum multitudo ingens, baud perinde in crimine incendii, quum odio humani generis convicti sunt. Et pereuntibus addita ludibria, aut ferarum tergis contecti, laniatu canum interirent, aut cru- cibus affixi, aut flamrnandi, atque ubi defecisset dies, in usum nocturni luminis ureretur."— Tacitus, Ann. xv. 44. LBCT. IV.] THE JERA OF MARTYRS. 73 first those only were seized who confessed their persuasion; and afterwards, by their information, a vast multitude were appre- hended and condemned, not so much for their crime of setting the city on fire, as for their hatred of all mankind. Their suf- ferings at the place of execution were embittered by derision and insult. Some were disguised in the skins of wild beasts, and torn to pieces by dogs ; some were crucified ; while others, smeared over with combustible matter, were used as torches to illuminate the night." Suetonius, speaking of Nero's reign : " The Christians, a race of men of a new and impious superstition, were severely tortured." l Juvenal 2 says of the same reign, speaking of a creature of Nero's whose name was Tigellinus, — " If you dare to speak of his enormities, you shall suffer as the Christians do. You shall suffer the same punishment with those who stand burning in their own flame and smoke ; their heads held up by a stake fixed to their chins, till they make a long stream of blood, and melted sulphur on the ground." Another ancient writer 3 turned their sufferings into ridi- cule, and mocked the heroic firmness with which these noble missionaries of Christ went to their death. I attempt a para- phrase : — " Look into the arena. You will see a Christian ; his name is Mucius. He is about to place his own limbs on the burning pyre. Do not be so dull as to consider him a hero or a martyr ; it is nothing more than obstinacy ; for when he is offered the choice of wearing his shirt steeped in pitch, or of sacrificing to the statue of the emperor, he says, I cannot do it ; I prefer to die." 1 - Te? cxTTo/cret^ecr^at," that should soon be killed—the invariable force of the verb jme'XXco being to designate something soon about to happen). This is a powerful argument for the Neronic date of the Apocalypse. The only people and city upon which vengeance was taken for the blood of the martyrs were the people of Judtea and the city of Jerusalem.2 That people and city perished 1 Matt. xxii. 7«—In this parable the Jews are called murderers, because of their persecution of God's holy apostles and prophets ; " The remnant took his servants, and intreated them spitefully, and slew them." 2 If it he objected, why should vengeance come upon Jerusalem for per- secutions which took place at Rome, it must be answered that the Jews in every land were the ringleaders of persecutions against the Christians ; they were so at Antioch, Iconium, Corinth, and elsewhere. Jerusalem, moreover, was the only city threatened with vengeance for persecution, and upon her " came all the righteous blood shed on all the earth." 78 THE FIFTH SEAL. [LECT. IV, almost as soon as the prophetic statements of the Apocalypse were uttered—there was no long interval of time between the prophecy and its accomplishment; the martyrs had only to wait 44 a little season," and their number was complete. How that little season is made to extend from the days of Diocletian to the days of Papal persecution, is what I cannot understand. I am not aware of any passage in Scripture where the expression a " little season," can be made to signify so long an interval of time. Take, for instance, the corresponding clause of John xvi. 16., " A little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father/' Here the expression " a little while," is not used of a long interval of time extending over hundreds of years, but of the interval of time between Christ's ascension and his coming again to receive his servants unto himself; that it is not used of the period between his death and his ascension, when he was seen of his disciples for forty days, is evident from the clause, "Because I go to the Father." /// that interval of forty days he had not gone to the Father. His words to Mary Magdalene sufficiently account for this :—"Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended wito my Father" And not till those forty days were ex- pired did he ascend unto " his Father and their Father, to his God and their God." The expression, then, "a little season," cannot he well used of any lengthened interval of time ; on the contrary, it stains to define a short period, such as elapsed between Christ's ascen- sion to heaven and his coming again to destroy Jerusalem — such as intervened between the martyrdom of Stephen and the martyrdom of James the Just, or that of the last of those, who- ever he might have been, who, at the period immediately before Christ's corning, was faithful unto death, and sealed his testi- mony with his blood. It would seem also that Christ's martyrs were slain up to the very time of his coming to destroy Jerusalem, and that the fire of persecution waxed hotter as the time drew nigh. We have seen James the Just slain immediately before his coming. "Immediately after this, Vespasian invaded and took Judaea." It is also remarkable that Nero's persecution was most violent at this particular time. It was during the latter part of Nero's reign that two apostles, Peter and Paul, LECT. IV.] THE JEEA OF MARTYRS. 79 suffered martyrdom at Rome, and James suffered martyrdom at Jerusalem.1 With what severity that persecution was carried on, we learn from St. Paul's own writings, where we find that they who had been his companions in a thousand dangers, and who had braved with him a thousand perils, quailed before the tribunal of that merciless tyrant; here Demas left him—here Crescens and Titus were not present with him, only Luke was with him ; and he, too, seems to have trembled before the wild beast, Nero. " At my first answer, no man stood with me; but all men forsook me ; I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."2 It is not unlikely but that during the invasion of Judaea by the Romans, during the three and a half years of the Jewish war, witnesses for Christ were found who proclaimed his immediate advent, and who were faithful unto death. This is confirmed by the statements of Rev. xi. 3., "I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three- score days, clothed in sackcloth. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall over- come them, and kill them." I see no difficulty in comprehending why it should be said to the martyrs already slain, that they should u rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and brethren, which should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled;" on the contrary, it would seem that their number was not complete till those were slain who almost saw his coining, and who, like James the Just, stood so near unto his kingdom as to say, 1 " Let us now suppose, what was only the fact, that as the time of the end drew near, the persecutions and trials of the Christians would become more and more terrible ; that not only the Jew with his hierarchy, but even the Roman powers, would join in the tragedy ; that the betraying of brother and brother, father and son, and the like, would he still more frequent and more fatal,, and in short that iniquity would more and more abound. Under such circumstances it would perhaps seem necessary that some further in- struction and encouragement should be afforded to the Church, yet only in its infancy, and harassed in a manner never before witnessed by any human society."—Lee on Prophecy, 292. " Discipuli quoque diffusi per orbern . . qui et ipsi a Judans inse- quentibus multa perpessi. . . llomuc, postremo, per Neronis ssevitiam, sanguinem Cbristianum seminavennu."—TcrtulL, ApoL 81. 2 2 Tim. iv. 16. 80 THE FIFTH SEAL. [LECT. IV. " Why do ye ask me respecting the Son of Man ; He is now sitting on the right hand of great power, and is about to come in the clouds of heaven" To recapitulate. I have found no necessity for referring this seal to the persecutions commencing under the reign of Diocletian and reaching to the age of Constantine. I have been unable to recognise any authority beyond that of the merest arbitrary assumption for the date A.D. 300. If the sole reason assigned for the settlement of this date be that the age of Diocletian was an ajra of martyrs, why should not the Marian age be fixed upon as well as the Diocle- tian ? or if we are at liberty to make guesses on a sub- ject of this kind, why not a future date, A.D. 3000 (if Dr. Gumming will suffer the world to exist so long), as well as A.D. 300? I cannot think that in a prophecy, purporting to be one of " things which must shortly come to pass," St. John would have looked for an (era of martyrs beyond his own immediate age, and I have been unable to find that Theodosia, Pamphilus, and other martyrs of the Diocletian persecution, had any idea that their sufferings were prefigured in the Apocalypse, or that they should have to wait for Anne Askew or Sir John Oldcastle. I have not discovered that the Dio- cletian persecution was avenged on " them that dwell on the earth," /. f?. the Jewish people,—for long ere this persecution commenced, Hadrian had extinguished the last spark of their nationality: neither has it appeared as clear as it ought to do, that the martyrs under the Diocletian persecution could be said to rest " a little season," say 1000 years or ,vo, while they waited for their brethren who should be the victims of " Papal persecution"!!! Mutato nomine! Say rather, Protestant bigotry, Protestant uncharitableness, and Protestant persecution. Why what would Dr. Cumming and all his school have done but for this "Papal persecution." Had there been no Beast in the Book of Revelation, no Scarlet Lady, all decked with gold and precious stones, no popes and cardinals flaming in scarlet-coloured vestments, he and they would have been starving long ago. Their very means of existence have depended upon the supposed recognition of the subject of " Papal persecution " in the Apocalypse, and the shibboleth of their party ought to be, " Waldenses and Albigenses." It makes one fairly sick to think of their ingratitude. It is this "Papal persecution/' LECT. IV.] THE JERA OF MARTYRS. 81 this odium theologicum, this intense abomination of Rome and the Roman Catholic religion, founded upon the unscriptural and absurd belief that Rome Papal occupies a place in the Book of God, which has raised them into (on this account) an undeserved reputation, and which continues to exalt them in the scale of popular favour. I desire to denounce this rank in- justice against an erring*, yet still a cognate Church, with all the energies of my being, and I shall not consider my life wasted if I can loosen the bands of this insensate clamour; not that I have the slightest sympathy with what I consider the manifold errors of the Church of Rome ; the only sympathy I have is one which is dear to all English hearts,—sympathy with the oppressed against the oppressor, with Papal dignified patience against Protestant undignified persecution. Papal persecution !!! Why they know, or they ought to know, that there is not one single word from Genesis to Revelation, which by any reasonable man can be tortured into the remotest recognition of a system which then had not even its existence. I repeat it, they know, or they ought to know, that Papal Rome and Roman Catholics are not even hinted at in the Scriptures, and that every tirade fulminated against them from arguments drawn from the Apo- calypse, is as harmless as "sounding1 brass or a tinkling cym- bal." And what if this statement should be true ? What if the sacred writers never contemplated the remotest allusion to popes and synods ? What if Great Babylon should turn out to be Jeru- salem after all (as I believe it will), and a closer and more critical examination of the sacred text should roll back the mass of deep-seated prejudice, and blind aggression ? What if " Papal persecution" should be found a theme wholly foreign to the time, age, habits of thought, and circumstances of those for whose warning the Apocalypse was written ? Then what be- comes of that theological bugbear which has been evoked to gratify popular antipathies, and to fan the flame of popular indignation ? What becomes of the undignified clamour of Exeter Hall, and the anathemas of its distinguished ornaments ? And what also becomes of the immortal interests of those whose ears have been "turned away from the truth unto fables/' who have been taught to believe that their everlasting salvation is bound up with an irreconcileable hatred of the Church of Rome? Papal persecution !!! But I have done with it — as G 82 THE FIFTH SEAL. [LECT. IV. have not the parties alluded to, as if only to show that enlight- ened Protestantism of the 19th century shall not be much behind the intolerance of a past age. But if ever a time comes, as I be- lieve it will ere long, when darkness shall not be put for light, or light for darkness; when bitter shall not be put for sweet, or sweet for bitter; when error shall not occupy the seat of truth, or blind conjecture usurp the place of legitimate deduction ; when unfounded assertion shall grow pale and dim before the fruits of patient study, and guess-work shall be thought less worthy of credit than valid argument and logical inference ; whenever that day shall begin to dawn, (and may God in His mercy hasten the time), then the reign of these short-sighted inter- preters will be near its close, and the dreams of these would-be Apocalyptical prophets will be over. Visions of Popes and Councils, Turks and Railways, Mahometans and Russians, Armageddon and Sebastopol, will only serve to provoke the smile of scorn and pity, and authorised exponents of Holy Scripture will feel constrained to be more cautious how they advance such conjectural systems of interpretation, lest haply they might he found offering wanton and indefensible insult to reason, to Scripture, and to God. To return from this digression to our recapitulation of the Fifth Seal. I have found no necessity whatever for referring this seal to the Diocletian persecution. I have not been able to discover that the Diocletian persecution was avenged on " them that dwell on the earth," «'. r., the Jewish people, or that the martyrs under that persecution rested a " little season," when they waited for their fellow-servants who suffered under Papal tyranny. I have not been able to recognise any authority for the assumed date, A.D. 300. But I have found an a*ra of martyrs at the period when the book was written — that their blood allied to heaven for ven- geance, and that the vengeance came — that the vengeance did not come immediately upon their cry, but it came soon — that they had to rest " a little while," during which " little while " the fire of persecution raged more terribly than ever against their fellow-servants and brethren " which should be killed as they were ; " and that when that time was expired, " Jerusalem, which killed the prophets, and stoned them which were sent unto her," " was rewarded as she had rewarded them," " and the cup which she had filled, was filled unto her double." LECT. IV.] THE MKA. OF MARTYRS. 83 Then was the martyrs' blood avenged, — then was the cry of those "slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held" i. e.9 of those slain for the public preaching of Chris- tianity [a state of things referring palpably to Apostolic tiroes, and not to a subsequent age of the Church] answered — "The Lord sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city." a 2 84 LECTURE V. THE SIXTH SEAL. REV. vi. 12—17. 12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood ; 13. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14. And the heaven departed as a scrowl when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains ; 16*. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17- For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand ? WE interpreted the Fifth Seal of the persecutions of the Christian Church under the reign of Nero. We showed that the cera immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem might justly be called an a?ra of martyrs ; and that the vision might well he seen of souls under the altar "slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held/' We proved that these persecutions became more violent and decided as the period advanced towards the consummation, and that the " perilous times " of " the last days," developed in the apostary which those times induced, afforded satisfactory reason why the martyrs of that age should be told to " rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also, and their brethren which should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." We then proceeded to show that the blood of these martyrs cried to heaven for vengeance. " How long, O Lord ! dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth," i. e. the Jews. And we were enabled to prove not LECT. V.] THE SIXTH SEAL. 85 only that a response was given to the cry of God's elect, but that at the hands of no other people but those emphatically distinguished as "they that dwell on the earth" was this ven- geance required. " That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth . . . Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation" l We then went on to establish the position that the vengeance, for which the elect cried day and night, came soon. The martyrs had but to rest ** a little season" before their fellow servants and brethren, which should be killed as they were, were fulfilled. No long interval of time elapsed between the martyr's cry and the answer to that cry. With the death of James the Just, the brother of our Lord, that vengeance began to arrive. Those were " the days of vcnyeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled." 2 I am content to leave this interpretation to the judgment of every candid and dispassionate mind. The Apocalypse itself offers no reason why the Fifth Seal should be referred to the Diocletian persecution beyond that of the " Doctrine of Resem- blances," which it is evident would apply with equal force to any other persecution. History does not say that any retribution was exercised upon the dwellers of Judani for the cruelties of Diocletian ; nor does the common use of language justify the idea that " a little season " can, with any propriety, be ex- panded into hundreds of years. A critical examination of the sacred text does not lead us to conclude that the contempora- neous martyrdom "of their fellow-servants, also, and their brethren that should — (,ww) — be killed as they were" can be made to refer with any propriety to sufferers of a distant age and of a distinct persecution. Neither does a due attention to the immediate accomplishment of the prophecy warrant our placing the victims of Jewish enmity and Papal tyranny in the same calendar. On the other hand, History does say that the times for which we have fixed the interpretation of this seal, were times of great and hitherto unheard of persecution.3 History does say 1 Matt, xxiii. 35, :H>. * Luke, xxi. *2. 3 It is worthy of observation that as the persecution under Nero was the rst authorised persecution of Christianity, so the war under Nero was the 86 THE SIXTH SEAL. [LECT. V. that this persecution was avenged on the dwellers in a parti- cular land ; and that land, the land of Judtea, History does say that this vengeance came soon, " So that they who peruse the history may know, in some measure, that the divine ven- geance did not lone/ delay to visit them for their iniquity against the Christ of God."1 History does say that "The divine justice for their crimes against Christ and his Apo- stles, finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole gene- ration of these evil doers from the earth/'2 And here let me call attention to the narrow limits within which the system of interpretation which we have adopted compels us to restrict, not simply the exposition of this parti- cular seal, but the exposition of the entire book. We cannot claim for ourselves the liberty which is taken by those from whom we differ. We dare not make a leap of "200 years, and explain this seal of the Diocletian persecution. An interpre- tation must be found suited to the day and age of the Apoca- lypse, or our system falls to the ground. There must be no roaming over one century after another to discover some event to agree with the prediction ; there must be no turning over the leaves of Gibbon, or any other historian of subsequent times, to find some coincidence which may suit the seal ; there must be no treating hundreds of years as if they were so many days, and establishing a system of chronology of which the book itself does not say one word. But we have laid down certain premises, which confine our interpretation within very narrow limits. We assert that the book was written previous to the destruction of .Jerusalem ; and we must find an interpretation for it within those limits ; and what t.s ?//o;v, we. must fi/td ftn interpretation for the tehnte of it within those (units. If this cannot be done, our system is good for nothing, and falls to the ground. But if this can be done, the inference is unavoidable, the interpretation must be right, Add to this, if we are enabled to present an intelligible and con- commencement of ihe extermination of the Jewish people ; and as in that war Jewish Christians were not recognisable from .Jews, inasmuch aa both followed the temple service, not only would the Jewish Christians be required to worship the gods of their conquerors, but they would he exposed to the persecutions of the Romans, as well as of their own countrymen. 1 Eus. Eccles. Hist., lib. iii. cap. 5. 2 Ibid. lib. Hi, cap. 5. LECT. V.] THE SIXTH SEAL. 87 sistent explanation of the whole book upon this principle, we may take it for granted that we are correct with regard to the question of the (late of the Apocalypse ; for if, according to our opponents, the whole history of the world and of the Church, from the commencement of Christianity down to the end of time, is not too wide a sphere in which to find a suitable interpretation ; and if, according to the premises we have laid down, an interpretation can be found concentrated within the limits of a very few years, (such a space as elapsed between St. John's banishment to Patrnos, in the latter part of Nero's reign, and the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70), there is no resisting the conclusion that we are proceeding upon a correct principle. In other words, if we are able to compress within the history of three or four years what they with extreme difficulty, and oftentimes by means of fanciful interpretation, scatter over a period of {2,000 years, the "probability amounts almost to demonstration that we are not in any grievous error with regard either to the date or the interpretation of the Apocalypse. SIXTH SI:AL. " And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. " And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely tigs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. " And the heaven departed as a scrowl when it is rolled together ; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. " And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. " And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. u 4 88 THE SIXTH SEAL. [Leer. V. " For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?7'1 According- to the plan which I have adopted, I give first the substance of Dr. dimming"'s exposition. " This language, strong as it is, cannot describe the day of judgment, for the sequel, as well as the whole chronology2 of the Apocalypse disproves this." lie then gives texts to show that similar language is used of less awful events than the day of judgment.3 " We may, in fact we must, therefore, apply the language of the Sixth Seal to SOUK; great revolution less conclusive than the final judgment. That revolution we believe to have been the final downfal of Paganism and the adoption of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine, in the fourth century. Our chro- nology also confirms this application. We can scarcely con- ceive a transition more stupendous ; the champions of Pa- ganism, Maximin, (ialerius, and Diocletian, were crushed. Its sun set, its stars were quenched, its firmament covered witli blackness ; and before the majestic progress of the Christian religion, lifted from the depths of depression to the very highest platform of imperial grandeur and national power, literally and truly the opposing kings, and generals, and soldiers, and free- men fled ; Christianity reigned at that day without a rival." " These seem to me," he adds, " rational, consistent, and historical illustrations of the symbols referred to. I have read nothing at all to disprove my interpretations." Now, does any intelligent and reasonable man see any indi- 1 Rev. vi. 12—17- 2 This is the stumbling-block in the way of these expositions. I am not aware of any system of chronology in the Apocalypse: whatever there is must be of the briefest kind, for it is a prophecy of things which " must abort ly In' done." Added to this, the same events are treated of in the last equally with the first pages of the Apocalypse. Take, for instance, the coming of Christ, which is the exordium, the middle, and the finale of this mysterious volume ; the New Jerusalem spoken of, chap. iii. 12., as well as in chap. xxi.; the " great city," devoted to destruction, everywhere mentioned throughout the Revelation ; the woes of the Apocalypse everywhere spoken of as falling upon the princes, merchants, and inhabitants of Jvuhca. This reiteration of the same events, interwoven as it is with every page and line, makes it morally certain that no more fatal hindrance to the legitimate interpretation of this book was ever devised than that which supposes the existence of a system of chronology. a Jen iv. 23, 24. 28, 29.; HOB. x. 8. LECT. V.J THE SIXTH SEAL. 89 cation of the triumph of Christianity over Paganism in this seal ? Such a triumph would he more fitly shadowed forth hy emblems significant of victory, than hy figures descriptive of calamity and misfortune. The sun black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon as blood, arid the stars of heaven falling, and the heaven departing as a scrowl, and the kings of the earth hiding themselves and calling on the mountains and rocks to cover them, are figures which can only be used with propriety of calamitous events. And the \vhole analogy of Scripture requires that they should be used only of such events. To ex- plain symbols expressive of wrath and punishment of events connected with triumph and victory, is surely a strange inversion of the legitimate principles of Scriptural interpretation. As well might we suppose that the symbols under which Isaiah describes the desolation of Idunia'a, depicted its glory and greatness, or that the day of the Lord of the prophet Joel was a delineation of the triumphs of Israel. Besides which, how can Maximin, Galerius, or Diocletian, be called " the kings of the earth," Jiuhea; or how can " the wrath of the Lamb" be transformed into "the majestic progress of the Christian re- ligion"? I confess I cannot see the faintest allusion either to Maximin, Galerius, or Diocletian. I can see nothing which leads me to suppose that this seal represents the Christian religion " lifted from the depths of depression to the highest platform of national grandeur/' The only grandeur I can see in this seal is the grandeur of dismay, and terror, and despair : if ever language was emblematical of wrath and woe, and agony and distress, it is the language of this magnificent symbol. No wonder that a distinguished painter1 should have supposed that it shadowed forth the awful day of judgment. No wonder that the imagination should have been betrayed, and the judgment warped, by the majestic imagery of this superb figure. It would seem to me that terror, and not Christianity, reigns under this symbol, "without a rival;" and that the 1 Panby's " Last Judgment." — One of the most striking figures in the painting is that of a slave bursting his fettered hands asunder, and welcoming the coining Deity ; we hardly need to l>e reminded that the bondman equally with the freeman hides himself in the dens and rocks of the mountains90 THE SIXTH SEAL. [LKCT. V. triumph designated is not the triumph of religion, but the triumph of desolation and despair. I proceed to offer a somewhat different explanation of this seal. And, first, I would observe, in common with those from whom I differ, that this language, strong as it is, does not necessarily describe the destruction of material things supposed to be consequent on the day of judgment. " We must not," says Dr. Lee, " understand by such expressions as * the heaven departed as a scroxvl/ ' every mountain and island were moved out of their places/ any such physical phenomenon as the words literally imply; for if the heavens should have so departed, and the mountains so moved, how could the kings of the earth have hid themselves within the latter?" Nothing is more common in the Scriptures, than that great changes, especially great calamities, should be indicated by earthquakes, tempests, eclipses of the heavenly bodies, and the falling of stars to the earth. This is easily accounted for when we re- member that the ancients were ignorant of the movements of the heavenly bodies, — that an eclipse threw them into terror, like the Peruvians, — that they were unable to account for the meteoric appearances called falling stars, and supposed that they literally fell to the earth. Hence they employed this language to denote great events, and especially calamitous events ; it would be absurd to interpret such language literally, or to suppose that the sun literally became black as sackcloth of hair, and the stars literally fell to the earth. Isaiah, xxxiv. i., thus describes the destruction of Iduma»a : — "All the host of heaven shall be dissolved; the heavens shall be rolled together as a scrowl, and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree ; for my sword .shall be bathed in heaven, behold it shall come down upon Idumiea." Joel describes the invasion of a hostile army numerous as locusts under a similar figure1: — "The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand ; a day of darkness and of gloominess ; a day of clouds and of thick darkness ; a great people and a strong;.....a fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth ; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate J Joel, ii. 2. Compare the locust arrny, Rev, ix. LECT. V.] THE SIXTH SEAL. 91 wilderness, and nothing shall escape them ;..... the earth shall quake before them, the heavens shall tremble, the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining"1 St. Peter explains the prophecy of Joel respecting the last days, of the terrific events which should intervene between the day of Pentecost and " the great and notable day of the Lord.7' " This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel ; it shall come to pass in the last days, -saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh . . . and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath ; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke : the sun shall be turned into darkness, and tJte moon into blood, before the great and notable dag of the Lord come" - These, and many other passages might be adduced, prove to a demonstration that great and calamitous events are fre- quently shadowed forth in the Scriptures under the figure of convulsions of the heavenly bodies, and strange and extraor- dinary appearances of the sun, and moon, and stars. Now, did our Lord predict his awful coming to destroy Jerusalem under similar emblems? The language of the three Gospels, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, is almost identical with that of the seal under our consideration. Matt,, xxiv. £{), 80___" Immediately after the tribulation of those dags shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken, and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.'* Mark, xiii. 121< — CJ(). —" Rut in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars from heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken, and then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, with power and great glory." Luke, xxi. I2i<—f2/'. — "Jerusalem, shall be trodden doirn 1 Joel, ii. 1, 2, a—10. a Acts, ii. 10. 92 THE SIXTH SEAL. [LECT. V. of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be ful- filled, and there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth ('7775 yfjs ' the land of Judaea), distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring ; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coining on the earth ; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken, and then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory." It is evident that these grand and terrible descriptions refer to events which were to take place at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. It is impossible, without doing the most gross and painful violence to honest criticism, to interpret them of any future time. If words have any meaning, these events took place " Immediately after the tribulation of those days" "In those days, after that tribulation," — at the period when " Jerusalem was trodden down of the (J entiles." They took place, moreover, during the lifetime of the gene- ration to whom these words were addressed ; no disquisitions on the meaning of the word " ytvza" " generation," can weigh against the positive truth here stated. The whole subject of Matt, xxiv., Mark xiii., Luke xxi. is connected wifli the time of our Lord's coming. In each of the Gospels his disciples ask Him to tell them when that time should be. Matt. xxiv. 3 -- "Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end1 of the world ? " Mark, xiii. 4. — "Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" Luke, xxi. 7- — " Master, Imttchen shall these things be, and what sign shall there be when these things come to pass?" And then He told them the time, that it should be within the lifetime of that generation, that when they saw the woes coining upon Jerusalem, they might know that "it was near, even at their doors." Nothing but determined prejudice and an un- 1 'StWTtKiia, TOV uiwvov — the end of the age, i. e. of the Mosaic economy. Compare 11 eb. ix. C2G. " rvv ct u7ru£, ITT\ trvyrtXtia TUJV alwviitv" — but NOW once in the end of the world/' t. c. the end of the Mosaic economy. LBCT. V.] THE SIXTH SEAL, 93 conquerable clinging to previously formed opinions can resist the evidence. Matt. xxiv. 3C2—34----"Now learn a parable of the fig tree ; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh, so likewise ye when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors : verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled."* Mark, xiii. 28—30. — "Now learn a parable of the fig tree ; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near : so ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is niyh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done." St. Luke1 has a little variation, but the time when all this should take place is unmistakably declared. Luke, xxi. 2(J—32. — "And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ge see these things come to pass, knoiv ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily 1 say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all be ful- filled." It is poor theology to explain this primarily of our Lord's second advent at some yet distant period. For my own part I feel heartily ashamed of the way in which I have often inter- preted many of these passages in my public teaching ; in what- ever sense they may be regarded as referring to an advent yet to come, there can be no reasonable doubt but that they refer in their primary sense to the advent which then took place. Neither can I believe that in St. Matt. xxiv. it will be found that "two distinct sets of predictions run together in artless parallel," and that " while a period for the fulfilment of the first 1 The only variation of any importance between St. Luke and the other two Evangelists, is that St. Luke calls the coming of our Lord to destroy Jerusa- lem the coming of the kingdom of God ; the inference is, that kingdom was established at his coming. Compare 4i His appearing and his kingdom," (2 Tim. iv. 1.); *' The Son of Man coining in his kingdom," (Matt xvi. 2S.); " Lord remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom/' iv T?I ptun\ft$ aov (Luke, xxiii. 42.). 94 THE SIXTH SEAL. [LECT. V. series, the human judgment, is fixed within the lifetime of a generation, we, on the contrary, are told of the last judgment, " Of that hour kuoweth no man, neither the angels, nor the Son, but the Father." l It appears to me, from a careful examination of Matt, xxiv., Mark xiii., and Luke xxi., that one plain simple question is an- swered by our Lord. T'hat question is a question of time. In reply to the request of the disciples that He would tell them the period of his coming, his answer was that it should take place during the lifetime of that generation, that they should recognise its approach by the foregoing signs, but that the day and the hour were hidden even from Him. Hence " the times and seasons" are said to be put in the Father's power. (Acts i. 7«) Hence the Father is said to show the manifestation of the Son in "his own times," KCU/DOIS, tSiois, «' e., times known only to himself.2 Hence God is said to (/ire unto his Son the know- ledge of his speedy Apocalypse.3 Now St. Luke shows satisfactorily that our Lord's answer embraced no " artless parallel " of homogeneous predictions, but referred only to one period and to one event; for after " the fulfilment of the first series, the human judgment, (which) is fixed within the lifetime of a generation," and during the supposed period of the last judgment, the disciples are bid to pray that they might escape the desolation impending over them, and which was immediately about to take place. "Take heed to yourselves, &c. . . . and so that day come upon you unawrares, for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth; watch ye therefore and praij always that ye maybe accounted worthy to escape all these tliinqs that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." 4 How could it be said of the day of universal judgment, "as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth," Tracr^s rfjs yfjs, Jud&a; or how could the words ex- pressive of the predicted calamities on Jerusalem be applicable to the future judgment of mankind, " Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, (TO. /^eXXoz/ra yivtcrOcu, that shall goon come to pass,) and to stand (as in judgment) before the 1 Rational Godliness, Sermon 23., Rev. Rowland Williams. 2 1 Tim. vi. 15. 3 Rev. i. 1. * Luke, xxi. 34—LECT. V.] THE SIXTH SEAL. 95 Son of Man " ? How could the warnings, particularly ad- dressed to the disciples—" Take heed to yourselves . . . lest that day come upon you unawares . . . watch ye therefore . . . that ye may . . . escape," &c. be supposed to refer to a general judgment in the far distant future ; or how could it be thought that the imaginary division of the prophecy commencing at the words " of THAT day and of THAT hour" could be made to relate to any other day than the day before alluded to ? Be it then remembered, that had there been any distinguishing emphasis attached to the words " That day " (as implying a day distinct from the corning of Christ to destroy Jerusalem), which there is not, and had there been a period assigned for the fulfilment of the one parallel of the homogeneous prophecy, whilst no period is assigned for the other, (ichich is not the case, for the prophecy is one and the same throu(/hout}, all this would have been completely unsettled by the fact, that after the supposed fulfilment of the Jirst prediction, and duririf/ the supposed scenes of the last judg- ment) even on "that day" of which no man knew, and which was to come upon them " unawares," the disciples are bid to pray that they might " escape all these thim/s that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."1 I cannot think, then, if " all prophecy has a primary contemporaneous applica- tion," that this prophecy of our Lord, so guarded with respect to the time of its accomplishment, and which the disciples and first Christians evidently believed to be of immediate fulfilment, would in its primary sense be intended by our Lord to refer partly to the destruction of .Jerusalem, and partly to the day of judgment, partly to the events of A.D. 7^> partly to the events of A.D. . I cannot think that " two distinct sets of predic- tions " would thus have been mixed up by our Lord in inex- tricable confusion, or that his love and consideration would have prompted Him so to mislead his disciples and his Church of future times ; nor do I imagine that an argument of this kind would be put forward as conclusive, was it not felt that some 1 That the words " all these things that shall come to pass" refer to the scenes accompanying the desolation of Jerusalem, is not only certified by the expression ra /LuXXorra yiVitrttai, hut nearly the same words are used in verse 31. during the period which is thought to he marked out by the lifetime of that generation, " So likewise ye when ye see these things come to pass," orar tcfyrt raOra yu'o/itra— an expression evidently identical with the subse* niwtttt nrui t\V \r Qf\ «* All flijtcii failure ttint 96 THE SIXTH SEAL. [LECT. V. great difficulty existed which it was necessary thus to overcome. But we shall he nothing nearer the truth for any forced and unnatural construction which we may put upon holy Scripture, and it is evident that the argument now comhated had no ex- istence, either in the mind of Him who spake, or of those who listened to his words. But to return to the analogy proposed to he instituted he- tween the Sixth Seal and the predictions of our Lord. It will he interesting to compare the two accounts as they stand in the Gospels and in the Apocalypse. SIXTH SEAL. et The sun became black as sack- cloth of hair." " The moon became as blood." " The stars of heaven fell unto earth." f* The heaven departed as a scrowl." " Every mountain and island were moved out of their places." fc The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." ic For the great day of his wrath " There shall Ix- great distress in is come, and who shall be able to j the land, and wrath upon this people.'* stand?" Rev. vi. 12—17. ) Luke, xxi. '23. It will be seen at once from this comparison, that the identity is perfect between the seal and the predictions of our Lord. "Now, whether we interpret this language of great changes, or of calamitous events, or of miraculous phenomena, the point for us to determine is, did occurrences corresponding to the sym- bols take place at that time ? Did any great changes then take place ? A change took OUR LORD'S PREDICTIONS. "The sun shall be darkened." Mark, xiii. j2-k "The moon shall not give her light." Mark, xiii. 24. " The stars shall fall from heaven." Matt. xxiv. 29. "" The powers of the heavens shall be shaken." Matt. xxiv. 2f). " Upon the earth distress of na- tions,— the sea and the waves roar- ing." Luke, xxi. 25. " Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us ; and to the hills, ('over us : fur if they do these tilings in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry ? " Luke, xxiii. oO, '51. LECT. V.] THE SIXTH SEAL. 97 place then which shook the world — a change compared with which the revolution occasioned by the final downfal of Pa- ganism is hardly fit to he mentioned. The change to which I allude was the breaking up of that dispensation which had lasted for 2000 years, and which God Himself had given to his own people. Then, if you will, " the champions of Judaism were crushed ; its sun set, its stars were quenched, its firma- ment covered with blackness ; and before the majestic power of the Christian religion the opposing kings, and generals, and soldiers, and freemen fled." If this seal is to be interpreted of change and revolution, [an interpretation not altogether satisfactory], no change has ever affected the destinies of mankind so much as the change which was introduced at that particular time. Or if you interpret this seal of calamitous events, of wrath, and terror, and despair, falling upon a particular people, where will you find so exact, so literal a fulfilment, as in the tribula- tion of those days — " Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time ; no, nor ever shall he : and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." " In those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the; beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be." " These be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled ; but woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days, for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people." Then, indeed, did they call upon the mountains to fall on them, and on the rocks to rover them. " The destruction," says Josephus, " which then took place exceeded all the destructions that either God or man ever brought upon the world."1 Or if you interpret this seal of those miraculous phenomena which our Saviour said should accompany his coming [an interpretation to which I feel most disposed to accede], the all-directing providence of God has so appointed it, that evidence independent of the Scriptures should be given, that such mira- culous phenomena did attend his coming to destroy Jerusalem. Tacitus2 informs us—"Such prodigies had happened, as this nation, which is superstitious enough in its own way, would 1 Bell. Jud. lib. vi, cap, y. '2 Tac. Hist, lib. v. cap. IS. 11 ,% THE SIXTH SEAL. [LECT. V. not agree to expiate by the ceremonies of the Woman re%iou, nor would they atone the gods by sacrifices and vows, as they used to do on the like occasions. Annies were seen to fight in the sky, and their armour looked of a bright light colour, and the temple shone with sudden flashes of lire out of the clouds. The doors of the temple were opened on a sudden, and a voice greater than human was heard, that the gods were retiring ; and at the same time there was a great motion perceived, as if they were goiti£ out of it, which some esteemed to be causes of terror." Here, then, you have an historian of those times, who tells you, in his own heathen fashion, that these prodigies happened because the Jews would not agree to expiate the ceremonies of the Roman religion, nor atone the gods by sacrifices and vows. He points out the character of these prodigies as prodigies appearing chiefly in the heavens, and especially mentions the circumstance that "a voice greater than human was heard." Altogether, his description lends us fairly to conclude that great and miraculous signs took place at that period ; and that the Jewish dispensation closed, as it had begun, in the midst of stupendous and awful miracles. Josephusl gives us a much more* detailed account of the miraculous phenomena of that extraordinary period. He says:—"Thus were the inferable people persuaded by these deceivers (the false prophets), while they did not attend nor give credit to tin* st rr/V/fv//, and did so plainly foretel their future1 desolation ; but, like men infatu- ated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the dvnunriutions that (rod /////\