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This seems clearly the case in the visions of Daniel, Ezekiel and Zechariah, and why not in those of John ? I think chap. i, 19 and iv, 1, indicate that it was so: also, chap. vii, 1, and chap. x, &c.
Now a vision to reveal things future, both temporal and spiritual, must, in order to be rendered intelligible to man, rest upon what is known and understood: consequently must allude to those things which have existed and do exist IN REFERENCE TO THEM, for the clearer statement of what is to follow. Is not this done in history and poetry? Homer designed the Trojan war for his subject; but he related the circumstances which led to it, &c. In respect however to prophecy; Daniel, in regard to that vision which is parallel to part of the revelation to John,* is told by the angel
These great beasts which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth." (Consurgent.) The Chaldee is the future without the conversive vau, hence the word is incapable of any other translation : yet the Babylonian empire was then existing. It had passed away and the second empire had arisen, when Zechariah beheld the four successive empires under the symbol of chariots drawn by horses. The agreement in the symbols and their subject in Daniel, Zechariah and John seems a corroborative argument. But there is an analogous mode of expression in the very Apocalypse itself. Chap. xvii, 9, 10 the angel declares, the seven heads are seven kings, five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come;" although the revelation was, from chap. iv, 1 to concern things which must be hereafter."
Respecting the seals, I conceive
John is called up, to where alone visions of futurity can be disclosed, to witness in the rolls, successively unsealed, the representation of what concerns the whole scope of the revelation respecting the Church of God. And though the two first seals, in my opinion, relate to the two first of the only four empires which have possessed dominion in that portion of the globe where the Church of God has been gathered.— Still it is a hieroglyphic of each empire only as containing the territories out of which the Church was gathered, and as forming the platform of the whole action of the book during the subsequent gathering of the elect. In ing of the elect. This I trust may appear in my notes on the sixth chapter when I arrive at it.
Permit me to add a familiar illustration of my meaning.-Because man can apprehend objects only in succession, "line upon line, here a little and there a little;” the Holy Spirit appears to me to have condescended to this infirmity of our fallen state, by giving a brief sketch of the whole subject of the Revelation in the seven seals, and subsequently to return to particulars, relative to the great catastrophe which it is his object to reveal, in various separate views. Perhaps the process of painting a picture gave me, and may convey to others the idea. The artist first sketches his design: in successive sittings. he progressively completes the outline and fills up each several part. From habit we are hardly conscious of the act, but in looking at the picture the eye must pass necessarily from part to part before it can comprehend the whole in its view. I am Sir,
Your obliged correspondent,
* I am indebted to Mr. Faber for part of the following arguments.
REVIEW OF BOOKS.
(5) CUNINGHAME on the Seals and Trumpets.
(Concluded from page 317.)
Our remaining notice of Mr. Cuninghame's interesting work must necessarily be circumscribed; but we cannot dismiss it without a reference to the important and intricate subject of dates.
Most of our Readers are probably aware, that the principle upon which the great prophetic periods of Daniel and the Apocalypse have been assumed to signify 1260 years, has lately been vehemently impugned by the Rev. S. R. Maitland, of Gloucester. As it is our intention impartially to exhibit the sum of the whole controversy at an early period, we forbear now to say any thing that would prejudice the question further than to observe, that of all of all those those writers who have understood the dates symbolically, the interpretation of Mr. Cuninghame appears to us the best. Most of the modern writers have indeed adopted our Author's view, with more or less of qualification; some candidly acknowledging the source from whence they derived it; and others, less fastidious, leaving it to be supposed their own.
Mr. Cuninghame first proceeds to demonstrate, that the sounding of the seventh angel, (Rev. xi, 15—19,) is synchronous with the coming of the Ancient of days, described in Daniel vii, 9-14 and 22. The three principle points of identity which he particularizes are as follow:
The Author however admonishes us, that though the above events are to come to pass in the days of the trumpet of the seventh angel; yet they are not to follow immediately on its commencing to sound, but that various judgements are first to be accomplished. Indeed he considers the whole of the eleventh chapter as a sort of epitome or table of contents of what is afterwards
described; and thus that the phenomena mentioned chap. xvi, 18— 21 are only an enlargement of those described in chap. xi, 19; and that the seven vials are also a more particular setting forth of the same events. He considers the seventh trumpet to have sounded at the period of the consummation of the French Revolution in 1792; concerning which event he observes:—
"The French revolution, in its origin, progress, and consequences, is, without dispute, the most memorable event of a political nature recorded in the histories of nations. The mass of human misery
which it has occasioned within a short space of years; the dreadful change which it has effected in the state of the civilized
world; and the awful consequences with which it is yet pregnant and which are hidden in the womb of futurity;-combine to place it foremost in the rank of those events which have been destructive of the happiness of mankind."
At the end of the words which we have placed in italics the Author refers us to the following note which the anticipation of universal and durable peace then rendered necessary."I feel no inclination to retract or modify this expression. It is evident, that by that revolution a new impulse has been given to the human mind towards moral evil, which is even yet in active progress. March, 1817."
The eighth form of the beast is evidently shown, by the symbol of ten horns with diadems, (posterior in time to the imperial dominion of all the heads,) to be decemregal, or the reign of ten cotemporary Gothic sovereignties, dividing among themselves the territories of the empire. This form is said to be the beast which was, and is not; or in other words, this form is the revived empire of Rome in another shape. This eighth form is said to be of the seven; it is the christian imperial head branching off into ten sovereignties.
It will be necessary however that we first take a glance at Mr. Cuninghame's interpretation of the symbolical beasts of the Apocalypse, whose duration is so involved with the period in question.
When the Gothic nations invaded, and
at length subverted, the empire of the west, they inflicted a deadly wound on its seventh head, and the empire itself appeared to be finally and entirely destroyed as to its existence as a body politic. But the conquerors gradually identified themselves with the empire, by the following acts of submission: 1st, they submitted themselves to its religion; 2d, they received, as the basis of all national jurisprudence, the volume of the civil law; 3d, they at length
Following the general body of interpreters he considers the beast with seven heads and ten horns (chap. xiii) to be the Roman empire, and identical with the fourth beast of Daniel. On the same grounds he assumes the seven heads to signify acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of the forms of government under which that empire was successively to subsist; explaining the first six to have been kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, military tribunes and emperors. His further view of this subject we give from his more recent critical examination of Mr. Frere's scheme, in which Mr. Cuninghame's opinions are modified.
Rome, and bent their necks to its heavy yoke; 4th, they restored, in the person of Charlemagne, the titular empire of the west, and they gave precedence among the sovereignties of the great European commonwealth to that regal horn, in which was vested the revived title of emperor of the west and of the holy Roman empire; 5th, by constant intermarriages among the sovereigns of the different kingdoms, they came at length to bear the character of a common family. Thus, the whole Gothic kingdoms became moulded into a sort of federal republic, of which the acknowledged fountain of secular honour was the emperor of the holy Roman empire, even as the pope was the fountain of spiritual authority. In the rise of this commonwealth, we behold the fulfilment of the prophetic annunciation respecting "the beast that was, and is not, and yet is," or the revived Roman empire, which is the eighth form under which it was to exist, and in which form it is to go into perdition.” Pp. 53–55.
the Heruli and Turingi. This event was the infliction of the deadly wound on one of the heads of the beast, which was seen by the Apostle as it were wounded to death. The duration of this form is termed, in Rev. xvii, 10, a short space; and it was short, both when compared with that of the sixth head or heathen imperial power, and also with the period of the eighth form, which has continued now more than thirteen centuries.
"The sixth head of the dragon and beast, I conceive to have represented the imperial government of Rome in its heathen form, until the accession of Constantine, and the consequent establishment of christianity as the religion of the empire. The sixth head then fell to rise no more, no notice. being taken of the ephemeral reign of Julian. The seventh head appears to denote the christian imperial power, from Constantine to Augustulus, in whose person the western empire was extinguished, by
The two-horned beast, the description of which begins at verse 11 of the same chapter, he interprets to be the Pope. The number of his name” he unhesitatingly adopts from Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp; who considered it to be Latinus, expressed thus in Greek A, A, T, E, I, N, O, Ο, Σ,* 30, 1, 300, 5, 10, 50, 70, 200. Not being satisfied however with any of the interpretations of the image which the two-horned beast makes to the beast which had a wound by a sword and did live," he proposes one entirely new. He considers that by the corrupt influence and apostacy of the pope and clergy, the Church became secular, idolatrous, blasphemous and persecuting, like the beast itself; and by the same same influence also political life and power was given to the image; so "that it should both speak" by the decrees of its general councils and ecclesiastical assemblies ; "and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed:" by which means the Church of Rome obtained a paramount influence over the minds of princes and others, and became the object of superstitious esteem and veneration.—“ If (continues the Author)
the above explanation be the true ' one, then the image is a symbol of the same corrupt church afterwards exhibited to us as a woman, the harlot, Babylon the Great ; in 'confirmation of which idea it will be found, that wherever the image is subsequently mentioned, there Babylon is not mentioned; and on · the contrary, wherever mention of Babylon is made, there the image ' is omitted." P. 182.
We could wish, that this able writer had been equally unswayed by "the general consent of interpreters, when he adopted from them in part his view of the seven-headed beast. We have great difficulties to overcome before we can concur in that
view; though, as we have repeatedly
of blasphemy;" which, whilst it seems to confirm the notion of contemporaneous, not successive heads, is again inapplicable to the five first
*For the reasons assigned for this and other portions of interpretation, we must refer to the work itself.
heads in the above enumeration, which were not distinctively blasphemous, any more than all pagan polities are at all times. 6thly. The seven kings (v. 10) are assumed to be the same as the seven heads which appears to us the only ground on which the notion of seven successive heads can be justified. But we cannot see why they are made the same; for kings are, in Daniel, a symbol for kingdoms or empires, not forms of government; and the beast does not seem to come into power until the whole seven are previously passed away, when he forms the eighth. In offering these objections, we only avail ourselves of the same liberty we allow to others of proposing their difficulties for consideration.
Now the period during which the saints are to be given into the hand of the little horn, and the Church is nourished in the wilderness, and the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, and the holy city is given to be trodden under foot, and the seven headed beast is to continue,—is variously described, as a time, times and half a time, forty and two months,thousand two hundred and three score days; but all these, taking the calculation by lunar time, describe the exact same period, as is generally admitted. This period is expressly mentioned seven different times in Scripture;a and it is not too much to say, that the generality of protestant commentators, who have treated of it, have considered the number of days which it expresses symbolical, and expressive of 1260 years.*
The great difficulty, however, is
to date the commencement of this period. Mr. Cuninghame agrees with Mr. Faber in considering "that the giving the saints into the hands of the papacy, must be by some formal act of the secular power of that empire constituting the pope to be the head of the Church; and of course either giving him authority to inflict penalties on those who should withstand his mandates, or undertaking to coerce the offenders for him. Such an act Mr. Cuninghame discovers in the edict of the emperor Justinian, dated March 533, whereby the pope was made the head of all the churches and priests of God. These two persons evidently played into each others hands at this period; the pope, as the two horned beast, causing the world to worship the beast with seven heads, whilst the former issued blasphemous things against God. For the emperor had denounced as heretics all who did not hold with him, that the virgin Mary was the Mother of God; and these were commanded to be delivered up to punishment; and the children of such, if infected with their errors, were to lose all benefit of succession; and the pope, having ratified this by his authority, a new era was by this union of the imperial and ecclesiastical powers introduced into the church, which very speedily increased unto more ungodliness.b
Another particular, needful to be observed in this hypothesis, is the mode of computing time, which Mr. Cuninghame contends, against Mr. Faber, should be by current time and not by past time. This he shews to be the method generally adopted
a Dan. vii, 25; xii, 7; Rev. xi, 2, 3; xii, 6, 14; xiii, 5.
*For the ground of this interpretation of days we can only just advert to three principal passages supposed to bear it out; viz. Num. xiv, 33; Ezek. iv, 4-6; Dan. ix, 24.