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therefore must be allowed; and accordingly has been allowed by nearly every commentator. But the very circunıstance of such a division being specified leads us almost necessarily to , conclude, that no other division was intended by the Apostle : for, if it had been intended, why was it not similarly specified ? The Archdeacon draws an analogical argument from the distinct prophecies of Daniel, in favour of the system of dividing the Apocalypse. After treating of his first series, that of the first sir seats, which he supposes to extend from the uscension of Christ to the day of judgment, he adds, "Such appears to be " this general outline of the Christian history. Many im“ portant intervals yet remain to be filled up under the seventh " seal, which will be found to contain all the prophecies re“ maining; and, by tracing the history over again, to supply
many events which were only touched upon before. This “ method of divine prediction, presenting at first a general “ sketch or outline, and afterwards a more complete and finished " colouring of events, is not peculiar to this prophetical book. “ It is the justobservation of Sir Isaac Newton, that the prophecies “ of Daniel arè ail of them related to cuch other; and that every
following prophecy adds something new to the former. We may " add to this observation, that the silme empires in Daniel are ri
represented by various types and symbols. The four parts “ of the image, and the four beasts, are varied symbols of the “ same empires. The bear and the he-goat, in different « visions, represent the same original: and so do the ram
and the leopard. We are not therefore to be surprised, “ when we find the same history of the Church beginning
anew, and appearing under other, yet corresponding,
types; thus filling up the outlines which had been traced. “ before *.” This analogical argument appears to me to be. inconclusive, on account of the defectiveness of parallelism between the manifestly distinct prophecies of Daniel and the only supposed distinct prophecies of St. John. Who for in stance can doubt even momentarily of the complete distinct ness of the two visions of the image and the four beusts, although
they plainly treat of the same four empires ? The one is seen
Dan. vii. 1.viii. 1. 1.
t-Resol. 9, 10.
the proper mode of dividing it? When I am told, that the first division comprehends the six first seals; the second division, the six first trumpets ushered in by the serenth seal; and the third division, the seven riuis ushered in by the seventh trumpet: I feel myself walking on very unstable ground; for if the Apocalypse be divided at all, it seems unnatural to separate one seul and one trumpet from their respective fellows. But, even granting that the Apocalypse ought to be divided, and further grauting that the Archdeacon's division is the right one; it still does not follow, that his interpretation ought to be admitted. If the six first seals constitute the first series, what right have we to say that the second series, introduced by the seventh seal, chronologically commences from the selfsame era as the first? If St. John himself had specified the Archdeacon's division, and told us that his second vision commenced with the seventh seal as the second historical vision recorded by Daniel commences with the winged lion; should
we on that account have any right to conclude, that St. John's : second vision ought to be computed from the same era as his
first? Would it not, on the contrary, be more natural to suppose, that, since his first vision was that of the six seals, and since his second vision was introduced by the seventh seal, the first chronologically succeeded the second, instead of commencing and running parallel with it? In fact, if we once allow the propriety of dividing the Apocalypse, and of supposing that the first division is a sketch of what is more largely predicted under the second divisiou, as the prophecy of the image in Daniel is a sketch of the prophecy of the four beaεts, we seem to preclude the possibility of its ever being satisfactorily explained by an uninspired commentator : for, in this case, who is to divide it; and where shall we find any two expositors, that write upon this plan, who will agree in their mode of division? There is, for obvious reasons, no discrepancy between commentators in determining where each of Daniel's four prophecies both begins and ends : but can we expect the same freedom from discrepancy, if they attempt to divide the Apocalypse into distinct visions agrecably to the analogy of Daniel's predictions?
On these grounds I feel myself compelled to adhere to the common opinion, that the Apocalypse, with the already mentioned and almost universally allowed exception of the little book, is one continued vision : and, if such an opinion be well founded, since the septenary of the seals precedes the septenary of the trumpets, and the septenary of the trumpets the . septenary of the viuls, each of these septentries must, as Bp. Newton argues, chronologically precede the other. Whether we suppose the last seal absolutely to comprehend as well as to introduce the seven trumpets, and the last trumpet in a similar manner the seven vials, is of no great consequence so far as the chronological arrangement of the Apocalypse is concerned ; though I think there is reason for admitting, with Bp. Newton, the propriety of such a supposition. For what does the seventă seal contain, vuless we conceive it to contain the seven trumpets; and where shall we find the third woe announced under the seventh trumpet, if we do not find it under the secen vials, those seven last plagues in which is filled up the wrath of God * ? But, if once we adopt the belief of the continuity and indivisibility of the Apocalypse (always excepting the little book), it is plain, that by far the greater part of the Arch. deacon's interpretations cannot be admitted, because they are founded upon its non-continuity and divisibility.
II. I shall now proceed to offer a few observations on some particular expositions of the Archdeacon, premising that it is
not my intention to notice every little matter in which I happen to dissent from him.
1. His exposition of the first sir seuls I of course cannot admbit; because, extending as it does from the ascension of our Lord to the day of judgment, it seems to me to militate against the whole chronology of the Apocalypse. Yet his principle of expounding the four first seals is so very satisfactory, that I cannot but think it highly deserving of serious attention ; and, if I mistake not, the Archdeacon himself points out what. is probably the right interpretation of them. Till now I never met with any thing satisfactory on the subject: and I forbore
* Rev. xv, 1. See Bp. Newton's very able Dissert. on Rev, xv.
to treat of it in my own Dissertation, both on that account, and because it has no connection with the 1260 duys to the consi- . deration of which I was peculiarly directing my attention. Hence I merely stated in a note, that I could not believe with Bp. Newton that the rider on the white horse under the first seal could symbolize the age of Vespasiun, because the homogeneity of the Apocalypse required us to suppose him the same as the rider on the white horse described in the 19th chapter. But that rider is plainly the Messiah: whence I inferred with Mede, that the other rider must be the Messiah likewise ; and that his going forth conquering and to conquer denoted the rapid propagation of the Gospel in the pure apostolical age. Yet, though I approved of Mede's interpretation of the first seal, I could not but see bis inconsistency in referring the three riders' in the three succeeding seals to clisses of Roman emperors: for homogeneity, as the Archdeacon very justly and forcibly argues, requires us to suppose that there must be some degree of analogy, some common bond of connection, between all the four riders and all the four horses under the four first seals. Bp. Newton avoids the inconsistency of Mede, by interpreting the four riders to denote four successive classes of Roman emperors; but then he equally, though in a different manner, violates homogeneity by teaching us, that the rider on the white horse in the 19th chapter is Christ, but that the rider on the white horse of the first seul represents the age of Vespasian, I entirely agree with the Archdeacon, that the 19th chapter must be our clue for interpreting the four seals; and consequently, since the first seal must relate to the spiritual victories of Christ in the apostolical age, the three other seals must depict three successive states of the Church. These four periods the Archdeacon does not attempt precisely to divide from each other, observing both truly and beautifully that the progress of corruption was gradual, and that its tints melted into each other like the colours of the rainbow. The first period is that of primitive Christianity: the second is that of internal dissentions leading to bloodshed: the third is thut of spiritual bondage and a dearth of religious knowledge: and the fourth is that of persecution. The Archdeacon thinks, that the vengeful character VOL. II. LL