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Contents of the little book-History of the Western
Apostasy under the three woe-trumpets.
ST. JOHN, having shewn the effects of the two first woe-trumpets in the East, next passes to the collateral and contemporary history of the West : for the same woe-trumpet, which called into action the Mohammedan Apostasy, produced likewise the development of the papal Apostasy.
In order to avoid needless confusion, the Apostle throws the whole history of Popery, during the whole 1260 days, and under all the three woltrumpets *, into a sort of episode to his general series of prophecies; which he terms a little book, or a codicil to his greater book of the Apocalypse. This little book comprehends the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth, chapters of the Recelation : and, in point of chronology, all these chapters run parallel to each other, relating severally, though with some variety of circumstances, to the same period and the same events; so as to form jointly a complete history of the western Apostasy, and of alļ the principal actors in it.
* Bp. Newton is certainly mistaken in saying, that the little book “ properly cometh under the sixth trumpet." The little book itself repeatedly declares, that it comprehends all the 1260 years : but the 1260 years extend through the whole period of the three woe-trumpets ; or at least through the whole of it, except that
which is included in the effusion of the last vial, and which synchronizes with Daniel's time of the end: whence it is manifest, that the little book must include, not only the sixth trumpet, but the fifth and seventh also. This is sufficiently
1. The first chapter of the little book * gives an account of the treading of the holy city under fogt during forty-two months ; of the desolate prophesying of the witnesses, during the same period of 1260) days; of their being slain by the beast of the bottomless pit; of their lying dead in the broad street of the great city during three days and a half; of their revival; of their triumphant ascent into the symbolical heaven; and of the earthquake which was
evident both from the date of the fifth trumpet, and from the termination of the seventh: for the fifth trumpet begins to sound at the very commencement of the 1260 years, namely when the ;bottomless pit was opened in the year 606 by the fullen star Ser. gius; and the serenth trumpet brings us down, through the different stages of its first six vials, to the end of the 1960 years. Since then the little book comprehends the whole of the 1260 years, it must necessarily commence with the sounding of the fifth trumpet, and must likewise include the setenth trumpet, Accordingly we find, that the seventh angel is represented as actually sounding in the little book (Rev. xi. 15.); though a more particular account of the effects of his blast is reserved for a distinct prophecy in the large book. Rev. XV-xix. Rev, xis
to overthrow the tenth part of the city, and to be the last event under the second woe : and it finally announces the sounding of the seventh trumpet, · which brings us down to the end of the 1260 days; but announces it without descending minutely to particularise its effects *. In this chapter (it is to be observed) the beast of the bottomless pit is barely mentioned : and no intimation whatsoever is given, either what this beast is, hy whose intigation, he acts, or whose minister he is ; the prophet reserving these particulars for his two succeeding chapters.
2. The second chapter of the little book f lets us into the whole mysterity of iniquity, so far as its original mover is concerned. We there learn, that * the 1960 years persecution of the true church of Christ is the contrivance of that old serpent, the devil; who is represented under the image of a dragon with seven heads and ten horns, in order to shew us by the instrumentality of what minister he was about to slay the witnesses, and to drive the .woman into the wilderness.
3. The third chapter of the little book , passės from the master to the servant; and shews us who is that minister of the dragon, that beast of the bottomless pit, which had already been represented as the murderer of the treo witnesses. It describes
* Its effects are afterwards . detailed very circumstantially under the seren vials, and in the chapters subsequent to that which relates to the pouring out of the vials. .: Rev. xii.
* Rev. xiii.
him as having seven heads and ten horns; the very heads and horns, which the dragon induces him to use against the woman, mentioned in the pres ceding chapter.
The third chapter further teaches us, by whose instigation as a second cause, the minister of the dragon, or the beast of the bottomless pit, is induced to take up arms against the woman and the two witnesses. His instigator is another beast, quite distinct from himself, though very intimately connected with him: a beast, which comes up out of the earth, or Roman empire; which has two horns like a lamb; which speaks as a dragon; and which exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, not in a hostile but in a friendly manner, for he causeth the whole earth to worship his colleague and supporter the first beast.
4. The fourth chapter of the little boolc * describes the internal state of the true Church during the prevalence of the western Apostasy; predicts the Reformation; and divides some of the most promident events of the seventh trumpet, which are detailed at large hereafter under the seven vials, into two grand classes, the harvest and the vintage of God's wrath, teaching us that the winepress shall be trodden in a certain country the space of which extends 1600 furlongs.
We learn then from the four chapters of the little book, both what the beast of the bottomless
* Rev. siva
pit is, mamely a certain beast with seven heads and ten horns; by whose instigation he acts, namely by that of a second beast with two' horns; and whose minister and tool he is, namely that of the great red dragon. We, moreover learn, that making himself a tool of the dragon, and acting by the ina stigation of the second beast, the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of the sea and the bottomless pit (for the beast of the sea and the beast of the bota tomless pit are one and the same power*, the sea describing bis natural and the bottomless pit his spiritual origin) should wage a war of 1260 years against the woman and the two witnesses who have the name of God written in their foreheads; but that nevertheless the Apostasy should receive a great check by the preaching of the Gospel t, and afterwards should be totally overthrown in the time of God's vintage
The way being thus cleared by this general statement, I shall proceed to consider the contents of the little book at large in five different sections, according as it naturally divides itself. 1. The prophesying of the witnesses ; 2. The war of the dragon with the woman; 3. The ten-horned beast of the sea; 4. The two-horned beast of the earth ; 5. The collateral history of the true Church, and the harvest and vintage of God's wrath.
Compare Rev. xii, 1. with Rev. xvii. 3, 8.
Rev. xiv. 18, 19, 20.