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" with such an explication of their tendency, as " served rather to confirm than to remove the “ scruples of their hearers, with regard to them. “ The people, many of whom had grown up to
mature years since the establishment of the " reformed religion, and had never known any “ other form of public worship, beheld the pomp
ous pageantry of the popish service with con
tempt or horror; and in most places the Ro"mish ecclesiastics, who returned to take posses« sion of their churches, could hardly be protected " from insult, or their ministrations from interrup* tion. Thus, notwithstanding the apparent com
pliance of so many cities, the inhabitants, being accustomed to freedom, submitted with reluct
ance to the power which now oppressed them. “ Their understanding, as well as inclination, re“ volted against the doctrines and ceremonies im
posed on them; and, though for the present they concealed their disgust and resentinent, it
was evident that these passions could not always “ be kept under restraint, but would break out
at last in effects proportioned to their vio“ lence*."
Such was the manner in which Charles bent “ the stubborn spirit of the Germans to general “ submission.” Strasburg and Constance experienced the same fate as Augsburg and Ulin; and last of all, after enduring the miseries of a long
* Robertson's Hist. of Charles V. vol. iji. p. 172, 173. See also p, 202, 203, 204.
protracted siege, Magdeburg was compelled to surrender, and to receive the Interim as a system of faith.
(2.) To apply these historical facts to prophecy: since the death of the witnesses denotes their ceasing to be witnesses, since the instrument of inflicting this death is the Roman beast under his last or Gothica-imperial head, and since the representative of this head at the era of the reformation (to which the terms of the prophecy seem most naturally to direct us) was Charles the fifth ; I conceive, that the death of the witnesses, which took place subsequent to and in consequence of the beast's waging, war against them, was effected by their constrained reception of the Interim. For, by receiving such a system, they ceased for a time to be witnesses of the everlasting Gospel; or, in the figured language of prophecy, they were slain. But the diet were compelled to give their sanction to the Interim on the 15th of May 1548 : from this time therefore, or rather perhaps from the time when the Emperor, after the dissolution of the diet, ordered the Interim to be published and enforced, which happened somewhat later*, the three days and a half, during which the witnesses were to lie dead, must be computed t.
* Robertson's Hist. of Charles V. vol. iii. p. 166.
+ Brightman refers this prophecy to the same period with myself, but with a very important difference in the particular, application of it. He chinks, that the witnesses' were slain in
3. The witnesses were now prophetically dead : but they were not long to continue so; their tenets were neither forgotten, nor wholly removed out of sight, as is the case when a dead body is hidden in the grave: hence it is said, that, although slain themselves, their remains were not buried *.
(1.) I have already stated the time when, and the power by which, they were to be slain; it will now be proper to consider the place where their dead bodies were thus exposed. This was the broad street of the great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where, also our Lord was crucified. The excellent Bp. Newton, and the learned Mr. Mann of the Charter-house, whom he cites, needlessly perplex themselves with elaborately shewing, how the city of Rome may be said to be the city where our Lord was crucified. The great city, however, the mystic Babylon, which throughout the Apocalypse is represented in constant and direct opposition to the holy city or the Church, is certainly 'not the city, but the empire, of Rome* : whence a street of this great city is a kingdom or province of the empire, considered as a whole ; and a tenth part of the city, as mentioned in the thirteenth verse of the present chapter, is not a tenth part of the literal city of Rome, but a tenth part of the Roman empire, and consequently is precisely equivalent to one of the ten horns or kingdoms of the beast. This being the case, there is no need to seek for a spiritual sense, in which our Lord may be said to have been crucified in the great city: he literally suffered within its precincts; for he was put to death in Palestine, at that time a province of the Roman empiret. This obvious exposition will show the great accuracy of the prophecy now under consideration. The two mystic witnesses were
the battle of Muhlberg, which, as we have seen, was fought on the 24th of April 1547 ; and that they were raised from the dead, and stood again upon their feet at Magdeburg, when, about three years and a half after the battle of Muhlberg, the Magdeburgers took up arms in opposition to the Interim.
I had once adopted this opinion; but a more mature consideration convinces me that it is erroneous. Although the protestants were completely routed at Muhlberg, the witnesses cannot, in the prophetic sense of the words, be said to have been slain, because they had not ceased to be witnesses. They did not cease to bear their testimony, until they were constrained to accept the Interim. Then, and not till then, were they slain. So again: the revival of the witnesses, their standing upon their feet, and the great fear of their enemies, certainly describe a complete change in the state of the witnesses, a commencement of prosperity succeeding their former depressed condition. But, when the Magdeburgers took up arms, they took them up unsuccessfully, being compelled, after a long siege, to surrender their city and to receive the Interim.
* Possibly this expression may covertly allude to the Emperor's carrying about with' him in triumph' those poor remains of the vanquished protestants, the Elector and the Landgrave, and exposing them every where as a speetacle to the Germans. . See Hist. of Charles V. vol. ii. p. 135, 173.
The temporal Babylon is the temporal empire of Rome; the spiritual Babylon is the spiritual empire of the Roman pontiff.
7" Urbs magna 1. Sodoma; 2. Ægyptus. Hinc discimus “ urbem magnam ad totum bestic regnum extendi, nam Ægyptus non civitas erat, sed regnum. 3. Interfectrix Christi. Hinc
a constat Roman hoc loco non intelligi. Christus autem in 6 Romana urbe crucifixus dicitur, i.e. in ejus finibus et imperio ; “ in urbis platea, h. e. intra ditionem Romanam, sive in provincia “ ipsius.” Pol. Synop. in loc.
“ Hæc urbs magna est tota' illa ditio cujus est Roma metro
polis : quo sensu decima pars urbis cadit, infra ver. 13. " Platea est pars aliqua Romance ditionis, in qua spectaculum “ hoc visendum exbibetur, cujus gaudium se diffundit per totum “ imperium. Urbs autem ipsa magna una cúin metropoli sua in “ reliquo versu describitur, idque duobus disertis nominibus,
et adjuncta simul insigni nota, nequis in orbe forsan erraret « --Primum nomen est Sodoma---Secundum nomen est Ægyp“ tus, non urbs aliqua, qualis Sodoma, sed integra regio et pro“ vincia. Unde hoc nomen non est proprium ipsius metropolis, “ sed totius ejus ditionis commune.” Apoc. Apoc. Fol. 174, 175, See also Fol. 258.
“ The great city is that city which reigneth over the kings of “ the earth, or Rome, the empress of the world. Streets of the “ great city are its public places throughout its dominion ; for the
great city is not considered so much in its buildings, as a " seat of empire. It is Rome and the Roman empire, says the “ Bp. of Meaux; and, taking the great city for Rome and its " empire, he adds, It is literally true, that Jesus Christ was
crucified there, even by the Roman power. And it is moreover
true, that the same Rome, which crucified Christ in person, “ crucified him also every day in his members.
The general “ meaning of this passage is well expressed by Mr. Daubuz:
“ The dead bodies of the witnesses shall lie throughout the extent, :,“ in the most conspicuous places, or the chief and principal parts,
“ of the Antichristian jurisdiction (Lowman's Paraph. in loc.). Had Mr. Daubuz said singularly the conspicuous place, as the
Apostle does, instead of expressing himself plurally, I should have had nothing to object.