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of its enemies, seems to be expressed by the sufferings and resurrection of the witnesses. Thus, in more early times, our Lord's religion had appeared extinct and buried with him; but, after three days, with him it rose again, -was rekindled in the faint and sunken hearts of his disciples; by whose preaching it was diffused rapidly among the nations, imparting to them the pure knowledge of the one true God, and of an heavenly Redeemer. As during the long reign of darkness and corruption preceding the Reformation, the light of genuine religion was seen frequently to beam through the prevailing mists of superstition at intervals, and for a short time only; so many periods are pointed out by commentators, when this true light, thus overclouded, broke out again at the end precisely of three years and an half, answering prophetically to the three days and half foretold in this chapter. These seem to be so many partial and particular resurrections of pure religion,
1 See them collected by Bishop Newton, Dissert, on the Prophecies, vol. iii. 140-146; octavo edition.
The commentators in the reformed churches are in the main agreed, as to the general interpretation of this prophecy in a mystical or spiritual sense. They all look to the same times of fulfilment, to the same conflict, to the progress of the Reformation, opposed by the papal hierarchy; but not without some view in favour of their own particular age, nation, or sphere of action. Vitringa has shown, that in several instances this has been done by them successfully: so that these partial completions of the prediction have seemed to some commentators to stand as types, as it were of some grander and more universal fulfilment. The Reformation opened by Luther, bas been accounted one of these. But as no one is authorised to affirm, that the whole period of twelve hundred and sixty years is already elapsed, so to future time only can we look with safety for the exposition of a prophecy whose complete history may yet remain to be unfolded.
The partial fulfilments to which we allude, may be seen in Vitringa's able and learned exposition of this prophecy, and abstracted in the work of Bishop Newton; and the student may see the progress of the Reformation through these its stages, briefly and ably delineated by Fraser in his Kcy to the prophecies.
again to be buried and lost for a time. Such a dark interval preceded the Reformation, which was again set on foot by the preaching of Luther. rulers of the darkness of this world,” (Eph. vi. 12.) had then, to all human appearance, extinguished the light of evangelical truth. But while they were celebrating their triumph, the holy light rekindles; it rises, as it were, from the dead. By Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, Zuinglius, and their followers ; the religion of the Bible, the gospel of Christ, are reproduced in the Christian world; are perpetuated by the then newly-invented art of printing; and again become the rule of worship and of duty, the sure guides to heaven.
Ver. 13.] An earthquake prefigures earthly commotions; without which the events announced under this part of the sixth trumpet could not be expected to take place. The tenth part of the city falls. This apparently is the great city, described in verse the 8th as corrupt, after the abominations of Sodom, of Egypt, of Jerusalem, in her most degenerate days, containing at the same time the Gentiles, (see ver. 2 and 9,) who tread the exterior courts, but are not admitted into the interior of the Lord's house or temple.
This description seems to comprise the whole visible community of the Christian Church, during the prophecy of the witnesses, and exclusive of them. A tenth, that is a very conspicuous part of it, is seen to fall at this time. This city undergoes another subsequent earthquake, (ch. xvi. 19.) when it is represented as composed of many cities of the Gentiles, or nations which fall.
In the present earthquake, there were slain, names of men, (so the translation is rightly given in the margin,) seven thousand, and the result is, that “ the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."
This earthquake happens at the time when the witnesses finish, or are finishing their testimony. That is, towards the close of the twelve hundred and sixty years, assigned to them in verse the second. The events therefore prefigured by it, are probably yet to come, and cannot be safely ascertained before history shall show them forth conformable to the prediction.
However, in the annals of the Reformation already obtained, commentators have pointed out events, which, in the spiritual sense in which this prophecy has been hitherto explained, seem to amount nearly to fulfilment. Thus, in the sixteenth century, the Reformation re-attempted, by Luther and his followers, occasioned the most violent commotions; and the great city or community professing itself Christian, was vehemently shaken by wars and persecutions; and a great part of it renounced their obedience to the Roman pontiff. But, a considerable number of the men, (Christian, in name and profession,) fell from the life which is in Christ. The Christian liberty, which they were entitled to, (Gal. v. 1.) and had obtained, produced in some licentiousness and fanaticism, as in the anabaptists of Munster; in others infidelity and atheism. But to the Christian world in general, the Reformation of the sixteenth century was in every sense most bene. ficial. Many nations withdrawing themselves entirely from the tyranny and corruptions of the Roman church, modelled their religion by the word of God, and the practice of primitive Christianity. And even they, who were compelled to adhere to the papal communion, incited by the example of Protestants, began to cultivate, if not in their formularies, yet in their lives and practice, a less impure and corrupt religion. Some nations, acknowledging the papal name, have been enabled to shake off a considerable part of the papal yoke; to renounce the authority of the court of Rome in their civil, and (as in the Gallican church,) some of their religious concerns; and a prospect is thus opened of their entire deliverance from this audacious usurpation.
Ver. 14.] The second woe appears, from this passage and its context, to be under the sixth trumpet, and included in the period of twelve hundred and sixty years, which seems to contain the greater part of the Mahometan and Papal times. As to the third woe, or temporary depression of Christianity, I have in another place expressed an apprehension that it is yet to come; and we must withhold our judgment concerning prophecies yet unfulfilled.
The sounding of the Seventh Trumpet.
CHAP. xi. ver. 15 to the end.
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four-and-twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Ver. 15.] The sound of the seventh trumpet was become an object of expectation. It was the last trumpet, the sabbatical one, which, after a long period of warfare, should bring rest and peace to the church. The angel had solemnly declared, that “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, the mystery of God should be finished.” Immediately, therefore, as this sound is heard, heavenly voices hail the happy time, and announce the triumphant reign of