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In ascertaining the place of the different visions and their chronological coincidence, I pay strict attention to the internal marks." Preface, p. vii.
At the opening of the first seal is seen a white horse, with a rider having a bow, to whom was given a crown, and he went forth conquering and to conquer." (Rev. vi, 2.) The horse is interpreted to be an emblem of victory; the white color, of pure and holy conquests; the bow, as the Author concludes from Ps. xlv, 5, denotes those conquests to be also spiritual; and the rider is considered to be a hieroglyphical, not a real character. The The whole therefore represents the triumphant progress of the Gospel of Christ in the three first centuries, which was the purest age of the Church.
We own that we were previously wont to interpret the rider of Messiah himself; (the more so when we considered the 45th Psalm ;) and the crown given to him, and the circumstance that he goes forth " conquering" at the time of his outset, and "to conquer" hereafter, appeared confirmatory of this view. But we here feel the value of Mr. Cuninghame's principle, which recals us from an interpretation that would not be analogous with the three next seals for if one rider be a real and not a hieroglyphical person, so must all; and we have never yet seen any interpretation attempting to make them all persons, which brought conviction with it.
The great sword given to the rider under the second seal, and the red or fire color of his horse, (v. 4,) are assumed to be emblems of discord and dissension, and to relate to the disputes of the fourth and fifth centuries; (the Donatist
schism, the Arian controversy, &c;*) which is borne out by the description, that peace was to be taken from the earth.
The black horse under the third seal, (verses 5, 6,) is interpreted of the darkness and ignorance which prevailed through what are called the dark ages, beginning with the fifth century and terminating with the Reformation. The yoke (not balances, as (vyov is translated in our version) denotes the burdensome rites and ceremonies, and unscriptural doctrines, imposed upon the consciences of men. As twenty chonices of wheat were, in ordinary times of plenty, sold for a penny, the proclamation that only one was now to be had for that sum further indicates great famine of the word of God and gospel ordinances; and yet, that neither the illuminating nor consoling influences of the Spirit, (represented by the command not to hurt the wine and oil,) were to be taken from those who sought the Lord,
The fourth seal exhibits death on the pale (xXλwpos) or livid green horse. This is applied to the persecutions which arose from papal power, commencing early in the 13th century, down to the revocation of the edict of Nantes. Hades, who follows Death, is explained to denote the place of departed spirits into which the souls of the martyrs were gathered, not the place of
The fifth seal (verses 9-11) is interpreted of the same souls of the martyrs which are seen crying for vengeance against their persecutors, just before the Reformation. White robes are given them, emblematic of their justifying righteousness ; and an intimation is also given to
* See also Eusebius's description of the state of the Church just before the persecu
tion of Dioclesian, at the beginning of the fourth century.
them, that others were likewise to be slain. This Mr. Cuninghame conceives intended to place before us the improved condition of the the Church which followed the protestant Reformation; (p. 17;) but to us it seems rather obscure to make the words which contain a cry for vengeance, and an intimation, that they must rest till others of their brethren and servants should be slaughtered, a symbol of the improved condition of the Church, when the protestants generally obtained complete toleration, and in some parts even a victory."
The earthquake under the sixth seal (verses 12-17) is by some interpreters, and among them Mede and Newton, applied to the revolution which took place after Constantine ascended the throne; an interpretation which, however plausibly supported in some particulars, has ever seemed to us so greatly to violate chronology and consistency, and to be so inadequate to the language which describes this earthquake, that we have wondered how any could carefully compare those events with the prophecy, and yet arrive at such a conclusion. There was no overthrow of the imperial power at the accession of Constantine; but only a conversion of it towards the cause of Christ. Nor was there any overthrow of the kingdoms and principalities subject to him; nor any alarm and dismay among the rulers thereof, as if afraid of the termination of their power; for the greater part came over quietly into the profession of christianity. More especially it was no time of wrath upon them, or of recompense for their persecutions, though it might stay them. Such an interpretation is as little satisfactory, as that which refers to Constantine the commencement of the thousand years. Our Author
justly dissents from this view; and
The seventh chapter of the Apocalypse is a continuation of the events of the sixth Seal. The first words ' after these things I saw, &c." imply, that the earthquake described in the previous chapter had commenced; but that the grand convulsions, which are to consummate the judgement on the apostacy, are to be suspended, until an elect people are sealed in the forehead-that is until the number of God's people shall be completed through the preaching of the Gospel. This, according to our Author, is represented by the four angels holding the winds, that the stormy elements which are to bring on the great
whirlwind" of destruction may be restrained for a time: and the fulfilment of this he further considers to have commenced at the time when he wrote, by the mighty confederacy of those princes of Europe who procured a peace.
Mr. Cuninghame wrote this immediately after the peace was accomplished; which (though it ought to be no objection to those who say, we cannot understand prophecy until accomplished) may prejudice those who are wont to say, that interpreters of prophecy can mould any events to an accordance with the
divine predictions. It is remarkable however, that Vitringa (our copy of whose work on the Apocalypse is dated 1705, and with whose writings Mr. Cuninghame was unacquainted when he adopted this interpretation) takes a similar view of the winds and the angels, and of the preservation of the elect: though of course he does not apply them to the particular event in question. It is worthy also of notice, what efforts have since been made and are now making by the great powers of Europe to restrain the winds; and how general is the opinion even of irreligious men, that we only want a spark to kindle throughout all Europe the general conflagration of war. And we will further add, that although this event-the restraining of the winds-had in part transpired when our Author wrote; he had not then witnessed another event, which has since strikingly illustrated the correctness of his principle of interpretation in this instance. Few would in 1817 have anticipated, by the mere dint of political shrewdness, that the peace which then appeared so firmly established should in 1830 be so fearfully threatened; and all Europe again be agitated by another shock of that earthquake, the subterranean causes of which (if we may so speak) were still at work. Yet in a note which refers to the general pacification of Europe the Author present state of Europe seems to me to resemble an edifice, hastily built with loose 'stones, without mortar or cement : I still believe that we are in the 'midst of the last great earthquake. Feb. 1817." P. 25.
CUNINGHAME ON THE APOCALYPSE.
Here we cannot but pause a moment and consider, what an awful crisis we are in, if Mr. Cuninghame's interpretation be correct. Oh, what a war will that be, which shall next
rush like a whirlwind upon the nations! And if the winds are only restrained until the number of God's elect be accomplished, how near we are to that awful hour, when the door of mercy will be closed upon this generation, and all who have been sowing the wind will reap the whirlwind, being recompensed with the fruit of their own devices, the spark of their own kindling,—the cockatrice which they themselves have hatched! ought we to endeavour to second and promote the Lord's present purposes of mercy; faithfully to declare the apostacy and danger of an ungodly world; and to warn sinners to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
As the Author assumes the former part of this chapter to represent the certain preservation of the true Church of Christ from the general destruction; so in the concluding verses, (9—17,) he considers is set forth the actual translation of the Church from the great tribulation into the Millennial rest. We notice this for the sake of observing one of those important chronological indices so frequently pointed out in this work. It is, that the palmbearing multitude stand before God and worship him in his temple ; (v. 15;) whereas this temple is not opened till the sounding of the seventh trumpet: therefore the event here described must be subsequent to the sounding of that trumpet. And further, that as the temple, when then opened, (in order as we presume to excite the lively expectation of the redeemed,) yet continued so filled with smoke as to be inaccessible to men till after the seven vials were poured out; so this worship in the temple must also be subsequent to that event.
Thus does Mr. Cuninghame endeavour to prove, that the first six
seals contain a kind of epitome of the history of the Church, from the time of our Lord's ascension until the kingdoms of this world are proclaimed to be his: a view which is certainly wonderfully confirmed by the page of history, and borne out by the structure of the Book of Daniel and many of the cursory prophecies.
To be continued.
Probable rupture between the Porte and Egypt.
The waters of the mystic Eu- but because, when judgements are
threatening our own Land, it ad-
Judgements at Bagdad.
We would likewise draw attention to what has taken place at Bagdad: not so much because of the awful depopulation there, tending also to diminish the waters of Euphrates, and further marking that a vial of wrath is poured upon the empire;
We must remind the Reader, that we cannot do justice to an elaborate work of this description, by setting forth all the arguments by which the interpretation contended for is supported, neither the inconsistencies which are shewn to exist in former and contrary expositions. For these matters we must refer him to the work itself.
In the press, STRICTURES ON Mr. MAITLAND'S PAMPHLETS ON PROPHECY, and in vindication of the Protestant Principles of Prophetic Exposition. By W. CUNINGHAME, OF LAINSHAW. J. Nisbet, London.
THE GENERAL DELUSION OF
ON THE LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE
INTERPRETATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
The sacred writers use language in every proper way, that is, literally and with every variety of figure. They generally wrote the history of their times in literal language; but on particular occasions they have adopted a parabolic method to record past events, a and they have done the same when foretelling future events. It must be evident to every attentive reader of the Bible, that there are literal and figurative prophecies; among the latter of which some are typical and others symbolical.
The literal prophecies are those the fulfilment of which corresponds to the words of the prophet in their primitive and original sense- Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son:"b They pierced my hands and my feet." The typical prophecies are those which foretel future events by some peculiar actions or things, having certain correspondencies to the events predicted. Such was the burning bush, which was not consumed by the fire; the bush being a typical prophecy of the fiery trials of the children of Israel and their preservation in the midst of them. Such was Elisha's directing Joash the king of Israel to shoot an arrow out of the window, and afterwards to smite on the ground with arrows; the number of strokes with which he smote the ground being types of the number of victories he should
a 2 Sam. xiv, 2-20; Ps. lxxx. xiii, 17-19. e Ezek. xii, 1-12.
INVESTIGATOR, No. IX.
gain over Syria.d So also Jeremiah's girdle, which he concealed in a rock: the decayed state of the girdle was a type of the manner in which God would God would "mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem." And again Ezekiel's removing his goods through a hole in the wall in the sight of his neighbours; when he was commanded to say,—“ I am
your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into cap⚫tivity."e
The symbolical prophecies are those which represent future events by certain ideal objects, such as trees, animals, &c. For example, the great image and great tree of Nebuchadnezzar; the image being a symbol of the successive kingdoms of the nations to the end of the world. world. The head was the symbol of the kingdom of Babylon; the breast and arms were representations of the Medes and Persians; the belly and thighs of brass denoted the Grecian monarchy; the legs and feet were emblems of the Roman empire; and the stone that smote the image was a symbol of the kingdom of Christ.f The great tree was a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar himself; its being cast down denoted the judgment that should come upon him; and the stump being left in the earth denoted his preservation until he should know that the heavens do rule.g The different
d 2 Kings
b Isa. vii, 14. c Ps. xxii, 16.