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On the Contents of the Book of Revelation.
Y last essay [pp. 42-45] ended with the end of the sixth chapter, including in it a sketch of the political and ecclesiastical state of Christianity, to A. D. 313. We have seen the Pagan empire overturned at Rome, and the Christian name seizing on the throne of the Pontifex Maximus, and ruling the Eastern and Western empire, taking possession of the revenues of their temples, and assuming the servile titles of the officers of idol deities, and with them their dress, and their paraphernalia.
The seventh chapter is a continuation of the sixth seal. 1-3. The judgments of God about to be poured out on the Roman emperor, are restrained, till the servants of God are sealed, i. e. till the appointed extent of the peace and prosperity of the church had been established; 6-8, describes their numbers; 9-17, declares the happiness of the countless multitudes, who, by their fortitude under sufferings and death had obtained the triumphs of Christianity.
Chap. viii. 1. We are now come to the opening of the seventh seal, and must here observe, that we shall often find the word heaven used, and that it invariably signifies temporal power. The conclusion of the Smyrna state was the victory over Maxentius, and the decree of Constantine and Licinus, which ended the persecution of the Christians. This state of war is followed by half an hour's silence, or the forty-eighth part of three hundred and sixty days, a space of about seven and a half days; denoting the smallness of the period of peace before the trumpet of war would be again sounded; and so it was, even in the midst of their rejoicing for their victory, Constantine was called to repel an inroad of the Franks, and Licinus to fight with Maximin for his throne.
It has been noticed that the Roman empire had now become Christian. In conformity to this language, the scene is here laid in the temple, or church of God, before the morning service. 2, 9. During this silence God's messengers are preparing, and have given to them seven trumpets; 4, prayer ascends from the saints of God;
5, whilst another messenger takes fire from the altar and casts it to the earth; denoting that the divine judgments about to take place are from divine appointment. (Exod. x. 2.) 6. The messengers prepare to sound the trumpet of war. (Jer. iv. 19.) This preparation may be considered as the interval between the reign of Constantine and that of Theodosius the Great. 7. The first trumpet sounded, is followed by hail, attended with lightning and blood, which destroys the third part of the earth, of the trees, and of the green herb. References to the Psalms and Prophets shew that these are divine judgments: the earth is the Roman empire, peculiarly the land of Christians; the trees are the middling and superior classes; and the green herb is the lower class, or common people.
The Huns and Goths were ready to enter the Roman empire, but were restrained by the powerful arm of the great Theodosius: his death released them from this terror, as also from the hopes of his liberality. His sons succeeded him, Honorius in the Western, and Arcadius in the Eastern empire. Theodosius died January 395. Before the end of the winter, the Goths were in arms. Alaric, at the head of the barbarous nations of Scythia, entered Greece and compelled Honorius to honour him with the title of MasterGeneral of the Eastern Illyricum, whilst the barbarians elevated him on their shields, and, proud of his victories, proclaimed him king of the Visigoths. After having desolated the Eastern empire, A. D. 400 to 403, Alaric returned to the bank of the Danube, and there, recruited by fresh barbarians, he went through Pannonia and over the Julian Alps into Italy, "where," says the poet, "fame, encircled with terror, on gloomy wings, proclaimed the march of the barbarians, and filled Italy with terror." The remainder of the sounding of this first trumpet is but the history of increasing troubles, when it closed A. D. 450, being through the whole Western empire one scene of continued invasion, revolution and slaughter, in which it was scarcely possible for less than one third of the inhabitants of every rank to have perished.
Chap. viii. 8, 9, the second trumpet sounds. A burning mountain, Attila
and his Huns, is thrown upon the sea, upon the congregated nations of the Western Roman empire, and the third part of the fish, i. e. the men in the empire, were destroyed by his invasions, and with them the third part of the shipping. The dreadful consequences of these invasions may be judged of by their effects. Aquilea was totally destroyed; Atinum, Concordia and Padua were reduced to a heap of stones. The families that fled from his fury made some compensation for the ruin of the maritime strength of Italy, by taking refuge in the Adriatic islands, for they laid there the foundation of the future glory of the Venetian Republic. This second blow at the Western Roman empire ended in A. D. 452. 10, 11. This dreadful trumpet was im mediately followed by the sounding of the third trumpet, and the calling fresh hosts of barbarians to the destruction of the civilized, but ener. vated Romans. The Vandals and Alani under Genseric, between A. D. 439 and 445, had seized upon the fertile territory of Africa, from Tangiers to Tripoli. Having increased his subjects with the inhabitants of Africa, and enlarged his fleets, he made conquest of Sicily; and A. D. 455, on the invitation of Eudoxia, the widow of the emperor Valentinian, he made a descent on Rome, plundered it for fourteen days, and carried the empress and her two daughters captives with him to Africa. This star, or rather meteor, by his frequent incursions ou various parts of the empire, dried up the nations whose influx had kept up the population of Rome; whilst his predatory invasions of all the coasts of Spain, Italy and Africa, cut off the resources of the Romau people, so that, when Genseric had taken away her patrimony, and robbed her of her wealth, those temporal charms were faded which brought into her city the conflux of nations. The rapidity of his attacks was swift as the descent 'of a meteor, and was death to the greatness, riches and freedom of Rome.
Chap. viii. 12, 18, is the sounding of the fourth trumpet. This produces the darkening of one third of the sun, of the moon, and the stars. These figures describe the ruling or imperial authority of the Western Roman empire, and also of the princes and ma
gistrates who receive splendour from it. A total eclipse of these is a subversion of the government; a partial eclipse represents a change, and not an overturning of the national polity, in 476. This took place when Augustulus, the son of Orestes, was chosen emperor, under the guardianship of his father. The barbarian soldiers demanded one third of the lauds of Italy, as a recompence; but being refused, they murdered Orestes, removed Romulus Augustulus from the throne, and made Odoacer, their general, king of Italy. A. D. 490, Odoacer sunk under the superior genius of the king of the Ostrogoths, who restored Italy to order and peace.
About this time Clovis, or as it should be pronounced, Louis, began to rise into power. He was the head of the Salian tribe in the isle of Batavia, and the dioceses of Tournay and Arras, comprehending at most five thousand warriors. He first defeated Syagrius, the king of the diocese of Soissons, enlarging his own small dominious with the cities of Belgia and the diocese of Tongres. Having, A. D. 496, conquered the Alemani in the bloody battle of Tobiac, he pene trated their forests and united their country to his dominions. After the battle of Tobiac, Clovis and three thousand of his soldiers were baptized at Rheims, and being the only Catholicking then existing, was much aided by their clergy in all his afterconquests; so that the French monarchy may in a great degree be ascribed to the firm alliance and steady union of one hundred prelates, who reigned in the discontented and independent cities of Gaul.
A. D. 497, Clovis, by an honourable capitulation, increased his power by an equal union with the Armorican republic; this was followed by the conquest of the kingdom of Burgundy, and in 508, of Aquitaine. A. D. 510, the emperor Anastasius conferred upon Clovis the honour of the consulship, and this about A. D. 531 was fully confirmed to the son of Clovis, by the emperor Justinian; and whilst it completed the prophecy of the fourth trumpet, by a change of persons only, whilst the government itself nominally remained as it was, being only partially eclipsed, it laid the foundation for the Germanic Roman empire, whose empire, under the character of the first
beast, takes the place of the Roman dragon.
We have now seen how the sounding of the four trumpets overturns the Western Roman empire. The church during this eventful period of desolation, from A. D. 318 to A. D. 531, is written to, Revelation ii. 12-17, under the name of Pergamos, "The exalted Assembly." Christianity triumphant was raised up to the throne of the Cæsars; the ecclesiastical purple became blended with the imperial dignity. The state of the church is described as 1, laborious in works; and let any one refer to Mosheim or any ecclesiastical writer for the history of these centuries, and they will find that the praise Jesus here gives was merited by the extraordinary exertions of the Christians at that period to Christianize mankind; 2, the seat of Christianity was to be at the seat of imperial power, which we also see was verified; 3, they were to glory in the Christian name, and to boast in his doctrines whilst their actions tended to destroy them. And there needs no other argument than the history of the Romish church to prove that all these things were so; 4, they were to permit those to remain in the church who taught idolatry, and who held the doctrine of subduing the people. And this, ecclesiastical writers, without having their eye on this prophecy, acknowledge was the case, for they introduced idolatry into Christianity, that they might more easily subdue the idolatrous nations to the banners of the cross. Chap. ix. 1—12, relates the sounding of the fifth trumpet, called the first woe trumpet. This relates to the Mahomedan Arabians, who were in the way of Providence appointed to prepare the way for the destruction of the Eastern Roman empire, and appears to have been accomplished in the person of Mahomed and his followers. Ver. 1, a star falls from heaven to earth, i. e. 1, having ruling power, becomes a common man. By the death of his father, the power of Mahomed was taken away by the avarice of his uncle, and became the inducing cause of his being the messenger to the nations, and receiving the key of authority over the nations, by which he became to the Eastern church the messenger of destruction;
2, he opens the abyss, and the nations come forth to execute the wrath of God, (Ps. xviii. 8, Isa. xiv. 31, Deut. xxix. 20,) and the imperial throne and kingdom is darkened by it. Ver. 3, the Arabian horsemen are represented as locusts. The remaining verses of this trumpet go on to describe the Arabian cavalry and mode of warfare, &c. in figures so plain, that they are the resemblance to the nation and manners of the people. This trumpet appears to begin about A. D. 606 to 610.
Chap. ix. 18-20, brings in the sixth trumpet, or Turkish power, who were to complete the destruction of the Eastern empire. They began their predatory warfare in A. D. 1281, took Constantinople A. D. 1453, and the last of their conquests from the Christians, was Cameniec, in 1672, being for three hundred and ninetyone years the instruments of punishment to the Christians, as foretold.
Chap. x. The preceding chapter had brought down prophecy, as it regards the Eastern church, till the period of the final destruction of the Eastern Roman empire: a new order of things is now introduced, the importance of which appears in the greatness of the messenger who proclaims them. Passing over therefore the whole of this chapter, as only intro. ductory, we come to the eleventh chapter.
Chap. xi. After this sublime introduction to this chapter, we are told, ver. 1, that John was to take the reed that was given to him, and measure the temple of God, that is, he was in this chapter to shew the true state in which the church was to be for fortytwo months, or twelve hundred and sixty prophetic years; for, it is evident that the only measure John takes is of duration, and not of extent. Ver. 3. During this twelve hundred and sixty years, the old and new witnesses of the truth, that God has revealed himself in all ages unto man, shall prophesy, i. e. teach in a state of mourning and tribulation and without temporal power, yet they are the olive trees and the lamps to mankind. Ver. 4. From the mouth of the true Christian proceedeth the knowledge of the divine judgments, penetrating to the consciences of the adversaries; ver. 6, and that all the afflictions that shall befal
the Christian Roman empire for twelve hundred and sixty years are intended, under the divine government, to establish the doctrines of Christianity, by subduing the nations to a political obedience to the Son of God. Ver. 7. Towards the close of the twelve hundred and sixty days of their testimony in mourning, they shall be made silent as death; ver. 8, and lay unburied, open and neglected in one of
the great streets of the Roman city or
empire; vers. 9, 10, and the silencing of the principles they teach concerning all men being equal, as the children of God, shall be (ver. 10) rejoiced over; ver. 11, but to the astonishment of their enemies, those principles shall, as in a moment, spring into life; ver. 12, and be called up to the throne of power: and that the church of God may know the twelve hundred and sixty days are accomplished, there shall be in that very hour, (ver. 18) a great political earthquake, in which shall perish a totality of the names, titles and distinctious of men in one tenth part of the Roman empire. And this period concludes the second woe trumnpet. Adding to the year 531 the commencement of the Germanic beast, created by Clovis or Louis, it brings us to 1791, or the Revolution in France, as the period for the cessation of teaching in sackcloth the truths of God.
The religious part of this history is to be found, Rev. xi. 18—29. In the message addressed to the church of Thyatira, it speaks of, 1, their lasting services to the cause of Christianity; 2, their permitting anti-christianity publicly to teach idolatry; 3, the severe punishments the church and state shall suffer for this; and, lastly, that considering the peculiar circumstances of this period, those who live in it, and who oppose the idolatrous worship of Rome are not expected to be faultless in their doctrines. No other burden is laid upon them in these dreadful times, but to be steadfast in what religious truth they obtain, and for them to bear a determined opposition to all idol-worship.
Chap. xi. 15-18, is the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and a prediction that the consequences of all these wars will be, that the kingdoms
Had the apostle meant to propound the Deity of Christ, would he not have written,
The Word is God?
And have dwelt upon what he had so predicated of his Master in the course of his gospel?
But, has he one subsequent allusion to such a doctrine, thundered, say some of the Fathers, upon the Christian world?
That Jesus was God, in a very common and accepted Jewish sense of the term, during his ministry, possessing "without measure," and exercising as he did, divine and miraculous powers, nobody can question.
That God is one and indivisible, that there is no other God, we have from that great Being himself reiterations sufficient, one would think, to put modern orthodoxy out of countenance; yet, in perfect consonance with this sublime and consoling truth, the wellknown instauce of Jehovah's declaration to Moses," Behold, I have made thee a God to Pharaoh," (not to cite other passages in harmony with this subordinate sense of the word,) comes directly in support of my construction of the text.
And, that John was mindful of the double import of the word, is manifest from his double application of it; for, he could not, in saying that “ the Word was with God, and the Word was God," mean to be understood, synonymously, that "God was with God"! There is nothing, we know, too absurd for habitual, unsearching believers to acquiesce in; but, assuredly, our evangelist, with all the sublimity imputed to him by Gibbon, was incapable of so profound a communication, in terms either precise or convertible.
A Poem in the Scottish Dialect, by the tate Mrs. Hamilton.
[From her Memoirs, by Miss Benger, (see Mon. Repos. XIII. 521,) Vol. I. pp. 201-204.]
Is that Auld Age that's tirling at the pin? I trow it is, then haste to let him in: Ye're kindly welcome, friend; na, dinna
To shaw yoursel', ye'll cause nae trouble here.
I ken there are wha tremble at your
As tho' ye brought wi' ye reproach or shame ;
And wha, 66
a thousand lies wad bear the
sin," Rather than own ye for their kith or kin: But far frae sbirking ye as a disgrace, Thankfu' I am t' have lived to see thy face;
Nor s'all I ere disown ye, nor tak pride, To think how long I might your visit bide,
Doing my best to mak ye weel respecked, I'll no fear for your sake to be neglecked; But now ye're come, and through a' kind of weather
We're doomed frae this time forth to joy thegitber,
I'd fain mak compact wi' ye, firm strang,
On terms of fair giff gaff to haud
Let them, I do beseech, still keep their places,
Tho' gin ye wish't, ye're free to paint their faces.
My limbs I yield ye; and if ye see meet,
Sae muckle wad I gi' wi' right good-will, But och! I fear, that mair ye look for still.
I ken by that fell glow'r and meaning shrug,
Ye'd slap your skinny fingers on each lug;
And unca fain ve are, I trow, and keen, To cast your misty powders in my een; But, O', in mercy, spare my poor wee twinkers,
And I for ay s'all wear your chrystal blinkers!
Then 'bout my lugs I'd fain a bargain mak,
And gi' my hand, that I shall ne'er draw back.
Weel, then-wad ye consent their use to share,
Twad serve us baith, and be a bargain
At a' sic times my lugs I lend to thee.
Good sense, good humour, wit in playfu' mood,
And Candour e'en frae ill extracting good;
Oh, then, and friend, I maun ha' back my bearing,
To want it then wad be an ill past bearing. Better to lonely sit i' the douf spence Than catch the sough o' words without
* For some years she had been occasionally subject to a slight degree of denf