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caused by them as active agents, but were the consequence of their ministry being slighted. In this sense we are authorised by inspired authority to interpret the charge given to Isaiah *: consequently, by a parity of reasoning, we are at liberty to explain the powers committed to the two apocalyptic prophets, in a similar manner t.
3. It is not unworthy of remark, that the two wita nesses are described as having only one mouth I. This circumstance at once shews that they are mystical, not literal, characters; and serves to de monstrate the propriety of the foregoing explanation. The pre-Christian and the post-Christian Church, forming jointly the Church-general, have but one mouth, testifying and declaring the same simple road to salvation through the alone sacrifice of Christ. In the strictly scriptural words of the Anglican church already cited, " although the an“ cient patriarchs were not named Christian men,
yet was it a Christian faith that they had; for
they looked for all benefits of God the Father, " through the merits of his Son Jesu Christ, as
we do' now. This difference is between them " and us, that they looked when Christ should
* See Matt. xiii. 15. and Acts xxviii. 27.
+ It is very justly remarked by Bp. Newton, when com menting upon this very passage, that " in Scripture language " the prophets are often said to do those things, which they e declare and foretell.” Rey, xi, 5
come, and we be in the time when he is come *.”
III.“ And, when they shall draw near to the “ close of their testimony t, the beast, that • ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall * make war against them, and shall overcome
them, and kill them. And their dead bodies u shall lie in the broad street of the great city, " which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,
where also our Lord was crucified. And " they of the people and kindreds and tongues
* The same sound doctrine is set forth in the article;
The « Old Testament is not contrary to the New : for both in the “ Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to man, “ kind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and
man, being both God and man.” Thus have the two wita nesses only one mouth, with which they unanimously protest against the host of mediators venerated by them of the Apustasy.
+ Such is certainly the proper translation of the Aorist Til!! Woi. The subjunctive mood of the first Aorist generally bears a kind of future signification : and the context amply shews, that such must be its meaning in the present instance: The witnesses were to prophesy during the whole 1260 yeurs, which are commensurate with the two first woc-trumpets and the greutest part of the third. At the time of this event, they were only under the second woo-trụmpet (See Rev. xi. 7.-12. and 14, 15.): consequently they could not have finished their testimony, as our translation erroneously represents them to have done ; because they were to continue prophesying to the very end of the 1260 years. “ Cum finituri sint testimonium suum (sic enim clav Tedeowai vertendum, non de præterito, cum finierint). Mede's Comment. Apoc. in loc.
4 and nations shall see their dead bodies " three days and a half, and shall not suffer their “ dead bodies to be put in graves. And they, that “ dwell upon the earth, shall rejoice over them, " and make merry, and shall send gifts one to “ another; because these two prophets tormented " them that dwelt on the earth. And after three
days and an half the spirit of life from God “ entered into them; and they stood upon their · “ feet: and great fear fell upon them which saiv " them. And they heard a great voice from hea
ven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And " they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and " their enemies beheld them.”
1. Prophecy, as it might be naturally expected, dwells only upon great and prominent circumstances; were it otherwise constructed, the whole world could not contain the volumes, which it would occupy. We must'inquire therefore, what circumstance in the history of the two witnesses is of a sufficiently definite nature, that is to say, differs sufficiently from all other persecutions which they underwent, to occasion it to be described under the allegory of their being put to death.
(1.) In prosecuting this inquiry, the first point necessary to be considered is the nature of the death, which the two witnesses are represented as undergoing. In the language of prophecy, to die signifies to cease to be whatever a person was before
such death * The death of the witnesses therefore denotes their ceasing to be witnesses i and, since this death is manifestly a violent one, since they are said to have been slain by the beast; the import of the prediction is, that the power symbolized by the beast should forcibly cause the wito nesses to desist from bearing their testimony, thus inflicting upon them what may be termed a theoLogical death.
(2.) The next point to be considered is the time when they are slain. This time is said to be, when they are drawing near to the close of their prophesying, but before the sounding of the seventh trumpet t. Now to such a chronological description, I conceive the remarkable era of the reformation to answer very exactly, as I shall presently point out at large.
* " Mori ea notione dicitur, qui in quocunque statu con“ stitutus, sive Politico sive Ecclesiastico, seu quovis alio, * desinit esse quod fuit; unde et occídit qui tali morte " quemquam afficit" (Mede's Comment. Apoc. in myst. duor. test.). This excellent definition of Mr. Mede's shews the propriety of the distinction which I have made between the death of the third part of men or the Roman community, and the death of the Roman beast. Death in both cases signifies the causing them to cease to be what they were before. Hence the death of a community is the causing a community to cease from cristing as a community; and the death of a beast is the causing a beast or idolatrous empire to cease from eristing us a beast or idolatrous empire. + See Rev. xi. 7-12, 15.
To this · era I have already thought myself warranted in peculiarly referring the second persecution of the men of understanding, which Daniel describes as taking place previous to the revelation of the atheistical king : and to this era I now think myself equally warranted in looking for an accomplishment of the present prophecy.
(3.) The third point to be considered is the foe, by whom they are slain. He is styled the beast of the bottomless pit; and this beast will be found, upon examination, to be the first beast of the Apocalypse, or the beast with seven heads and ten horns*. In short, as it shall be fully shewn hereafter, he is the same as Daniel's fourth beast, or the Roman Empire; and he slays the witnesses by the instrumentality of his last head f. Before
Compare Rev. xi. 7. with Rev. xiii, 1. and xvii. 7, 3. + Or to speak more accurately his septimo-octave head, " The seven heads are seven kings'The beast, that was, and “ is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven” (Rev. xvii. 9, 10, 11.). Thus it appears, that St. Johu identifies even the whole beast with his last head, un account of the vast power which this lust head was destined at its first rise to possess : consequently, when he asserts, that the beast should make war upon the witnesses, since the chronology of the prophecy shews that the beast shoald do this under his last head, and since St. John identifies the beast with his last head, it is manifest that this war was to be undertaken by the last heud of the beast. The same remark applies to the last war of the beust, the false prophet, and the kings of the earth, against the Lamb. The beast VOL. II. F