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explanations; but, unhappily, it has not been steadily applied to the interpretation of the Apocalypse.

Bishop Horsley maintains that Noah's prophecy, ' (Japhet) shall dwell in the tents of Shem,” and Isaiah's, 2 “ Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation,” have their accomplishment in the same events, because the images presented to both prophets are the same.

Davison's vindication of the Evangelical prophecy, Zech. vi., “ Behold the man whose name is the Branch,” is based on the same principle.

Vitringa, the elder Lowth, and other expositors, do not hesitate to assert that part of Isaiah, xxxiv., and of the Revelation, xvii., refer to the same events, because the language and imagery of both prophecies are the same.

Bishop Lowth, on Isaiah, lxiii., says, (and herein he agrees with his father and other commentators)—“We need not be at a loss to determine the person who is here introduced as stained with treading the wine-press, if we consider how St. John has applied this image of the prophet, Rev. xix., 13, 15."

Nearly all expositors of the Apocalypse not only admit, but contend that no interpretation is admissible which does not make its ten-horned beast harmonize with the ten-horned beast of Daniel, vii. And it may be observed that a closer attention to the symbolic representation of the earlier prophet, would have greatly facilitated the exposition of St. John's vision.

IV. The style of the Apocalypse is symbolic, its predictions being generally given and recorded in symbols instead of words.

The method of communicating information by substituting things and representative actions for written or spoken language, was familiar to all the nations of antiquity, both in the east and in the west. A few examples of this very general usage shall be given.

The story of the Tarquins is familiar to all. Not being able to reduce Gabii by force, they determined to do it by fraud: Sextus, therefore, as a preliminary step, undertook to gain the confidence of the people, and having succeeded, he sent to ask


Genesis, ix. 27.

2 Isaiah, liv. 2.

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his father what he should do next? The old king answered, without writing or uttering a single word, by striking, as he walked in his garden with the messenger, the heads from the tallest poppies.

" The jurisprudence of the Romans," says Gibbon, “exhibited the scenes of a pantomime; the words were adapted to the gestures, and the slightest error or neglect in the forms of proceeding was sufficient to annul the substance of the fairest claims."

Idanathura,2 a king of the Scythians, when ready to oppose Darius, who had passed the Ister, sent the Persian a symbol instead of a letter, namely, a mouse, a frog, a bird, a dart, and a plough."

The Caliph Ali, being urged by his brother Okail to augment his pension, went into his house, returned with a piece of red hot iron, and desired Okail to hold it in his hands. The latter naturally refused. • If,” said Ali, “ you cannot endure the heat produced by man, how can you expect me to expose myself to the fire God will kindle."

" In the beginning of the sixty-third year of the Hegira,"* says Ockley, “the Medinians broke out into


rebellion against Yezid, after the following manner :-Gathering together

: in their mosque, round about the pulpit, one of them said, 'I lay aside Yezid as I lay aside this turban,' throwing, with these words, his turban on the ground. Another said— I put away Yezid as I put away this shoe. This example was followed by others, till there was a great heap of shoes and turbans.”

No one, then, need be surprised to find representative actions and symbols in every part of the scriptures; for symbolic language was the idiom of the times, peculiarly congenial to the genius of the people of the east: besides, it admits of an early translation into every language, and, by its brevity and enigmatic character, is admirably fitted to be the vehicle and record of prophecy.

The sacred symbols are of two kinds; the one obvious and easy to be understood, the other is of a more abstruse and enig. matic character. As the Apocalyptic predictions are generally conveyed in the latter, it is essentially requisite to a satisfactory interpretation that they should be explained consistently and with precision: for guesses ought not to be admitted, and they are happily unnecessary; there being scarcely a symbol in the Apocalypse which is not interpreted in some part of the Bible. The symbolic language of the Revelation is, therefore, authoritatively fixed, and may be understood by every person who will read his Bible attentively.

Decline and Fall, xlv. vol. v. 344.

2 Divine Leg. book v. sec. iv. 3 Ockley, History of the Saracens. Note from Price. Ed. Bohn, p. 326. • Ib. p. 425.

V. Prophecy consists of two parts, the moral and the predictive; the predictive, with which we have to do, must be interpreted by the historical events which fulfil it, not by the opinions and guesses of an expositor. This seems evident. For prophecy, which foretells a series and combination of future events, is, in general, delivered enigmatically, and with great brevity. If, therefore, these predictions had been intended to be understood before their accomplishment, they would have been given more fully, and not in allegories and symbols. For the parabolic style being highly figurative, admitting two different senses, and being capable of representing a long series of things with great brevity, is manifestly adapted, and appears formed to conceal.

For example, Nebuchadnezzard saw in a dream an image of gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay; if he had recollected and known the dream to be a prophecy, it cannot be imagined, the interpretation would, therefore, have been known.

And if an inspired interpreter had not been sent to show that the image represented four successive monarchies—the first, the head of gold being the Babylonian, it cannot be supposed another would have been more successful; or that the vision could have been understood, until events, by fulfilling, had explained it.

Nor will the obstacles to an interpretation be removed, even though the general signification of the symbols be ascertained.

Daniel2 sees four wild beasts come up from the sea, diverse one from another; the fourth beast having ten horns and a little horn. Now, although the beasts were known to represent four great empires, and the ten horns, ten kingdoms, into which the last monarchy was to be divided, and the little horn another

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another king or kingdom; yet, who, when the prophecy was given, or shortly after, could have undertaken to explain the series of things predicted ? For how could he have determined the time, place, and nature of the kingdoms? But if, in the lapse of ages, four great successive monarchies be found in the

, history of the world, if the last be divided into ten, if another gradually grew up in the midst of them, acquired great power, and persecuted incessantly the saints of the Most High:—a person living in the present day, nearly 2,500 years after the prophecy was given, and possessed of a competent knowledge of civil and ecclesiastical history, could understand so much of the prediction as has been fulfilled, and explain it to another. But no knowledge of history, and of the prophetic idiom, can qualify him to understand and interpret the part of the vision which remains yet to be accomplished: just as no amount of learning and genius could have enabled the man, who lived two thousand four hundred years ago, to solve the enigma of the fourth beast and the eleven horns. The place, the time, the specific things represented, would be shrouded in impenetrable obscurity, till God, by bringing the events to pass, which accomplished the vision, had dissipated the darkness in which it had been enveloped

There is an obvious reason for involving prophecy in this deep obscurity; for if we could open and read unfulfilled, as well as fulfilled predictions, the future no less than the past would be known—the “ times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power."

Hence prophecy is represented in Scripture, as a “ 2light shining in a dark place," and a 3sealed book, which no one in heaven or in earth can open but the Lord.

VI. The place and time of the events are predicted in, and are, therefore, a part of the prophecy.5

| Acts, i., 8. 2 2 Peter, i., 19. 3 Revelation, v., 3-6. 4 Sir Isaac Newton well observes :-" The folly of interpreters has been to foretell times and things by this prophecy (the Apocalypse), as if God designed to make them prophets. God gave this, and the other prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men's curiosities, by enabling them to foreknow things; but that, after they were fulfilled, they might be interpreted by the erent; and his own providence not the interpreter's, be manifested thereby to the world.” See note A, at the end.

5 - The entire subject of this book is strongly marked by a system of chronological order. Subsequent and coincident periods of time are noted ; and the course and succession is made a part of the prophecy, as well as the events themselves.”—Davison on Prophecy, p. 461.

VII. Hence, as Bishop Hurd has observed," 66 The order of the events and the visions is not the same, the true order of the events is to be sought in certain characters, not fancied at pleasure, but inserted in the visions themselves."

That such should be the order of the prophecy will appear, from the following considerations, to be the necessary consequence of the comprehensiveness and diversity of its contents, and symbolic structure. For, suppose the Roman empire to be the theatre of the events predicted—that the Christian religion is published—that its professors are cruelly persecuted by the Roman government—that the empire is visited by a long series of calamities—that there is a great conflict between the pagan persecutors and the friends of truth—that heathen Romanism is crushed—that Christianity is raised from the dust to the throne —that the church, lifted by the wings of imperial authority receives a vast accession of converts—that she becomes rapidly corrupted—that many earnestly protest against her corruptionsthat they are fiercely persecuted—that civil wars break outthat the barbaric nations which lie beyond the empire, are, at the same time, violently agitated, and driven in on its provinces, passing and re-passing over them, like the waves of the sea--that many of these nations settle in her territoriesenter into alliances with or submit to its chief-that the whole of this system is dissolved, and with it all civil central government—that the seat of the dominion of the old effete power is immediately occupied by another, so like it in aspirations and extent of sway, that it may be represented by symbols almost exactly the same—that, during these many centuries of strife and confusion, new ecclesiastical powers gradually spring up, and exercise a terrible tyranny over the people who have fostered them—that religion is more and more corrupted—that the open professors and supporters of pure Christianity are persecuted and hunted by wild beasts in the shape of men. Suppose it to be the design of prophecy to represent, in symbol, these various, discordant, complicated, and partly coincident events, they


| Sermon on Prophecy.

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