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These have power to shut the symbolic heaven that it rain nots. To the province of government their influence powerfully extends. But what is the meaning of their preventing the figurative rain from falling in this symbolic heaven? • The oneirocritics,' says Daubuz on this verse,
have explained the symbol of rain or dew, of all manner of good things. And does not the prophecy, according to this explication of it, perfectly accord with fact? Has not that shower of all manner of good things,' which formerly fell in the symbolic heaven of the Tenth Part of the city, completely ceased ? Since the people have taken the government into their own hands, has not the stream of preferments and revenues been dried up, which formerly was wont so profusely to flow into the hands of the cour. tiers, the ecclesiastics, and the principal nobility? They have also power over waters to turn them to blood, i. e. says Mr. Waple, to embroil nations in war. That waters signify nations is indeed certains8; and that blood has a reference to war and slaughter is equally plain. Perhaps the witnesses who inhabit the Tenth Part of the city may be said to do this, because they are the occasion of its being done; or it may perhaps be the necessary result of the best mode of defending themselves, and of perpetuating their liberties. And have power to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. Now the earth, as has before been observed, and as Mr. Waple remarks on this passage in particular, is the worldly and antichristian part of it.'
The anonymous author, who about the middle of the present century wrote a Dissertation to prove France to be the Tenth Part of the symbolic city, after observing, that there will be effects big with destruction to every Secular Power, that attempts the extirpation of the witnesses ;' says, there is extraordinary power assigned the witnesses in the eleventh chapter, nothing of which has yet been observed to turn up in their history, that I know of; and therefore is most probably reserved for the times of this GRAND REVOLUTION$9.? And he appeals, in proof of this, to those two very remarkable verses, of which an illustration has just been attempted.
57 It is plain, says Daubuz, that this is meant of another kind of calamity, besides that of natural drought,--the words being to be taken symbolically
58 On this symbol see note 22 in p. 48,
Should it be conceded, that the French as a nation are in an eminent degree criminal, which I certainly am not disposed to grant, still it will not therefore follow, that their efforts may not, for a very considerable period of time, be attended with signal success. “That the wicked are always punished for their crimes in this world, is a doctrine contradicted by revelation, and the testimony of all ages. Providence is always equitable and just, but our views of it are too limited and partial, to enable us to reason justly concerning the methods of its procedure. Sacred and profane history afford many instances of rude and barbarous nations, being raised up by the Almighty, to serve as a scourge in his hand for chastising others, who, having been favoured with the knowlege of the true God and the advantages of revealed religion, had abused these privileges by vicious and immoral practices. The Israelites were often subdued, and their kingdom at last brought to ruin, by their idolatrous neighbours. And when the Christian church was mostly confined within the bounds of the Ro. man empire, that large and mighty body, which for ages had been strong as iron, was at last overwhelmed and broken in pieces, by a people nursed in savage manners and brutal ignorance?
The contents of this and the two preceding chapters being too bulky for recapitulation, I shall conclude the subject, by recalling the reader to a very few points upon which the whole matter turns. Since we have not only seen, that the witnesses are those who bear testimony to the truth against errors and corruptions ; but have moreover
59 P. 26.
collected from those whose authority stands highest upon the subject, that the death (v. 7) and the resurrection (v. 11) of the witnesses, that their hearing of a great voice from heaven (v. 12), that their ascent to heaven (v. 12), and that the great earthquake which was to take place in the Tenth Part of the city (v. 13), are all decidedly political symbols; it appears absolutely necessary to interpret the prophecy as applying to some political event. Not to mention that the time, when the French Revolution happened, perfectly agrees with all the intimations, which St. John has afforded us relative to the period of its fulfilment; not to mention that France was the country which arose out of the ruins of the Roman Western empire the Tenth in arder; not to mention that it has a well-founded claim to distinction, from its extent, importance, and the greatness of the sufferings both of a religious and a political nature which its inhabitants have endured; it may safely be asked, if the prophecy must be politically interpreted, where is the country in Europe, excepting France, to which we can turn our eye, in order to discover the occurrences which correspond to it; and particularly the abolition of titles which is predicted, the overthrow of ecclesiastical usurpation which is plainly included, and the invitation which it is foretold should be given to men to assume a share in the government?
I shall only add, that those persons, who shall still conceive, notwithstanding all which has been advanced, that the prophetic narrative of the witnesses is incapable of being applied at all to those, who have recently stood forward against civil and against spiritual despotism in France, are not obliged on that account to conclude, that the prediction of the symbolic earthquake in the 13th v.61 which follows the account of the witnesses, received not its fulfilment in the events of the French Revolution. For it
61 To illustrate this and the two verses most closely connected with it (v. 11, 12), has been my principal care ; whilst it has been deemed suffi cient incidentally to remark on the eight antecedent verses:
may be plausibly argued,, as Vitringa and other commentators have shewn, that the latter most striking verse was not to be accomplished at the same time with most of the former verses, but by different persons and at a different period.
Probably some of my readers may expect, that, before I terminate this chapter, I should notice the exact corres. pondency of 666, the number of one of the Beasts described in ch. xiii. to LUDOVICUS, the ordinary name of the French Kings 62. Now those who admit the number 666 to denote the name of Ludovicus, must, I conceive, of course apply it to the Secular Beast, who is first mentioned in that chapter, and, of the two, sustains the most important character. That masterly expositor, Daubuz, does indeed lay it down as a remark of general application, that when the Holy Ghost mentions the Beast by itself, it is to be understood of that great Beast with seven heads and ten horns, that is, the Secular Powers within the precincts of the corrupted
666 O and S are not numeral letters, and therefore of course not taken into the account. • It may be asked,' says. Mr. Bicheno, 'why is the Latin language referred to rather than either the Hebrew, the Greek, or French? For these reasons. At the time this prediction was given, the Latin was the most general language in the Roman empire ; and after the empire was divided, it became the universal language in the Western part, where the scene of St. John's vision chiefly lay. It is also the language used in all the services of that church which this Beast was to support; and thus the names of the French kings have been written in their communications to the pope, in public inscriptions, and on coins.' Signs of the Times, 2d. ed. p. 31.
church; not the less beast with two horns, which is described and said to be the False Prophet63.?
The words of St. John, which I am now to cite, constitute the conclusion of the xiïith chapter, a chapter appro. priated to the delineation of these two symbolic Beasts. Here is Wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the Beast: for it is the number of a man ; and his number is six hundred three score and six, “It is not,' says bp. Newton, “a vain and ridiculous attempt, to search into this mystery, but on the contrary is recommended to us upon the authority of an apostle. It was a method practised among the ancients to denote names -by numbers ;' and it hath been the usual method in all God's dispensatigns for the holy Spirit to accommodate his expressions to the customs, fashions, and manners of the several ages 64.
It has been observed,' says Dr. Gill in his Exposition, that the numeral letters in Ludovicus or Lewis, which is a common name of the French king, and is the name of the present French king, make up this same number ; and may
denote the destruction of Antichrist, which will quickly , follow THE DOWNFALL OF THE KINGDOM OF FRANCE under
a king of this name; and the rather since this was the last of the Ten Kingdoms that was set up, and in which the primitive Beast subsists, and the only one that has not yet been conquered, or in which a REVOLUTION has not been made; and since this is the Tenth Part of the city, which shall fall a little before the third woe comes onas.
The earliest commentator, whom I have myself consulted, who notices the agreement of Ludovicus with 666, is Vic tringa, the second edition of whose Commentary on the Apocalypse was printed in 1719. For the grounds of this application of the prophecy he refers the reader to the ela
63 P. 704. 64 Vol. III. p. 231.
65 Vol. V. p. 584, 4to. That a Revolution in France was foretold in the with ch. the doctor, in a former part of his Espos. (p. 553), more directly states.