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a coming in the clouds, signifies victory and success; thunder, lightning, hail, and wind, are put for war; fire, also, is the symbol of the same; light signifies prosperity and joy; darkness, sorrow and misery, mountains and hills, are put for greater and lesser kingdoms, cities, and political powers; earthquakes, for revolutions and commotions of war; a wild, or monstrous beast, is the symbol of a tyranny; a horn, of strength, and hence it stands for a kingdom. A trumpet, is the symbol of war, or of preparation for it; the earth, signifies the mass of mankind; the sea, a multitude of people; and, if in motion, it signifies war. But, as is the case with words in all languages, many symbols are equivocal; and are sometimes used in a more mystical sense than at others. Thus the unlearned reader may form some notion of the prophetic language. A language, as Dr. Hurd has shewn, most admirably suited for the purposes of prophecy, particularly where preceding and less important transactions are made to adumbrate future, and more illustrious events.
once conforms to the type, and antitype; it is, as it
were, a robe of state for the one, and only the ordinary " accustomed dress of the other: as we may see from " the prophecies which immediately respect the restora" tion of the Jews from their ancient captivities; and, “ ultimately, their final triumphant return from their “ present dispersion."*
It is needless to caution the well-informed against the prejudice which some people have taken up against attention to the sacred predictions, because a few crazy, or deluded people, have lately been uttering effusions, which were called prophecies. I am not going to obtrude my own reveries; and if I speak not the words of soberness, at least, and what candid criticisin will allow to be deserving of some regard, I desire no attention. In some things, it is probable, I may be wrong; for I do not pretend to infallibility. But this I can say, I have thought much on the subject, and have, in no known case, allowed myself to adopt an explanation, without considering, as far as I was able, all its relations and bearings; and, in conformity with the maxim of the learned Daubuz, If the key has not appeared to fit every ward, and moved easily in the lock, I have rejected it as not being the true key. But as, after all, I may be mistaken in some particulars, I
* Vol. II. p. 107.
wish to leave every one to judge for himself, and only solicit candid attention to a subject, which I am sure is of the highest importance, and particularly at this time; more so than at any period since the kingdoms and states of Europe were founded, or since Antichristian hierarchies had existence. By candid discussion, light may be struck out, at least as much as may serve for the purposes of piety, and to stir us up to watchfulness, that when God, in his providence, comes for the destruction of Babylon the great, we may not be found on the side of his enemies, and in arms against him.
Some will, doubtless, pronounce the author an enthu. siast; and a certain class may, perhaps, entertain harsher sentiments. But none of these things move me. I know the goodness of the ground on which I stand ; and have that witness of the purity of my intentions, that I can neither blush nor fear. The truth or fallacy of what follows may not be altogether ascertained for twenty years to come (though, I think, the greater part will be determined much sooner;) but, as I write neither for applause nor bread, it is, comparatively, of very little consequence to me, what, for seven, or twenty years to come, this man, or that, may think, or say, of my productions. May I but be useful, in any measure, to my countrymen, to awaken them to a proper sense of the danger of the ground on which they, at this moment, stand; and to excite their attention to a subject in which they are most deeply interested; and, in the end, serve the cause of Christianity, which, though corrupted and so debased in profession, by its connection with the kingdoms which are of this world, as scarcely to be recognized, is, yet, from God; I shall then have a reward, which I prize more than the smiles, of princes.
But that the following argument may produce its full effect, it may be necessary to review what the author has previously advanced on some parts of the Book of the Revelation. He has endeavoured to prove that the Dragon, in chap. xii. is the symbol of the Roman tyranny, or the Imperial despotism ; and that, though this dragon resigned his Imperial seat at Rome (chap. xiii. 2.) to the Popes, to be the seat of a new species of tyranny, yet he did not cease to exist; but the dragon, of which we read in chap. xvi. 13. and xx. 2. is to be considered as the same. The old Roman dragon, if he ever slept, yet never died. He now exists in the Western Imperial authority,
revived, first in the person of Charlemain, and continued by his successors, who in these latter ages have been called the Emperors of Germany, and Kings of the Romans who are at the head of the civil tyranny of Europe *. This is the dragon, which (with his angels, the inferior princes, dukes, and nobles,) was cast out of heaven, (Rev. xii. 7-17.) that is, Rome, the original symbolic heaven of the old Roman empire ;--into the earth, the continental parts of Europe, where he has, ever since, had his residence; first in France, and afterwards in Germany; and which has always been the persecutor of the woman, the church of Christ, driven into the wilderness. This is he, which, with his tail, cast the third part of the
tars to the earth; and which circumstance we shall, by and by, have occasion to consider t.
* Although there can be hut little doubt that this symbol, to siguify a tyrant, or a succession of tyrants, in any country, was originally taken from the frightful and ravenous crocodile of the Nile, yet it is a circuinstance worth noticing, that “the Emperors (as John Chrysostom affirms)
wore, among other things to distinguish them, silken robes, embrois “ dered with gold, in which dragons were represented.” Jortin, vol. ii. p. 358.-Let us figure to ourselves an Imperial monster, strutting in his gold and purple; the yawning jaws of a monstrous dragon adurn his shoulders, whilst his long sweeping tail ornaments his skirts.
The banners also of the Romans, we may remember, were shaped in the forın of dragons. Gibbon, speaking of the procession of Constantine from Milan to Rome, says, (vol. iii. p. 192.) “ He was encompassed “ by the glittering arms of the numerous squadrons of his guards and a cuirassiers. Their streaming banners of silk, embossed with gold, “ and shaped
the form of dragons, waved round the person of the emperor.” Thus the dragon was, with the Romans, a favourite syınbol of majesty.
+ It will be right here to notice Mr. Faber's objection to my thus exe plaining the heaven out of which the dragon was cast. He says, (vol. ii. p. 122.) “ In his notion, that heaven means Italy, and the earth the
provinces of the Roman empire, to say nothing of his not having a « shadow of authority for making such an assertion, he is totally incon“ sistent even with himself. The great stur, that falls from heaven “ under the third trumpet, he elsewhere supposes to be Attila. If “ heaven denote Italy, how did Attila fall out of it? So in the present “ prophecy the woman is said to have been in the same heaven with the “ dragon. At what period was the church exclusively confined to “ Italy? Again: the whole earth is said to worship the ten-horned *“ beast, which, according to Mr. Bicheno, is the papacy. Did the pro-" vinces alone venerate the pope ? Was his authority totally disre" garded in heaven or Italyğ” As to my authority for considering Italy as the heaven of the Roman empire, I have referred to Dr. Lancaster (See his Symbolical Dictionary, art. Heaven) and Artemidorus, (Lib.ii. c. 73.) who, writing in the times of the Roman emperors, makes
The beast with ten horns, (chap. xiii.) the author has considered as the symbol of the Ecclesiastical tyranny of the country of Italy to be the heaven. “ As heaven," says he," is the “ abode of Gods, so is Italy of kings." See my Symbolical Vocabulary, art. Ileuven. This must have escaped Mr. Faber, or he would not have said I bad not u shadow of authority for my assertion. It is certain that the ancient writers on symbols represent the seat of the government of an empire, or kingdom, as the heaven of that empire, the sorereiyn and subordinate rulers as its luininaries, and the great body of the people as the earth governci. And from what Artemidorus says of Italy as the sovereign country, it would seem from analogy, that they considered the provinces subjected to that country as the earth over which it ruled. Sec Danbuz's Prelim. Discourse,
I suppose Italy, or Rome, (as the seat of the imperial government) to be the heaven out of which the dragon is cast, by the removal of the seat of government into Gaul, which, till lately, had been only a province, subject to that inistress of the world. It is true that this war which Johin saw carried on in heaven by the providence of God, (whichi Michael personifies) by the instrumentaliiy of the Goths and Vandals, Huns, &c. against the corrupted government of Rome, was not confined to Rome or Italy, but extended through all the provinces of the west; and which, with Mr. Faber, who seems to insist upon symbols running on all fours, as the phrase is, and that the saine words, such as heaven, earth, &c. must always have the same signitication, must be considered as torming an insuperable objection; but to me, whose rules of interpretation are not quite so rigid--I had almost said, unreasonablethis objection is easily removed. It is certain that those wars which subverted the throne of the western Cæsars extended far beyond Rome and Italy, the principal seat of government; yet as this contest, which ihe imperial government inaintained against the Barbarians, was not of a common kind, but for exclusive empire itself, (to decide the question who should reign?) and as Rome and Italy were the scene of the most decisive struggles, therefore the war might, very properly, be said to be in heaven : so to speak, they were the luminaries themseives, which moved in the heaven of the dragon's domain, that were attacked, and the contest was to cast them from their spheres, that others might occupy their place. Were the present conflict, which shakes Europe, and by which kings and princes and their satellites are cast from their exalted stations, to be described in the style of this book, it might be represented as a war in heuven: for the present war differs, essentially, in its nature and cnds, from all others of modern times. Other wars have been about questions of territory, succession, commerce, balance of power, and the like; mere wars upon the earth; but the present is a war in heaven, to cast down the powers which are, that others may be exalted in their place: it is the Providence of God fighting against the dragon and his angels.
I allow, if heaven, in the symbolical language, inean exactly what it is said to do in the Dissertation, that, then, my interpretation of the casting the dragon out of heuven into the earth, would be as groundless as the author can suppose it to be. He makes the whole body politic, (temporal or spiritual) rulers and subjects, to be heaven; ihe sun being the sovereign, the moon the people, &c. But this representation of the matter appears to me to be utterly without either support or countenance from the laws of syinbolic writing. So far as my limited means of in
Europe, with the bishop of Rome at its head; and the same tyranny (under another symbol, and with some additions)
formation extend, it appears that the ancients represent things very differently. They divided the universe into a threefold world, invisible, visible and political; in each beaven of which move the ruling powers, sun, moon and stars; and, of course, something over which they rule. Jamblichus de Myst. Egypt. sect. 7, cap. 1, 2, &c. as quoted by Daubuz, in his Preliin. Dis. p. 9, which see throughout; also Dr. Lancaster's Symb. Dict, art. Heuven. We see how it is in the visible heaven and earth, and the political, by the law of analogy, must correspond. In a political world, the heaven is the sphere in which the governing powersconia kings, viceroys, senators, &c.--move and act; and the earth, with its various divisions and parts, over which this heaven stands and rules, is composed (if the scene be laid in a great empire) of the kingdoins and states and provinces, comprehended within the scene of the vision. In the Dissertation, the sun is made the sovereign power, and the sturs are the princes' and nobles of the realmso far good-but, the moon is said to be the people, and the earth the same people in a state of idolatry, and the sea that same people again in a state of commotion, &c. This is lame and defective in the extreme, and very different, I believe, from the symbolical heaven and earth which the genius of ancient times created. The ideas which I have suggested for the interpretation of the war in heuven, and the casting out the dragon into the earth, seem to ine to agree much better with the original notions of the symbolists, than those which Mr. Faber has adopted. But the public must judge.
Let us now attend to the inconsistencies of which I am accused. I do not pretend to perfection in this respect; but inconsistencies, however, do not happen to exist where Mr. Faber imagines he finds them. Seeing that I suppose the great star that falls from heaven under the third trumpet to be Attila; he says, “ If heaven denote Italy, how did “ Attila fall out of it?" In the first place, I apprehend that the words, or symbolical terms, heaven, earth, &c. do not always mean exactly the same thing, any more than words in alphabetical writing; it is by the subject, and the circumstances, that we inust often determine the meaning of the terms used. , This may sometimes create ambiguity, and occasion difficulty to the interpreter, but this is as unavoidable as that which equivocal words often occasion in common language. If a warrior, or the destruction which he brings on a country, is to be represented by the falling of a bluzing star or fiery meteor upon that country, from whence is it to be said to fall but froin heaven? It is not to be said to proceed from the wilds of Scythia most certainly; though from thence the authors of the calamity may issue to lay waste and destroy. It is not the place from whence the fiery meteor comes, but its destructive nature, which constitutes the chief matter of the symbol: and we should bear in mind, that symbols are not to be made to speak mysteries in every word, any more than parables; but the point and main design are what should be chiefly attended to. It is poşsible, also, that the calainity, which was to be brought upon the Roman empire by Attila, might be represented by a star falling from heaven on the rivers and fountains of water, not only to signify its magnitude and particular destination, but to intimate that it was specially sent from God. And as the term heaven, in this book, may be sometimes understood.