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truth *, suddenly actuated them. And they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them that saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither. The supreme power, by abolishing the laws under which they suffered political death, invited them to quit their state of bondage, and assume equal liberty with their fellows. And they ascended up to heaven--to a more dignified state. And their enemies beheld them. Their old oppressors, and their abettors, contemplated the change which was taking place, both with astonishment and malice.
Ver. 13. And the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth part of the city fell.-Instantly on these witnesses for civil and religious liberty being stirred up, as by a supernatural impulse on their minds, to claim and vindicate their imprescriptible rights, this monarchy, which was one of the ten horns of the Papal beast, (and the tenth, as it was that which rose last) or one of the ten streets of the Antichristian city t, was so agitated by the conflict between the witnesses for liberty and the support. èrs of despotism, that it fell, and its abominable oppressions issued in its utter ruin; and that as in one hour. The progress of liberty, in the destruction of established tyrannies, is generally slow; and that which was ages in erecting, is ages also in pulling down; but, the change of things here, is not according to the common course of events; the witnesses awake, the conflict commences, and the tyranny falls, as in one hour.
Lord, and from heaven, as, an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him, i.e. a very evil spirit. The trees of the Lord are full of sap, i. e. the immensely large cedars of Lebanon. How art thou fallen from heaven? j. e, from what a height of dignity and greatness!
* Although the French people are actuated by an astonishing zeal for civil and religious liberty, yet their character seems very far from agreeing with what we expect from the witnesses for gospel truth. In the things of religion they appear to be no farther enlightened at present, than to see the rights of conscience, and the absurdities and cruel oppressions of the Papal system. This is certainly an important part of truth, and what promises to pave the way for the triumphs of pure religion; and perhaps, considering the greatness of that darkness emerged from, it may be as much as could rationally be expected at the beginning of such a reformation. But of true godliness there appears but little at present; and it is to be feared that they, as well as most other nations, must endure great sufferings before we shall see that repentance which must precede the happy days promised in God's word.
+ See Bp. Newton, Dr. Goodwin, Mede, and Loyman, on this passage.
And in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand. Thus it is in our translation, but in the original it is, There were slain seven thousand names of men* The violence of war used to be directed against the persons
of now against their names.-Those titles and privileges, under the shield of which they have been wont to commit, with impunity, so many cruel oppressions.
And the remnant gave glory to the God of heaven. After a violent conflict, for some time, between the witnesses and their opposers, the former prevailed, and those who had been rather spectators of the contest, than actors in it, united themselves to their cause; and thus, though, at least, many of them might not be actuated by these views, they glorified God in promoting his grand and good designs in this change of things which he was now effecting, in the overthrow of Antichristian despotism and persecution.--Ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times +? Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right I? Ah! the answer to this question is too obvious.-The Lord forgive them, who, to promote their own designs, have blinded your eyes and perverted your judgment!' 'In doing this they have betrayed you to be of the party of the beast which is to perish, and it will be well 'if you do not soon bring ruin on your country:
-But, The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.-Clouds and darkness are round about him ; but righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throneg.
Ver. 14. The second woe is past, and behold the third woe cometh quickly. The two former woes respecting the Saracens and Turks, which are denominated woes, on account of the terrible calamities which they occasioned to mankind, being now passed by, and this internal commotion, in the country where the witnesses first begin to arise, being pretty well settled, behold a state of things follows, which introduces a scene replete with woe.
Ver. 15. Behold the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in
By seven thousand, we are not to suppose, that exactly this number is to perish.
By a common figure of speech, it is a certain number for an uncertain. Or, as a perfect number, it may intend all, i.e. all the titles of men in that country. † Matth. xvi. S. I Luke xii. 57. § Psal. xcvii, 1, ?.
heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. We are not to understand by this, that, on the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and universal happiness, is instantly to commence; but that great scene now opens which is to prepare the way for it. The eighteenth verse obliges us to interpret it thus: The nations were angry, and thy wrath is coine, and the time of the dead that they should be judged :--the time when thou wilt avenge the blood which tyrants have shed, and destroy them which have destroyed the earth. The nations will be enraged at this change of things, and unite to oppose it, and great woes are to follow ;-woes, which all descriptions of men, it is likely will feel, that they may be brought to repentance; but which will, in their issue, fall chiefly upon the party of Antichristian oppressors. Now the angels begin to pour out the vials of the wrath of God; for, as we have already observed, this chapter contains a complicated vision of a long course of events, in miniature, which is afterwards illustrated by several distinct visions on a larger scale.
But before we enter upon the consideration of the vials, permit me to adduce some authorities, which, especially if we consider the time when they were written, more than a hundred years ago, tend very much to strengthen the argument in favour of my hypothesis respecting the witnesses, their staying, and resurrection. Îhe first I shall mention is Peter Jurieu, a French Protestant minister, whose work, entitled, The Accomplishment of the Scripture Prophecies, was published in English in 1687, treating on the resurrection of the witnesses ; the fall of the tenth part of the city, &c. he says, (Part II. p. 261.) “ It is a iruth which must be held as certain, (being one “ of the keys of the Revelation, that the city, the great
city, signifies, in this book, not Rome alone, but Rome “ in conjunction with its empire; the name of this great
city is Babylon.” (p. 264) “ This being supposed and “ proved, that the city is the whole Babylonish and Anti“ christian empire, it must be remembered, that this em
pire of Antichrist is made up of ten kingdoms, and of “ ten kings, who must give their power to the beast. A “ tenth part of the city fell, i.e. one of these ten king« doms which make up the great city, the Babylonish * empire, shall forsake it,” (p. 265.) * Now what is this
86 tenth part of the city, which shall fall? In my opinion
we cannot doubt that it is France.” (p. 266.) ". The
kings who yet remain under the empire of Rome must “ break with her, leave her solitary and desolate. But “ who must begin this last revolt? It is most probable “ that France shall.” (p. 267.)." Seeing the tenth part of " the city, which must fall, is France, this gives me some
hopes that the death of the two witnesses hath a particu" lar relation to this kingdom. It is the street, or place “ of this city, i. e. the most fair and eminent part of it. " The witnesses must remain dead
this street, and it they must be raised again. And as the death «s of the witnesses and their resurrection hath a relation " to the kingdom of France, it may well fall out, that we
may not be far distant from the time of the resurrection
of the witnesses, seeing the three years and a half of “ their death, are either begun, or will begin shortly.
" And in the earthquake were slain 7000, in the Greek “ it is, 7000 names of men, and not 7000 men. I confess " that this seems somewhat mysterious.--I am inclined to
say, that here these words names of men must be taken “ in their natural signification, and do intimate that the " total reformation of France shall not be made with “ bloodshed; nothing shall be destroyed but names, such
as the names of Monks, of Carmelites, of Augustines, “ of Dominicans, of Jacobines, Franciscans, Capuchins, “ Jesuites, Minimes, and an infinite company of others, “ whose number it is not easy to define, and which the “ Holy Ghost denotes by the number seven, which is the “ number of perfection, to signify that the order of “ Monks and Nuns shall perish for ever.” (p. 275.) “ This
kingdom (of Christ) shall be a kingdom of humility. « All those vain titles, which now serve for ornament and “ pride, shall then be vanished. Brotherly love shall “ make all men equal; not that all distinctions, and all “ dignities among men shall cease. This kingdom is no
anarchy; there shall be some to govern, and others to “ obey; but government shall then be without pride and ! insolence, without tyranny, and without violence. Sub
jects shall obey their rulers with an humble spirit, and governors shall rule their subjects with a spirit of meekness and gentleness.” (p. 277.) I lay not down the exact time of the resurrection of the witnesses. I do not say it shall be exactly in such a year; for I have de
“ clared, and do still declare, that I know not from what “ time God shall please to begin the reckoning of the “ three years and a half; not but I strongly hope that “ God intends to begin it at the time of the revocation “ of the edict of Nantz, but this does not arise to a full « assurance."
There are the greatest reasons to conclude, from events, that the time was reckoned from the above period, and that the mistakes into which our author fell respecting future events, originated from his not having fixed upon the right method of interpreting the mystical period of three days and a half. Nor is this any wonder. It is enough if events illustrate the prediction, and unfold the mystery. Prophecy was not designed to gratify curiosity, but to accredit revelation. Nor is it good for us to know more of futurity than may serve to cherish piety, and stimulate to a worthy conduct.
The time required, according to our author, after the quickening of the witnesses (that is from the time of the revolution in France) to overturn the popish kingdom, would be twenty-five or thirty years, in which Popery shall be persecuted and attacked, and not be the aggressor and persecutor. This fall (from not understanding the length of time signified by the three days and a half) he supposed would take place about the year 1710 or 1715. Thirty years more, he supposed, would be required for the re-uniting all Christians in the same communion, and that this union would be effected about the year 1740; that this would lead to the calling of the Jews, and of the rest of the pagan and infidel nations, which would take 45 years more: “ which added to 1740 will fall in the
year 1785, in which will come the glorious reign of " Jesus Christ on earth. And all which events are not to “ be brought about without noise, wars, troubles, and effu“ sion of blood.--The Popish empire cannot fall, but it “ must cost blood, and make a mighty noise," p. 58, 59, 243, 275---279 *.
Dr. Goodwin, who wrote a hundred and fifty years since, in his Exposition upon the Revelation, Part I. chap. 7. has a great deal which is as astonishing as it is apposite to
My quotation from Jurieu, in the former editions of this pamphlet, not being taken immediately from his book, but from some of the extracto of the day, was incorrect, but for the faithfulness of the present I can avouch,