Page images

those orders which have been his supporters, are to be scattered. And in all the land two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein. Great is to be the destruction, and great the trials of those who are not destroyed. But being brought to repentence, then is to be fulfilled that promise which is peculiarly appropriated to the latter days. Ver. 9. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them; I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.

The fourteenth chapter more largely describes the destruction of God's enemies, and the happy days which are to follow; when (ver. 21.) There shall be no more the Canuanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. Or, as the Chaldee and Vulgate translate the words, “ There shall be no more any merchant in the house (the church) of the Lord of hosts.” The christian church shall no longer be made a market, where worldlings convert religion into a trade, and enrich and exalt themselves at the expence of the liberties and souls of mankind. We might enumerate many of the predictions of our Saviour and his apostles, all-of which go to prove the great wars and calamities of the latter days*. But I pass on to the last plague.

Ver. 17. And the seventh angel poured his vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunderings, and, lightnings, and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath, and every island fled away, and the mountains were not found, &c. There shall be unexampled convulsions of nations.

Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, the source of oppressions and all tyrannies, falls; and not only the mother, but all her children, all the cities of the nations, all the tyrannic polities which have despised and oppressed the servants of God, and all mankind, and no place is found for them. The beast and the false prophet are taken, (Rev. xix. 20.) and cast into a lake of fire, i. e. exemplary justice is inflicted on them,

* See on this subject, the author's Word in Season, or, Call to the inhabitants of Great Britain, to stund prepared for the consequences of the present war.

and now that oeconomy of righteousness and peace which Jesus the Prince of Peace hath in charge, from his Father, to bestow on men, shall be established on immoveable foundations, till the consummation of all things; for not only human tyrannies shall perish, but the witnesses for the pure religion of Jesus shall be so increased and quickened by an energy from above, and such an influence from God attend his gospel, that Satan's empire shall be overturned, the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and they shall learn war no more. · EVEN SO COME LORD Jesus!*

* Perhaps some inquisitive mind may say, The beast and the false prophet, are taken, and exemplary justice is inflicted on them for their aboininations, but the dragon is not taken with them. No; he arose first, and he will continue longest. But his career is short. Chap. xx. and I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bo!. tomless pit. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and sàtan, and bound him a thousund years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seul upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Now commences the first resurrection as predicted by Ezekiel (ch. xxxvii.) Now the Jews, and others with them, will find that mercy which will be as life from the dead, (Rom. xi. 15.) And as Elias lived in John the Baptist, so shall the former confessors and martyrs live in the Christians of this generation. And they shall sit upon thrones of judgment, and act so much under the influence of gospel principles, and establish such systems of justice and righteousness, that tyranny, which has bound so inany, shall itself be bound, and be cast into the bottomless pit. Now liberty and peace, righteousness and joy, will reign undisturbed, for what is here termed a thousand years; after which the dragon is to be loosed for a little season.

The events here predicted are evidently the same with those foretold in Ezek. xxxvii. xxxviii. and xxxix, and in Zech, xiv. What length of time then are we to understand by these thousand years? I suppose that all which is here said is figurative, and that the years are not what we generally understand by this terin. I am inclined to judge thus for two reasons. Not only from a comparison of the different prophecies concerning the return of the Jews, the after persecutions of Gog and Magog, &c. which do not seem to allow of so long a term as a thousand years between the shutting up of the dragon and his loosing, but also from the general prophetic use of such terms. Duys, weeks, &c. in the prophecies, are generally used in a mystical sense, and for the obvious reason which has been mentioned. I suppose, therefore, that by this thousand years, a thousand weeks or months are intended. Time only can ascertain this; but I think that the other prophecies restrain this period to a thousand weeks, or a little more than nineteen years. The proper and usual meaning of itdis a year, but prophetically it may, perhaps, stand for any change or revolution of time. John was a Jew, let us therefore examine the Hebrew word for a year, and hear what Buxtorf says, nav Annus, ab iterutione dictus, quod sole ad punctum, unde digredi ceperat, redeunte iteretur, 8. in se sun per vestigia semper volvatur et redeat. Now seeing that the word zeur in Hebrew means a repetition, or a re

volving round and returning by the same steps, this is as applicable to a week as a year,

Thus it appears probable from the prophecies, that after the bloody dragon, whose horrid character no objects in visible nature are sufficiently vile to represent; after this crafty serpent, wbich is the devil and satan, has been confined for about nineteen years, he will again get out of his prison, and make a desperate effort against the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy; but He who, by his providential judgments, cast the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire, will manifest himself in still more conspicuous judgments, and cast this dragon into the same place of torment, and thus put an everlasting end to all tyranny, ccclesiastical and civil. -Now a prospect opens, which transports the heart, and figures are used proportioned to the sublimity and felicity of the scenes which follow. Let the wise and pious anticipate by hope these happy days! We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness !!!

With respect to some inferior matters brought forward iir these pages, I have, from a greater acquaintance with the symbolic language, and continued attention, found reason to alter my opinion, as will be seen hereafter; but, after six years consideration, 'I am still of opinion, that the thousand yeurs in the above passage must have a mystical sig-. nification, and mean some smaller revolution of time, than what we, in popular language, understand by years : and the various sorts of ycars which different nations ainong the ancients, had, may induce us to admit this idea without a scruple.

Concerning the terms of time, in the symbolical language, Artemidorus, lib. ii. c. 75, as quoted by Mr. Daubuz, and Dr. Lancaster, has the following words, “ Days, months, and years, have not always their pro-, per signification; for months are sometimes denoted by years, and days too; and years and days by months; and months and years by days. But that this may not become doubtful, when years are mentioned, if: they be proportionable and suitable, they may be accounted as years; if over many, as days. The same rule reciprocally for days; if less, as months; if few, as years. Likewise of months, let them be taken according to the present occasion."

*. From these words it appears, that in the symbolical language, the aforesaid terms of time are sometimes symbolical, and sometimes, by the said rule, literal, and that the said terms are in the said language synonyinous, as they are also in the oriental languages. And thus in the sacred writings, a day, in some places, is put for a year, as in Num. xiv. S4. Ezek. iv. 4.6. This practice seems to have risen, either from days and

years being all one in the primitive state of the world; or else from the ignorance of men in settling words to express the determined spaces of time. A day with them was a year; a month a year; three months a year; four months a year; six montiis a year; as well as the whole. yearly revolution of the sun."

“It is worth observing, that the Egyptians, from which the symbolical language did chiefly come at first

, were involved in this uncertainty, and

gave the name of year to several sorts of revolutions of time, or de-. termined spaces thereof. John Malea, who in his work has copied inore ancient authors, says plainly, that they called a day a year. The day is a period and revolution, and so it is an inautòs year. From the same author and several others, (Diod. Sic. 1. 1. p. 15. Plin. Nat. Hist. 1. 7. c. 48.) it appears also that they accounted a month a year, &c."


Daubuz Preliminary Discourse, p. 50. Lancaster's Symbolical Dict. urt. Time.

Time only can determine with certainty, whether I am right or wrong in my conjectures, respecting the thousand years confinement of the dragon, or whether I am partly right and partly wrong: but seeing that the term year was used by the ancients (particularly by those with whom the symbolic language chiefly originated,) to express various seasons and revolutions of time; it is no unreasonable supposition to suppose it may here stand for some revolution less than that of the sun. Comparing different prophecies, and taking into consideration the improbabilities and difficulties connected with the common ideas of the Millenium, I think a thousand literal years disproportionable and unsuitable. I can easily conceive of a high degree of liberty and peace subsisting bere or there, and of natural, political, and moral improvement, carried on by a part of mankind, on some portion of the earth, though in the vicinity of despotism and slavery, vice and misery, for 20, 50, or 100 years; . and that then this happy society should be attacked by their ferocious neighbours, the dragon, and Gog and his host. But that the Jews are to be restored, many saints and martyrs raised froin the dead, and a heaven enjoyed upon earth for a thousand (some say 360,000) literal years, and that then some surrounding nations (subsisting all this length of time, unreformed and unsubdued) with the devil at their head, are to make war upon them, is too unsuitable for belief, unless taught us in Jess mystical terms. If, agrecable to the style of this mystical book, and the language of ancient times, the term year can possibly be understood to signify either lunar, or hebdomadal revolutions, such an interpretation ought not to be hastily rejected, because new or uncommon. 5th Edit.

*** Mr. Faber in his Dissertation on the prophecies has severely censured my novel exposition of what, in the Apocalypse, relates to this monster. But as the reader, in iny Destiny of the German Empire, may see, at large, my argument in support ottbis novel opinion, that by the dragon, that old serpent, called the devil and satan, is signified neither more nor less than the Romano-Germanic tyranny, I shall not swell these pages by enlarging much on the subject here. I may, however, just observe that the interpretation may not be the less likely to be just merely becouse it is new. Indeed, I acknowledge that I am a little surprised that men of great learning and acute discernment are to be found in the nineteenth century, who will maintain that, because the dragon is. called the devil seven times in the Apocalypse, therefore he is not the symbol of the Roman empire, but the devil in the most literal and common sense of the word; for if any one symbol through the whole of the Apocalyptic scenery be more plain than another, it is this. At least the difficulty of ascertaining of what this is the type bears no proportion to that which attends a clear explanation of the other beasts.

In my Destiny of the German Empire, I have endeavoured to prove that the dragon, every where in the Apocalypse, signifies the Roman empire, its succession of sovereigns, or its government; that whilst pagan, it was merely the great red dragon with seven heuds and ten horns, that when it became hypocritically Christian, and got into the church, and became the tempter, and corrupter, as well as persecutor, of Christ's disciples, under that deceitful character, it then added to its old qualities those of that old serpent, called the devil and satan, and hence, from that time, it is thus called. But Mr. Faber says, he cannot digest the assertion that the empire, by embracing even a debased christianity,

changed from bad to worse. To which I only reply: Then neither can he digest the assertion, that an emperor, a race of emperors, or a government that professes the benevolent religion of Jesus, but still persecutes and murders with the most horrible barbarities his best and dearest disciples, is not worse than a pagan sovereign or government that acts the same part; then neither can he digest the assertion, that he, who whilst he professes the most tender friendship is betraying you into his toils, and cuts your throat, is not worse than a stranger, who performs the same tragedy, but without the same hypocritical pretensions. For my part, I think a Ferdinand of Austria, and a Philip of Spain, ten thousand times more odious and guilty, in the sight of God, than even Nero himself. And that which is true with respect to individual sovereigns, is true also as it respects nations and governments.

To what is said above about the dragon's surviving the beast, it may be objected, seeing that the ten horned beast was cast into the lake of fire. Rev. xix. 19. and that the dragonic empire, in one view of it, was a member of this beast, how can the dragon be supposed to live after the beast is no more? To this I might reply, symbols, any more than para. bles, are not to be run down to the last possible point, and this might suffice. But, we may add, seeing that the Roman pontificate, the most essential part of the beast, and that the hierarchy, dependant on it, are destroyed, no reasonable objection can be raised against the fact I contend for, although the tyrannical power, signified by the dragon, should again get loose from its chain, again emerge from the regions of the dead, and again, for a little while, range the earth for destruction.

As to those objections against this novel interpretation of the dragon, as it is calied, founded on the prevailing opinions about the last head of the beast, and the last head of the dragon, they seem of little weight; because, it is not only far from certain what is exactly signified by the seven heuds; but it is doubtful whether the dragon, after the fall of the western empire, is any longer to be considered as distinguished by these heads, for they are never noticed after this event.--It is probable, that when that empire fell, and the spiritual monarchy of the bishop of Rome sprung up, that then the head and horns which had belonged to the dragon were transferred to the beast, so as no longer to be attributes of the temporal Roman empire, as revived by Charlemagne.-But enough; objections may be brought against any thir:g, and every thing, which is not capable of mathematical demonstration. 6th Edit,

« PreviousContinue »