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attentively consider the beauty and significancy of the symbolical language that is employed, both in these and other predictions scattered up and down the greater part of the Holy Scriptures. When properly viewed and understood, it is impossible to conceive anything more expressive, more lucid, more simple, or that could tell with equal effect; and I cannot but express my own conviction how much real intellectual gratification and pleasure they deprive themselves of, who neglect the study of these deeply interesting and glowing subjects, for the comparatively unprofitable and insipid inquiries on subjects that rise no higher than sense, and which are connected only with the passing things of time. Symbols, when properly understood, are not used, as is often imagined, for the purpose of darkening the subject, and involving it in obscurity, but rather, by the intensity of their meaning and signification, of giving strength and clearness in a way that no play of common language could effect. They may be considered in many cases to have the effect of algebraical characters which stand for definite quantities, and which may be thrown into other quantities, multiplied and re-multiplied, yet still kept distinct and separate. “The figurative language of prophecy,” observes Mr. Faber, “like the ancient hieroglyphics, and like those non-alphabetic characters which are derived from them, is a language of ideas rather than of words. It speaks by pictures quite as much as by sounds; and through the medium of those pictures, rather than through the medium of a laboured verbal definition, it sets forth, with equal ease and precision, the nature and relation of the matters predicted.” Hence, what volumes are contained in the four monarchies being given under the simple figure of a great idol . In this one grand idea is involved the whole system of the heathen mythology, and the no less idolatrous system of the saints and mediators of the Papacy; whilst the different metals of which the idol is said to be composed, express the relative strength and warlike character of each, in an equally simple and significant manner. This remark will likewise apply to the symbols of the other visions of Daniel, as the explanations given of them in the former work evinces; whilst in the present work it will be equally manifest, that in still greater richness and variety they abound in every part of the Apocalypse. Here we find that the lengthened period of eighteen hundred years is, in the first place, given in two parallel series of events, under
AND TRUMPETs; and then, in the union of the two, in more immediate connection with the true church which is described as “a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars,” all this is most clearly expressed to belong to, and to describe the history of, the Roman empire, by the bringing forward of Daniel's fourth monstrous nondescript wild beast, with the well-known adjunct of ten horns. And by the most simple contrivance, it is brought forward distinctly to mark its three-fold state of imperial rule, its present divided kingly rule, and revolutionary rule. The first, “as a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon His HEADs:” the second, as “a beast, having seven heads, and ten horns, and upon H is HoRNs ten diadems ::f the third, as a scarlet coloured beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns,”f and No crowns or diadems at all ! For the further illustration of these remarks on the symbols in this magnificent historical prophecy, the and those of St. John, which may account for those of the former having been so much better understood than the latter, and for the less variety of opinion respecting them. It is this, that at the time of the delivery of the former an interpretation accompanied them. “We will tell,” says Daniel, after relating the dream of the Great Image, “the interpretation thereof before the king,” (Dan. ii. 36); and the interpretation was accordingly given. In the vision of the great wild beasts, likewise, he says, “I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this” (that is, an exact account of the whole matter). “So he told me, and made me to know the interpretation of the things.” In like manner, in the vision of the Ram and Hegoat, chap. viii. ver. 16, and onwards, the angel Gabriel very clearly made the Prophet understand the whole matter, by giving a very particular explanation, even to the naming of kingdoms. And his last great vision being descriptive, divested of metaphor, was so clear on the events transpiring, as to require no such divine explanation. But the case is very different with regard to the Apocalypse—very little of such kind of help occurs; and hence the greater difficulty that has been experienced, and the greater consequent variety of opinion in its interpretation; there being scarcely any other light to
reader is referred to the work itself.
The Wisdom of God saw fit to make one remarkable distinction between the prophecies of Daniel,
* Rev. xii. 3. + Ch. xiii. 1. | Ch. xvii. 3.
guide us here, than either that which is reflected from the Book of Daniel on the one hand, or that which can be collected from the boundless mass of history on the other. It is true there is one direct interpretation in the Revelation—one instance where the finger of God direetly points us to the right object; and it is a key which, properly used, opens the whole book, and sanctions and confirms the interpretation here offered. It is found in the 17th chapter and the last verse: “The woman which thou sawest is that great city that reigneth over the kings of the earth!”
There is only one original chronological period connected with the end of “the times of the Gentiles,” in the Apocalypse; and that is, the one giving the duration of the sixth trumpet. There is indeed the most invaluable light thrown upon the “time, times, and an half” of Daniel, by giving it in the two other different terms of “forty and two months,” and what is still clearer, of “one thousand two hundred and three score days,” without which it is a question whether either it, or other chronological prophecies to which it affords the key, could ever have been understood. So that although the symbolical history in the Revelation receives light from that of
Daniel, yet the reverse is the case with regard to its