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inghame strongly dissents from this view, and we think on satisfactory and irrefutable grounds; but we defer the consideration of the arguments on this point until some future opportunity, when we hope to bring forward the prominent features of Mr. Frere's system. Mr. Cuninghame considers that the book with seven seals contained a perfect and complete prophecy, as the number seven denotes, without the need of any addition or appendix; that each roll of this book was of itself also a lesser book, and that the all seven were sealed ; little book in question is therefore one of these seven rolls and as the circumstance of its being open implies that it was previously sealed, so he thinks it establishes its identity as part of the sealed book; and he supposes it to refer to that part of the prophecy of Daniel which was sealed till the time of the end, but which, at the period of the descent of this angel, is to be understood by the Church. We extract an important passage.
a thing as the turban on the head of an Arabian soldier be typified by a crown of gold? We are aware that there is a great modification in the original expressions & separo ὁμοιοι χρυσῷ, as it were crowns like unto gold;" but admitting them to have been mock golden crowns, the type is still superior to the antitype.
The events of the sixth trumpet comprise one of those important portions of the Apocalypse, concerning the meaning of which there is an almost general agreement among interpreters, as far as relates to the power designated by the four Euphratean angels and the hordes of cavalry which accompany them. This is commonly assumed to be the Turkish power, which was seated on the Euphrates. There is some difference among commentators respecting the reason why four angels precisely are here mentioned, which are by Mede supposed to denote the four Turkish Sultanies of Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo and Iconium; whereas Mr. Cuninghame considers it rather to signify the concentrated resources in the Ottoman race of its own power, and of the three races of Mahomedan conquerors who had preceded. We would only note here as we pass on, that the words "Loose the four angels which are bound in the greater river Euphrates," must imply some restraint previously imposed upon them, similar to the holding the four winds; and the loosing them must therefore mean their suddenly bursting forth from that restraint.
"Since, then, the descent of our Lord, which is now under consideration, belongs to the time of the end, and of the seventh trumpet and seven vials, we may hence discover a reason for the various circumstances which accompany and follow this descent. Our Lord appears clothed with a cloud, to signify that the hour is at hand, when he shall come with the clouds of heaven. The rainbow is upon his head, which is the emblem of the covenant of peace; because the blessed time is at length arrived, when the influence of his peace-giving Gospel shall be extended from the rising to the setting of the sun. He has in his hand a little book opened, for
In the tenth chapter a mighty angel is seen to come down from heaven, having in his hand "a little
the reason already assigned, viz. that the period is come its prophecies shall be completely understood by the Church of God. He sets his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, to denote to his servant John, that he is now about to take possession of the universal
book open, &c. Mr. Frere and
others consider this to be another and distinct book from that seen in
chap. v, 1; and commencing a dis- kingdom promised to him by the Father,
tinct series of visions. Mr. Cun
when all the kingdoms of this world shall become his kingdom. His crying with a
loud voice, as a lion roareth, is emblematical of the awful sounding of the seventh trumpet; and it seems to signify to us, that the voice of that trumpet is in effect the voice of the Lion of the tribe of Ju
dah himself, denouncing vengeance against
his enemies. The seven thunders which utter their voices, are emblematical of the seven vials of the wrath of God, which are
poured out on the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The Apostle is forbidden to
write what the thunders had uttered, probably because their contents were to be fully declared and shown forth under a different symbol, viz. that of pouring out of the vials; and it did not seem necessary to the Holy Ghost to describe them twice.
The above conjecture as to the meaning of the emblematical roaring of our Lord, is confirmed by what follows; for, in evident allusion to the voice which he had previously uttered, he immediately swears, in the awful name of him that liveth for ever and ever, "That there should be time no longer; but in the days of the ' voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall 'be finished, as he hath declared to his 'servants the prophets." This seems to be declared in reference to the finishing of the mysterious times mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel." (xii, 7.) P. 100.
Great has been the diversity of opinion in regard to the two witnesses," and the events intended by their death and resurrection, which now come before us in the eleventh chapter of the Apocalypse. Those who have looked for two persons have found them in Enoch and Noah, Moses and Aaron, Moses and Christ, Elijah and Elisha, Joshua and Zerubbabel, John Huss and Jerome of Prague; whom they have supposed to be the witnesses on the same ground that Abel is said yet to speak: (Heb. xi, 4 :) but subsequent writers considered the scripture instances to be only types of the witnesses. Those who have looked for churches have interpreted them of the body of Jews and Gentiles, of the two Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, and of the Waldenses and Albigenses. Dr. Homes embraces the first of these
opinions, Sir Isaac Newton the second, (but typically only of the 144,000 sealed ones derived from the two wings of the woman, i. e. the eastern and western empires,) and Dr. Gill looked kindly on the third for a while, but ultimately rejected it. Those, who with Mede imagine the number due to be sym
bolical of a small but sufficient number of witnesses, have seen in them prophets and apostles, magistrates. and ministers, but more especially the protestant witnesses for the truth during the 1260 years of popish ascendancy. Lastly, those who have looked only to the testimony of the witnesses have considered them to be the Old and New Testaments, or the two Covenants. Some writers have combined two or of these opinions. Thus Brightman considered the Old and New Testaments to be the witnesses; and also the Protestant christians, as being the preachers and proclaimers of them. Vitringa inclines to unite the two Testaments covenants in a similar manner with the testimony of the Waldenses; and considers the reed also, with which the temple and altar were measured, to be the rule of the Law and Gospel.
Such of the writers just alluded to, as have supposed the witnesses to have been slain before or in their own times, have necessarily affixed interpretations on this point equally at variance with each other. Mr. Brightman, who wrote in 1616, supposed the Scriptures to have
been disabled and reduced to a dead letter, by the Council of Trent, 1546; whilst those, who in modern times have considered the Old and New Testaments to be the witnesses, (as Mr. Irvine and Mr. Frere,) fix the date of their suppression and revival to the period of the French Revolution. Mr. Brightman further
were to occupy the holy city. The
supposed the German protestant
To return however to our Author,
The most important circumstance in support of his general argument next follows; viz.-" that the death and resurrection of the witnesses, whatever events may be intended thereby, happen before the end of the second woe, and consequently before He the coming of the third woe." refers to the words which follow at the close of the Scripture narrative—
The second woe is passed; behold, the third woe cometh quickly." The second woe, as we have seen, plained of the Turkish invasion; the third woe he makes, with the generality of commentators, the French Revolution; and he consequently concludes, that the death and resurrection of the witnesses must have transpired between these two periods.
The Author makes the temple and altar in the first verse a symbol of the true spiritual Church of God; and the outer court left for the Gentiles, of the visible and professing Church. Of the spiritual Church he considers there are three emblems: 1st, the two witnesses in sackcloth, testifying against the corruption and degeneracy of the visible Church; 2dly, the two candlesticks holding forth the light of truth; and 3dly, the two olive trees, denoting the abundant supplies of the Holy Spirit given to the true Church': the meaning of all which is, that God would raise up a small number of faithful men, à truly spiritual Church, that should witness for the truth during the whole period of 1260 days; which is the same as the 42 months, during which the Gentiles
* Mr. Faber has since abandoned it, and taken up with that repudiated by Dr. Gill.
The events symbolized by their death and resurrection are thus explained. The confederacy of Smalcald, formed by the protestant princes of Germany for the defence of their religion, being finally destroyed by the defeat and capture of the Elector of Saxony in 1547, a new system of doctrine was imposed upon them and their subjects by the Emperor Charles, with the concurrence of the Pope. This system was read in the diet in May, 1548,
and immediately imposed upon the subjects of all the protestant princes, the cities which offered resistance being compelled to submit. Such of the protestant pastors as refused to subscribe it were cast into prison, and others ejected by violence; the magistrates averse to it were removed, and the princes were induced by fear to take an oath to observe it. The reformed worship was entirely suppressed, and the people forced to attend on the Romish ministers. But towards the end of 1551, Prince Maurice of Saxony suddenly took arms for the relief of the protestants, and made such a rapid and unexpected progress, that the Emperor fled with the utmost consternation; as did also the members of the Council of Trent, which was thereby broken up. The immediate effect of this proceeding was the treaty of Passau, securing to those who had declared for the confession of Augsburgh, the exercise of their religion without molestation.
Mr. Cuninghame supports his view by striking quotations from history. Among these he adduces an extract from Fra Paoli Sarpi, the catholic historian of the Council of Trent; who, speaking of the protestant ministers and doctors restored to the churches and schools at this time, says, Although it might have been thought that there remained very few of the doctors and preachers, (who had 4 taken refuge under the protection of princes,) and that banishments and persecutions had almost exterminated them; yet, as if they had been again raised from the
These events our Author further "broad shews took place in the street" or principal kingdom of the empire;* and as the beast is said in the prophecy to kill them, so here the secular head of the Roman empire is shown to have been the agent who accomplished their defeat. The earthquake which happened at the same period is the Reformation ; and the tenth part of the city falling is England, which shook off the Roman jurisdiction at that time, the Reformation in this country being completed by the accession of Edward VI. in 1547, the very year in which the emperor Charles destroyed the Smalcaldic league. For remaining particulars we must refer to the work.
Hitherto we have only differed from Mr. Cuninghame in regard to subordinate matters of detail: in this instance however, though we acknowledge he makes out a strong case in regard to the witnesses themselves, we have to dissent from his interpretation of their death.
Our principal objection is, that Mr. Cuninghame makes the slaying of the witnesses to take place previous, by nearly 150 years, to their having finished their testimony in sackloth, which he elsewhere admits does not terminate till the end of the 1260 years, A. D. 1792. (p. 197) We are aware that Mede would when they render οταν τελεσωσι “ shall be about to finish their testimony;" but even adopting this interpretation, there is so marked a connexion between their exaltation
* Mede clearly evinces the impropriety of the word street in this instance, if it be understood in the ordinary English acceptation. He shows that our Lord was not crucified in a street (as the Apocalypse states) in the usual notion of the word; nor could the dead bodies of the witnesses have been seen under such circumstances by kindreds, tongues and nations, &c. ; wherefore he concludes λarea to mean the principal province or region.
to heaven and their ceasing to prophesy in sackcloth, that the difficulty in the way of our reception of this view would still remain. Their being killed appears to us clearly to mark the termination of their prophecy; though the beast may commence the war against them, which terminates in their death, when they are about to finish their testimony and it is abhorrent from all the ideas which we associate with the symbol of a resurrection and ascension to heaven, to suppose that the days of their mourning are not then There appears to similar violence committed against the symbol of the cloud in which they ascend, and which we have been accustomed to connect with the manner of our Lord's ascent; but which the Author explains of the worldly policy which mingled with protestant zeal, and the troubles which still threatened the protest
Neither do we concur in the full extent of the argument which is educed from the chronological note in verse 14. For if the words, the second woe is past," imply that the transactions detailed between the sounding of the sixth trumpet and that verse had all transpired, then must the sackcloth testimony of the witnesses have been likewise completed; which is just as much referred to in this announcement, as their being killed. Yea, the commencement of their period of prophesying ought strictly to come between the two woes; and we conclude therefore that these words have no necessary reference to these matters at all, but that the account of the witnesses is an episode.
We are not called upon to support any other interpretation, neither have we any to maintain; but we nevertheless cannot see the force of the objection against the death of the witnesses being included in the period of the French Revolution. The earthquake is said to happen the same hour, and to be the effect of their resurrection and being called up to heaven; but as the French Revolution preceded their death, therefore it is argued it cannot be the same hour. But the Reformation had equally commenced before the death of the witnesses according to Mr. Cuninghame's scheme, and continued afterwards: and yet it may be properly said to have occurred at or during the same hour or period. And as regards one particular effect of that earthquake, viz. the fall of the tenth part of the city, there appears an unfortunate incongruity in its being fixed by Mr. Cuninghame to the year of Edward's accession in 1547: for this, even as Mr. Cuninghame himself states, was the year in which the Emperor Charles routed the Protestant forces; and it was therefore co-eval with the temporary triumph of the papacy. And again, Edward died in died in July, 1553, when the papist Mary ascended the throne, and Romanism became again dominant for a time. This was just one year after the treaty of Passau, (which was in July, 1552,) between which and the recess of the diet of Augsburgh in 1555, is the period fixed by the Author for the triumphant ascent of the witnesses into power, and their establishment in the same, and the fall of the tenth part of the city.
(To be concluded in our next.)