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merchandise is all things of price, that are carried with a tempest, &c.” with the bodies and souls of men : 1 Thus does the author of this Epistle whose judgement—lingereth not, spend all the second chapter in deand their damnation slumbereth scribing the qualities of the Apoca
not, s but shall surely come upon lyptic beasts and false prophet: and 242 them at the last day suddenly, as the then in the third he goes on to de
flood upon the old world, and fire scribe their destruction more fully,
knoweth how to deliver the godly scoff, saying, Where is the promise
the unjust unto the day of judge- the sudden coming of the day of the
beasts, (the ten horned beast and were apostles of the circumcision, it and two horned beast, or false pro- seems to me, that they staid with phet,) made to be taken and de- their churches in Judea and Syria, stroyed, (in the lake of fire,) blas- till the Romans made war upon their pheme the things they understand nation, that is, till the twelfth year not:—they count it pleasure to of Nero; that they then followed riot in the day-time-sporting the main body of their flying themselves with their
de- churches into Asia, and thač Peter ceiving, while they feast with you, w went thence by Corinth to Rome; having eyes full of an adultřess : I that the Roman empire looked upon for the kingdoms of the beast live those churches as enemies, because deliciously with the great whore, they were composed of those who and the nations are made drunk with
were Jews by birth; and therefore, 244 the wine of her fornication. They to prevent insurrections, secured are gone astray, following the way their leaders, and banished John inof Balaam, the son of Beor, the to Patmos. It seems also probable false prophet, who loved the wages to me, that the Apocalypse was of unrighteousness,y and who taught there composed, and that soon after Balak to cast a stumbling-block the Epistle to the Hebrews and those before the children of Israel. These of Peter
of Peter were written the 243 are not fountains of living water, churches, with reference to this pro
but « wells without water;" not phecy, as being what they were parsuch clouds of saints as the two ticularly concerned in. witnesses ascend in, but “ clouds pears by these epistles, that they
For it ap
u ix, 21; and xvii, 2.
v xiii, 6.
r Rev. xviii, 12, 13. s xix, 20. t xxi, 3, 4. w xvii, 3, 7, 9. x Μοιχαλιδος. y Rev. ii, 14.
were written in times of general af- came to Rome in the days of this fliction and tribulation under the emperor, as may be seen in Lacheathen, and by consequence, when tantius. Chrysostom tells us, that the empire made war upon the Jews; the apostles continued long in Jufor, till then, the heathen were at dea, and that then, being driven out peace with the christian Jews, as by the Jews, they went to the Genwell as with the rest. The Epistle tiles. d This dispersion was in the to the Hebrews, since it mentions firsĆ year of the Jewish war, when Timothy as related to those He- the Jews, as Josephus tells us, bebrews, must be written to them after
gan to be tumultuous and violent in their flight into Asia, where Timothy all places. For all agree, that the was bishop; and by consequence apostles were dispersed into several after the war began, the Hebrews regions at once; and Origen has set in Judea being strangers to Timo- down the time : telling us, that in thy. Peter seems also to call Rome the beginning of the Judaic war, the Babylon, as well with respect to the apostles and disciples of our Lord war made upon Judea, and the ap- were scattered into all nations : Thoproaching captivity, like that under m's into Parthia, Andrew into Scyold Babylon, as with respect to thia, John into Asia, and Peter first that name in the Apocalypse : and into Asia, where he preached to the in writing to the strangers scattered dispersion, and thence into Italy. e 246 throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappa. Dionysius Corinthius saith, that Pedocia, Asia, and Bythinia, he seems ter went from Asia by Corinth to to intimate, that they were the stran- Rome ;i and all antiquity agrees, gers newly scattered by the Roman that Peter and Paul were martyred wars; for those were the only stran- there in the end of Nero's reign.
gers there belonging to his care. Mark went with Timothy to Rome,s 245 This account agrees best with and Sylvanus was Paul's assistant;
history when duly rectified. For and by the companions of Peter, Justin and Irenæus say, that Simon mentioned in his first Epistle, we Magus came to Rome in the reign may know that he wrote from Rome; of Claudius, and exercised juggling and the ancients generally agree, tricks there.2 Pseudo-Clemens adds, that, in this Epistle, by Babylon that he endeavoured there to fly, he meant Rome. His second Ebut broke his neck through the pray- pistle was written to the same disers of Peter; whence Eusebius, or persed strangers with the first; and rather his interpolator Jerome, has therein he saith, that Paul had writrecorded, that Peter came to Rome ten of the same things to them, and in the second year of Claudius:a but also in his other epistles. h Now as Cyril bishop of Jerusalem, Philas- there is no other epistle of Paul to trius, Sulpitius, Prosper, Maximus these strangers, besides that to the Taurinensis, and Hegesippus junior, Hebrews, so in this Epistle, we find place this victory of Peter in the at large all those things which Peter time of Nero. b
Indeed the more had been speaking of, and here refers ancient tradition was, that Peter to; particularly the passing away of
z Apol. ad Anton. Fium. Hæres. lib. i, c. 20. Vide etiam Tertullianum, Apol. c. 13. a Euseb. Chron. b Cyril. Catech. 6: Philastr. de Hæres. c. 30: Sulp. Hist. lib. ii: Prosper de promiss. dimid. temp. c. 13: Maximus Serm. v, in Natal Apost. Hegisip. lib. ii, c. 2. c Lactant. de mortib. Persec. c. 2. d Hom. lxx, in Matt. xxii. e Apud Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib. ii, c. 25. f Euseb. Hist. lib. ii, c. 25. g 2: Tim. iv, Il; Col. iv, 10. h 2 Pet. ii, 1, 15, 16.
the old heavens and eartlı, and es- shall be a resurrection of the flesh, tablishing an inheritance immove- and a thousand years life at Jeruable; with an exhortation to grace, salem, built, adorned, and enlarged.” because God to the wicked is a con- Which is as much as to say, that all 248 suming fire. i
true christians in that early age reHaving determined the time of ceived this prophecy; since in all writing the Apocalypse, I need not ages, as many as believed the thousay much about the truth of it, since sand years, received the Apocalypse it was in such request with the first as the foundation of their opinion : ages, that many endeavoured to nor do I know one instance to imitate it, by feigning Apocalypses the contrary. Papias, bishop of Hi
under the apostles' names; and the erapolis, a man of the apostolic age, 247 apostles themselves, as I have just and one of John's own disciples, did now shown, studied it and used its
not only teach the doctrine of the phrases; by which means the style thousand years, but also asserted that of the Epistle to the Hebrews became the Apocalypse was written by di more mystical than that of Paul's inspiration. k Melito, who flouother Epistles, and the style of rished next to Justin, wrote a comJohn's Gospel more figurative and mentary upon this prophecy;1 and majestical than that of the other he, being bishop of Sardis, one of Gospels. I do not apprehend that the Seven Churches, could neither Christ was called THE WORD OF GOD be ignorant of their tradition about in any book of the New Testament it, nor impose upon them. Irenæus, written before the Apocalypse ; and who was contemporary with Melito, tlıerefore am of opinion, that the wrote much upon it; and said, that language was taken from this pro- the number 666 was in all the anphecy; as also many other phrases cient and approved copies; and that in John's Gospel,-such as Christ's he had it also confirmed to him by being “ the light which enlightens those who had seen John face to the world,” the Lamb of God face,-meaning no doubt his master which taketh away the sins of the Polycarp for one. At the same world,”—“the Bridegroom,"_“He time Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, that testifieth,”—“ He that came asserted it; and so did Tertullian, down from heaven, “ the Son of Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen God,” &c. Justin Martyr, who soon after ; m and their contempowithin thirty years after John's rary, Hippolytus the martyr, metro- . death became a christian, writes (- politan of the Arabians, wrote a pressly, that a certain man among commentary upon it. 1
All these the christians, whose name were ancient men, flourishing within John, one of the twelve apostles of a hundred and twenty years after Christ, in the Revelation which was John's death, and of greatest note shewed him prophesied, that those in the churches of those times. who believed in Christ should live a Soon after Victorinus Pictaviensis thousand years at Jerusalem. And wrote another commentary upon it; 249 a few lines before he saith, · But I, and he lived in the time of Diocle' and as many as are christians, in sian. This may surely suffice to all things right in their opin- shew how the Apocalypse was reions, believe, both that there
that there ceived and studied in the first ages :
i Heb. x, 11, 12; vii, 25, 29. k Arethas in Proæm. Comment. in Apoc. 1 Eusel). Hist. lib. iv, c. 26. m Euseb. Hist. lib. iv, c. 24. 11 Hieron.
and I do not indeed find any book of be increased :" for the Gospel must
ed is he that readeth and they that which come out of this great tri-
ten therein.” This animated the so by the preaching of the Gospel first christians to study it so much;
before it comes.
There must be a till the difficulty made them remit, stone cut out of the mountain withand comment more upon the books out hands, before it can fall upon of the New Testament.
the toes of the image, and become a the state of the Apocalypse until the great mountain and fill the earth. thousand years came to be misun- An angel must fly through the derstood, and brought a prejudice midst of heaven with the everlasting against it: and Dionysius of Alex- Gospel to preach to all nations, beandria, noting how it abounded with fore Babylon falls, and the Son of barbarisms, (that is, with Hebra. Man reaps his harvest. The two isms) promoted that prejudice so prophets must ascend up to heaven far, as to cause many Greeks in the in a cloud, before the kingdoms of fourth century to doubt the Book. this world become the kingdoms of But whilst the Latins, and a great Christ. It is therefore a part of part of the Greeks, always retained this prophecy, that it should not be 251 the Apocalypse, and the rest doubted understood before the last age of the only out of prejudice, it makes no- world ; and therefore it makes for thing against its authority.
the credit of the prophecy, that it This prophecy is called the Reve- is not yet understood. But if the lation, with respect to the Scripture of last age, the age of opening these truth, which Daniel was commanded things, be now approaching, (as by to shut up and seal, till the time of the great success of late interprethe end. o Daniel sealed it until ters it seems to be,) we have more
the time of the end, and until that encouragement than ever to look 250 time comes, the Lamb is opening the into these things. If the general
seals: and afterwards the two wit- preaching of the Gospel be approach-
In the time of the end the wise as much as to say, that these pro- · shall understand, but none of the phecies of Daniel and of John should wicked shall understand.” « Blessnot be understood till the tire of ed is he that readeth, and they the end; but that then some should that hear the words of this proprophesy out of them in an afflicted 'phecy, and keep those things and mournful state for a long time, which are written therein." P and that but darkly, so as to con- The folly of interpreters has been, vert but few. But in the very end, to foretel times and things by this the prophecy should be so far in- prophecy, as if God designed to terpreted as to convince many; for make them prophets. By this rash" then (saith Daniel) many shall ness they have not only exposed run to and fro, and knowledge shall themselves, but brought the pro
o Dan. x, 21; vii, 4, 9.
P Dan, xii, 4, 10; Rev. i, 3.
phecy also into contempt. The God's providence : but then the sigdesign of God was much otherwise. nal revolutions, predicted by all the He gave this and the prophecies of holy prophets, will at once both the Old Testament, not to gratify turn men's eyes upon considering 253 men's curiosity by enabling them to the predictions, and plainly interforeknow things; but that, after they pret them. Till then we must conwere fulfilled, they might be inter- tent ourselves with interpreting what preted by the event; and the pro- hath been already fulfilled. vidence of God, not the interpreter's, Amongst the interpreters of the be manifested thereby to the world. last age, there is scarce one of note For the event of things predicted who hath not made some discovery many ages before, will then be a
worth knowing; and thence I seem convincing argument that the world to gather, that God is about opening 252 is governed by providence. For as these mysteries. The success of
the few and obscure prophecies con- others put me upon considering it; cerning Christ's first coming were and if I have done anything which for setting up the christian religion, may be useful to following writers, which all nations have since corrupt. I have my design. ed; so the many and clear prophecies, concerning the things to be done at Christ's second coming, are not only for predicting, but also for effecting
254 a recovery and re-establishment of Of the relation which the Apocalypse the long lost truth, and setting up of John hath to the Book of the a kingdom wherein dwelleth right- Law of Moses, and to the worship
The event will prove of God in the temple. the Apocalypse; and this prophecy, thus proved and understood, will The Apocalypse of John is written open the old prophets; and all to- in the same style as the prophecies gether will make known the true of Daniel, and hath the same relareligion, and establish it. For he tion to them which they have one to that will understand the old pro- another ; so that all of them together phets must begin with this ; but make but one complete prophecy, the time is not yet come for under and an interpretation thereof. standing them perfectly, because the The prophecy is distinguished main revolution predicted in them is into seven successive parts, by not yet come to pass.
In the days the opening of the seven seals of the voice of the seventh angel, of the book which Daniel was comwhen he shall begin to sound, manded to seal up; and hence it
the mystery of God shall be fin- is called the Apocalypse, or Re- ished, as he hath declareci to his velation of Jesus Christ. The
servants the prophets : (and then) time of the seventh seal is subdi· the kingdoms of this world shall vided into eight successive parts by · become the kingdoms of our Lord, the silence in heaven for half an ' and his Christ, and he shall reign hour, and the sounding of the seven
for ever." There is already so trumpets successively; and the semuch of the prophecy fulfilled, that venth trumpet sounds to the battle as many as will take pains in this of the great day of God Almighty, study may see suificient instances of whereby the kingdoms of this world
q Rey. x, 7; xi, 15.